With the explosion of social media platforms both in numbers and diversity, it can be mind-boggling as a small business to figure out exactly which to use, to promote and build your brand. At every turn, the internet, media, even our personal relations all seem to have their own opinion on what is the ‘be all and end all’ of social media. Yet at the same time, most small business entrepreneurs simply cannot afford the time it takes to be truly active on so many platforms. In the words of social itself, #craycray!

If this situation sounds a lot like where you are currently sitting with your social media efforts, rest assured that you are already on the path to success! Yep. Taking the time to sit and figure out exactly what it is you need to concentrate on is an excellent, and truly important first step. Rather than rushing in, hashtags blazing, sitting back and examining all your options will give your company the best possible chance of not only building your brand, but also your relationship with your clients.

To make this process easier, we have broken down the top social media platforms based on their features, pros and cons, to give you a better idea of what platforms are actually of value to your specific business!

Facebook: Definitely a top contender. We would personally suggest that all businesses have a presence on this platform. Having been around the longest, Facebook boasts a phenomenal user base. Facebook is also dedicated to not only creating new updates and developments to make it easier to use and more intuitive, but also offers businesses great new features and opportunities for advertising, ecommerce, customer interaction and real-time communications. This platform is both text and image based, obviously moving towards loads of video content in 2017, making it a great all-rounder for all types of business.

Twitter: Many think it is essential to be on Twitter, but seldom realize the amount of time it takes to properly invest and utilize this platform. When used personally this platform is an easy go-to for quick info from the favourites you follow. But from a business perspective many start with great intentions and then tend to fall flat, leaving your followers in the dark and your brand in the dirt.

You should be aiming for at least 2-3 posts a day and build up to 5-10. This excludes interacting with your followers, potential clients and partnering brands. Twitter is great for companies with live events, social awareness projects, media and news, live Q&As, or even for use as a direct-communication platform between you and your clients. They can air their queries or connect personally with your business, yet be aware that they will expect real-time responses too.

Instagram: Owned by Facebook, Instagram is an image-based social media platform, and is phenomenal for businesses with physical products, events, public figures and public speakers, as well as pretty much anything to do with food. Images offer a sense of instant gratification, a hallmark characteristic of younger generations, and when done with consistency and professionalism Instagram can give your brand a real personality that your online audience can easily, and instantly, connect with.

Pinterest: Pinterest is great for both service and product based businesses with an interesting or compelling story to share with images, small businesses looking to target women from 25-45, lifestyle products, articles of interest, employee engagement & brand personality for more established businesses. Boards categorized with your clients interests in mind, linking back to your website, can create an excellent online marketing tool.

LinkedIn: While not seemingly as popular in South Africa as in the UK and North America, LinkedIn has still become the face of professional online interactions. While LinkedIn may not be of too much value to start ups, it does lend itself to more established brands, both small and larger. Companies looking to boost their professional image and interact with potential clients, partners and other businesses in a more corporate online setting, would be encouraged to use this platform. LinkedIn is great for placing your brand as a thought leader through group discussions, as well as any company looking to engage employees on a platform more aimed at business than personal enjoyment.

With a little entrepreneurial-creativity, some good target market research, and a minimal budget, small businesses can now take advantage of the popularity of social media platforms and the real-time interactions that can take their business to #stardom!

Need a little assistance to get you going? We can create, optimize, and manage your social media pages and online communities at a rate customized to suit your business. Drop us a comment and we will contact you!

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