The internet is full of hundreds of social networks, most are unique niche markets but overall there are four major social networks that I believe every business should consider using.
The big four social media sites for business marketing
The internet may be a big place but there are four social media companies that stand out above the rest for customer service and online marketing, each has a specific flavour and in most cases, each should be used in some way by your company
With roughly a hundred trillion billion users (ok I don’t think it’s quite that many but it’s really huge) Facebook is the white whale of online marketing. It has a special business focussed section called Facebook Pages which is similar to the regular Facebook for users but allows businesses, celebrities etc. to create business specific profiles with everything from hours of operation to custom apps.
The Facebook page allows businesses to have Followers (or Fans) which works much like a one directional friendship in the regular user to user version of Facebook.
When should a company use Facebook? I would say all businesses should have a Facebook Page for their company, regardless of market since there’s an excellent chance that your employees, business contacts, and customers also have a Facebook profile.
How often should you update Facebook? This depends a lot on the type of content your Facebook profile displays but highlighting interesting sales, blog posts, employment opportunities, etc. with your Facebook is a great use of the service. Remember, Facebook is about people and not advertising, if you have a fun video about your company to share this is a great forum for it.
Twitter is a social media service designed for short bursts of communications, limited to 140 characters per message. It’s well indexed and provides a quick resource for finding answers quickly.
Relationships on Twitter are called Follows and work one direction at a time, because of this it’s possible for people to follow your business without your business following them back and is perfect for companies looking for disseminate information to a large audience but is somewhat limited since many Twitter messages will get lost in the sea of other Twitter messages.
When should a company use Twitter? All businesses should at least maintain a Twitter profile, and most should actively monitor their Twitter account for enquires the same way the use email (called Direct Messages in Twitter terms). Twitter increases in value dramatically when you’re sharing items that are likely to be shared by people with similar interests.
How often should you update Twitter? The nature of Twitter is one of rapid information, while it depends greatly on the company and the nature of a business on Twitter I would recommend business owners plan to monitor Twitter on an ongoing basis, reply to customers hourly throughout a work day, and post unique interesting content daily if they hope to see a return on their investment. Interesting posts, jobs, events, local news, etc are all great Twitter content.
The Pinterest social media platform is all about sharing images from websites, as such it is ideal for unique businesses such as catering, wedding planning, tourism, small retail, etc. to generate interest in products and services but doesn’t accommodate corporate messages well.
When should a company use Pinterest? If your business creates beautiful, unique product that would appeal to the visually focussed then Pinterest might be right for you. Remember, Pinterest is focussed on a consumer level market, so if you’re selling benefit plans it might not be right for you!
How often should you update Pinterest? Whenever you’re contributing something visually striking to the world, or have found some eye candy to share with your friends.
Of the big four, Linkedin is the most corporate of all of them. It’s primary focus is business, as such your Connections (similar to Friends on Facebook) are business colleagues, suppliers, and customers more often than people you’d play hockey with.
The site is great for finding skilled staff, researching prospective hires, building business networks, and promoting yourself into a business community.
When should a company use Linkedin? If your business is focussed on commercial growth, and business-to-business marketing more than consumer level marketing, Linkedin is the best for reaching your business peers and finding new suppliers, staff, and client research.
How often should you update Linkedin? Linkedin should be updated regularly, to reflect large projects and employment status changes, to list job postings, mergers etc.