10 Best Social Media Sites for Small Business Owners

 

By Susan Tucker, December 2011

Are you confused and overwhelmed by social media? Face-

what? Twit-who? You-how? In this post, I’m going to lay out a few of the best social media sites

for small business owners, and why.

First off, when considering your online marketing strategy, your website MUST come first.

Think of it as sort of a “base camp” that you will connect to/from any number of external points.

Your website is property owned by you, whereas social media pages are owned by someone else.

Look at social media sites as simply a vehicle to get your message out there and drive traffic

back to what you have control over. Still, getting “social” is an important component to any

marketing plan.

Did you know… there are more than 100 thriving social media sites online right now and more

popping up every single day. It’s enough to make a persons head spin!

Where do you start when deciding what sites to include in your marketing strategy?

Here is my list. You don’t have to do them all. Decide which ones (2 or more) will most benefit

your business and go from there.

Ok, here goes:

1. Facebook.

Launched in February 2004 for college students, Facebook has come a long way in a short seven

years. Now with an estimated 800 million active users it is ranked as the most used social

networking service in the world (by the number of active monthly users).

Lucky for you, starting a business page – and tapping into the power of Facebook – is pretty easy.

Once your page is created, users ‘like’ it (opt-in to get your posts) and your news will be posted

to their ‘wall.’

The Facebook interface makes it easy for your fans to ‘like’ or share your posts and when they

do, their friends (the average user has 130 friends) will see this activity, therefore putting your

brand in front of an audience you may not normally have access to.

2. Twitter.

A micro-blogging social media site that has been around since 2004, Twitter has an estimated

300 million users world-wide. It has been described as SMS of the internet, because posts are

short, sweet and to-the- point.

Twitter is a tidal wave of information. Posts come in at 140 characters or less and can be

organized via hashtags (#). Topics range from totally practical (I often search #Boulder) to the

absolutely absurd (#gympetpeeve).

Twitter differs from Facebook in that users ‘follow’ each other. If someone follows you, you can

follow them back. Therefore it is easier to gain a following, but the followers are not as targeted

as they are on Facebook.

I have found that Twitter is an awesome way to connect with people and/or other businesses

participating in the same event. Following a hashtag at a concert, live performance or webinar

creates a richer experience. As a business owner you can utilize this at events your company

participates in – try it! – I’ll bet you’d be blown away by the response.

3. YouTube.

YouTube is a video sharing social media site that is owned by Google. There are more than 48

hours of new video uploaded to the site every minute. Wow! As a small business owner, using

video in your online marketing strategy – and the back-end key words of your YouTube video –

is just as important as your other online strategies.

YouTube recently announced YouTube for schools and I predict more ‘stations’ will be rolling

out in the future. Will your specialty be included? Maybe!

4. Google+ (Google Plus).

Google is a power house, this is no surprise. Originally launched as a search engine company in

1996, Google has continually added, updated and created new products that will appeal to it’s1

billion unique visitors per month.

Google Plus was introduced in June 2011 for personal use and in November 2011 was opened to

brands. Some of the features of Google+ include: Circles, Hangouts, Messenger, Instant Upload,

Hashtags and more. These products are definitely designed with the user in mind. The downside

– there is no way to create a vanity url for your brand page.

Even though this is Google’s fourth go at a social media site, you cannot deny the importance of

adding your brand to there, if for search engine rankings alone.

5. LinkedIn.

Founded in 2002 and launched in 2003, LinkedIn is THE premier B2B social networking site. LI

gets 2 new members every second, putting it at 135 million active users in more than 200

countries.

Traditionally viewed as the spot to put your resume and search for a job, LinkedIn has grown

into a robust networking site. From job listings to interest groups (there are more than 870K

groups) there are great benefits to keeping your profile up-to- date. Look at it like a business after

hours event…. put on your suit, add a smile to your face and be on your best behavior because

you never know what kind of business leads you’re going to get.

I always recommend dedicating an hour or so a week maintaining your LI profile. Also, be sure

add your company listing, and update it as well. Use your LI company profile page like a resume

for your business.

6. Pinterest.

If your products are visually appealing, then this social media site is for you. Pinterest is a vision

board-styled social photo sharing site that was launched in 2009. The mission is to connect

everyone in the world through shared taste and the things they find interesting.

Users find and create theme-based boards, populating these ‘boards’ with a “Pin It” button. Pins

may be divided into pictures, videos, discussions, and gifts.

Users may follow anyone or any brand, users can also ‘re-pin’ your pinned items. Companies

with product photos can gain a huge following and quick.

7. Ryze.

Started in 2001, Ryze is a social networking site for professionals – particularly entrepreneurs.

It’s free to join and there are paid memberships are available. There are currently over 500,000

members worldwide.

More than 1000 organizations host networks on Ryze. According to their website, networks on

Ryze let existing organizations and communities plus new ones use Ryze’s technology to

connect their members with each other.

As of this posting, Ryze is not accepting new members. How intriguing!

8. Talkbiznow

Talkbiznow is a web-based business community that provides business services for small

businesses and professionals. In addition to the basic functionality of creating a profile and

connecting with others, users can manage a calendar, store files (up to 50MG of free space!),

host webinars, manage all other social media sites with Social One and lots more.

The company’s mission is to simplify the essential business services and seamlessly integrate

and deliver them through the internet for Free. Making it possible for businesses of all sizes to

network, collaborate and essentially expand their services in avenues they might not have

explored before.

Talkbiznow could be a great site to help get the social media newby moving in the right

direction. Sign up is easy, and the profile build and management is user-friendly. I especially like

the free collaboration and desktop services: file sharing, web conferencing and voice

conferencing.

9. Affluence

This is a social media site for the (you guessed it) affluent. In fact, you you must prove your

worth before you can even join, so I can’t tell you much about it, other than it’s intriguing.

Affluence is a private social network where accomplished individuals connect, share

information, and engage in meaningful conversations. Members also enjoy exclusive, high-

quality content and feature advice from industry experts on subjects such as art, technology and

travel.

So, if you fall in the income range of a “verifiable minimum household net worth of $1 million

(US) or annual household income of $200,000,” then this most certainly could be the spot for

you!

10.  Quora.

Now that LinkedIn has disabled their popular Answers feature, Quora is a great place for small

business owners to be. For details, visit this recent post.

So, there you have it. My top 10 list of best social media sites for small businesses. Want more?

Check out a complete list of social media sites  on Wikipedia: click here.

Wondering how to make social media marketing work for your small business? Sign up for my

new self-paced, hybrid social media marketing course geared to help your small business

succeed! Click the image below for details.