Your business card is your tangible, physical connectivity portal. It tells customers and other contacts how to get in touch with you, but it can also be a powerful marketing tool that fuels digital traffic. In today’s social society, it’s a good idea to promote your social media profiles on your business card; however, the plethora of social media possibilities combined with limited space can leave you wondering which social media service you should promote on your business card. The following will help you answer that question so you can use your business card as a tool to tap into the power of social media for customer relationships.
Why promote only one social media profile?
First, it’s important to understand my position for the reason why you should only promote one social media profile on your business card. Consider the following:
- Overloading your business cards with multiple social media profiles leaves space only for logos, not URLs or even QR codes. Do you really expect potential customers to search for you?
- Promoting multiple social media profiles on your business card dilutes your overall efforts; it’s far better to promote just one and then use that as a springboard to your other social media profiles, if needed
- You should heavily promote the social media profile that’s most relevant to your company and customer base, and the relationship you share
- Finally, business cards have limited space; the more clutter, the less effective they are
Here’s an overview of some of the most popular social media networks, including guidelines for when each is most appropriate for inclusion on your business cards.
Facebook is the most well-known social media platform, and nearly every marketing-savvy business today has a Facebook profile. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best social media profile to promote on your business card.
Promote Facebook on your business card if:
- you don’t have any other social media profiles
- you sell products or services primarily to consumers
- you have the time and ability to continually promote your Facebook page with interesting content, images, promotions, contests, giveaways, sweepstakes, and more
- you can offer customers an incentive for liking your Facebook page
- your brand is more important than your persona
The key to success on Facebook is fan engagement, and if you can’t devote the time and resources to that end you’re better off promoting a different social profile. Facebook is also excellent for brands, but not necessarily the best tool for individuals who want to promote their personas and individual relationships.
Twitter is another extremely popular social media platform, though it’s rather different from Facebook in the way tweets are promoted. Twitter can be an excellent social media service to promote on your business card, but only if:
- your customers are Twitter-bound already
- you can offer meaningful tweets on a daily basis
- you don’t have time to write more than 140 characters a day
- it’s critical to connect with customers on a personal level, and branding is secondary
Twitter is perfect for publishing your own individual thoughts, insights, and ideas; if you’re in an industry in which customers follow you rather than the company you work for, Twitter might be the best social media profile to promote on your business cards.
LinkedIn is the most popular social media network for businesses, and it’s highly recommended you promote your LinkedIn profile on your business cards if:
- your company almost exclusively services other businesses (B2B)
- you’re a sole entrepreneur or freelancer consistently seeking new clients and connections
- you have the time to be active on a social network; not only by updating your own status and achievements, but also by endorsing others
LinkedIn can be a great way to find new B2B customers, but it won’t help you reach a large consumer base. It’s best promoted only if you can devote the time necessary to make a prominent name for yourself on the LinkedIn network (though, in reality, it doesn’t take too much work to achieve). If this sounds like you, consider promoting your LinkedIn profile on your business cards.
Google+ still pales in comparison to Facebook, but it’s definitely gaining traction – especially among the business community. In fact, if local customers are important to you then it’s absolutely critical to have a Google+ Local Business listing so you can be found in local searches. But does that mean you should promote your Google+ profile on your business cards? Only if:
- you have a dedicated customer base that’s highly active on Google+
- you can generate a steady stream of valuable content your customers want to read
- you’ve already established yourself on Facebook and/or Twitter; OR you want to avoid the heavy competition associated with those sites altogether
Google+ is a nice service, but promoting your Google+ page on your business cards should be reserved for companies and individuals who have a unique niche audience to reach, and only if that audience is already engaged on Google+. Though Google+ doesn’t currently get the customer love necessary to rival Facebook and Twitter, it can be less competition-heavy and allow you to find a profitable crease in your niche.
The best-known video sharing social platform is YouTube, and despite potentially-heavy competition you can promote your YouTube channel on your business card if:
- you regularly make videos your customer base will find exciting, informative, or otherwise valuable
- you’d rather create video content than written content
- you have time to produce video content regularly
- you rely on video to sell your products and services
- you want to drive traffic to a social platform your competitors aren’t
Obviously, the key to YouTube success is quality video production – and by quality we mean of value to your customers, not the actual technical quality of your videos (though it can help). See if you can get a hold of some of your competitors’ business cards – it shouldn’t be too difficult – and if they’re not promoting YouTube on their cards, you have an exciting opportunity to steal customers who prefer video over text (which is a lot).
Instagram is all about photos, and you can promote Instagram on your business cards if:
- you can tell the story of your business through photography
- your customers use Instagram already
- you take enough photographs to update your account daily
- you’re in an photo-related industry – a photographer, for example – or otherwise visually-creative field (bathroom remodeling or contemporary artwork, for example
At this time, I’m not ready to sign off on Instagram as the best social media network for business card promotion, especially since it’s already so easy to upload photos on Facebook and other more popular social networks. Still, if photography is the name of the game Instagram could prove a valuable resource worth promoting on your business cards.
Like Instagram, Pinterest is a platform for sharing images. Unlike Instagram, the images don’t necessarily have to be your own. If you enjoy curating relevant collections for your customer base, Pinterest might work for you. However, it doesn’t offer as many self-promotion opportunities as many other social media profiles. You can promote Pinterest on your business cards if:
- you’ve curated a collection on Pinterest that could have real value for your customers
- you can devote the time to continue curating as well as respond to comments
- you can spend time engaging with other user, especially those who are likely customers for you
Again, unless you’re promoting your own photography, studio, artwork, or other creative work, Pinterest might not be the best social media profile for business card promotion.
FourSquare is a social network designed exclusively for local businesses. FourSquare might be good for business card promotion if:
- your company caters almost exclusively to customers within a certain geographic area
- your company is suitable for “check-ins”: restaurants, bars, health clubs, night clubs, and other businesses that encourage social interaction are best
- you can offer customers incentives for checking in at your location to encourage traffic and check-ins, which will bring more customers (the peers of your current customers)
If your company is local-centric, then it might be a great idea to promote your FourSquare profile on your business cards. If not, pick a social media network that doesn’t depend on your location.
Cater to your customer base
Finally, it’s worth noting that you must cater to your customer base in order to fully take advantage of social media profile promotion on your business cards. You’re not going to motivate customers to sign up for your preferred social network just so they can interact with you; rather, you have to sign up for the social networks your customers prefer so you can interact with them. The social media networks listed here are suggestions based on specific business characteristics; however, if your customers aren’t already heavily invested in a particular social network you’ll waste time and financial resources if you try to promote such a profile.
Get to know your customers the best you can, and find out where most of your customers – especially where your well-defined niche customers hang their social media hats. Then, create a social media profile on the same service that will be attractive to your customers and continually work it to increase your level of customer engagement. If you can go where your customers go and provide valuable content they want to digest, promote that single social media profile on your business cards to generate the greatest possible online reach.
Now, it’s your turn: which do you think is the best social media network for small businesses, and why?