One clients just left me this comment on the phone about my recommendation of Pinterest, and I think it is indicative of how many small business owners feel. “All I could think of is yet another social networking site I have to add to my work load. I am about ready to throw my hands up, I don’t think I can add one more thing in the social media area as I can barely keep up with what I am doing now.” These sentiments have been voiced by many as the online world is bombarded with new programs and platforms.
What social networks deserve your real attention as a small to medium sized business owner at this point?
- Get on Google+ and integrate your website and blog with the +1 button. This one is just too big to not have an early participation in. Why? Because it’s a Google property and Google is tightly integrating +1 votes and Google+ activity with its search engine.
- Make sure you are using Twitter. The viral nature and the ability to interact with a wide market is important to selling outside your local sphere. I’m watching sponsored Tweets very closely for small business and feel that in the long run activity on Twitter will be a key marketing strategy even for local selling businesses. Link sharing and interaction with others in your industry as well as prospects in a casual environment make this one of my top social networking picks.
- Make sure you have a Facebook Business page set up. Although right now I feel that businesses may want to have a minimal presence there due to poor fan growth, due to the changes Facebook made to how brands use Facebook in the fourth quarter of 2011, things could change, and change quickly. In fact, Facebook is announcing what changes they will be making for brands on Wednesday February 29th. This announcement may change my recommendations, but for now based on my research paper, I recommend a wait and see approach.
- If you are selling business to business or business to government, LinkedIn is the place for you to connect. Establish a full profile and then update your wall on LinkedIn at least twice a day. Get active in groups and ask questions. Not all businesses will thrive using LinkedIn, but many who cater to businesses and want to reach business executives should consider LinkedIn a top priority. I have not had success with LinkedIn advertising so steer clear of that for now.
- Pinterest is a hot new property, but unless you are selling retail fashion merchandise, I recommend you don’t take on this social network. Although you may check it out in the future, if you are strapped for time steer clear of this one for now unless you are selling retail jewelry or clothing.
I hope this helps you to decide which networks you should focus on, the bottom-line is get going on something and start building your network now. Social media will simply not get less important over time.
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