How to choose a social media platform for a small business?

With so many social media platforms in the market, we wanted to offer small businesses a guide to help help you choose the right one.

Understand who your customer is…

As a small business owner, I’m sure you know who your typical customer is. You should readily be able to identify the age range, (generally speaking) income range, and gender. Yes, gender. Believe it or not, gender does have an impact on which social media channel you’ll want to consider.

Your business will not be successful on any Social Media channel if you do not have the basic demographic of who your customer is and what their buying habits typically represent. And let’s be honest, if you really don’t know who your customer is, you should probably close up shop now and find something else to do.

Once you identify your customer, you’ll want to take careful considerations and evaluate the variety of social media channels that are available. And yes, we’ll admit to you, there are a lot of them. For this discussion, it’s probably wise to focus on the big 4 – FacebookTwitterLinked-In and Google +.

Have a little fiddle…
Take the time to find out what’s happening on each of these four sites. They are all different, function differently. The only similarity between them is the ability to serve an audience in the social media universe.

Visit the social media channels of your choice. The ones you think you’ll be able to connect with your customers. Poke around, click here, click there, look at pictures, watch video, or search for your favorite brands. Pay attention to what is being posted, how things are being posted, and the online behavior of brands. The key to choosing your channel is also being able to discover through observation which channel will be the best fit for you and your business.

This is a process that will take much longer than an hour of your time. You’ll need to devote a week or two to this experiment. Take notes, make comments, post your own material and watch what happens. The key goal is to take away ideas for how you’d like your social media presence to operate.

Brainstorm a simple social strategy…
Whether you’ll be setting up your social media presence, utilizing a member of your staff, or outsourcing it to an outside firm, it’s important that you also establish a social media policy as well as the intended goals you hope to achieve. Be advised, your social media policy should not be looked upon as a concrete directive of your social media strategy. Instead, it should be viewed as a guideline to how you want to implement and utilize social media channels for the benefit of your business. Your social media strategy should be constructed in such a way which lends itself to the fluidity of your business as well as the web. This is a living, breathing document which will evolve as your business evolves.

Shoot to kill – execution is a life long commitment…
Finally, it’s time to put into place the things you’ve learned. The strategy you’ve developed and see the power that is social media. Go ahead. Don’t be nervous. Start getting social. After all, that’s why this form of marketing is classified as social media.

There is no perfect way to go about this process. But the best way to be successful is being constant and consistent. And remember, the landscape of social media is ever changing and evolving and your business needs to be ahead of those changes. An active presence will not only connect you with your customers, but also allow you the opportunity to build your business and reputation one connection at a time.

If you need help developing your social media presence, contact us

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