What Social Networks You Should Use to Promote Your Business

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Maker’s Row Live you’ll know that one of the questions we always ask guests is “what is your marketing strategy?” You’ll also know that the answer tends to always be social media. Social media marketing has quickly established itself as an industry of its own to the point that it is being taught as a stand-alone major at some schools. The reason is because of the way that we now consume content and discover new brands.

For a startup, small business, or bootstrapped entrepreneur social media is the perfect place to start marketing your business. It’s free, simple, and gives you access to billions of people in one stroke of the keyboard. However, there is strategy involved. To start, you have to pick the right channels to market on. While it might seem like putting your business on as many platforms as possible is the best route, sometimes it just unnecessary uses resources and can make a brand seem out of date.

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There are really only two social networks that I think a brand absolutely has to be on: Facebook and Google Plus. I know what you must be thinking, “nobody uses Google Plus!” You’re right. Only about 111 million people are active on the network which is minuscule when you consider that that’s just 0.5% of the Google user base and is a fraction of the 1.71 billion active Facebook users. However, having a Google Plus page for your business does two things: supports search engine optimization (SEO) and adds legitimacy to your brand. Don’t work too hard on it. Update the page with your logo, contact information, and post your new content on it automatically with a service like Hootsuite or Buffer.

As for Facebook, not only does it add legitimacy to your business, it also has slowly become an incredible resource for businesses to the point that some use it as their sole online presence. Facebook is perfect for:

    • Sharing content native to your brand or relevant articles to your audience.
    • Announcing new products, features, etc.
    • Providing contact information.
    • Customer service: messaging on the platform is perfect for brands that don’t have a dedicated customer service team.
    • Advertising: If you are looking to put a little money behind your marketing efforts, Facebook’s Ad Manager is easy to use and easy to target to your audience.

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After those two you have to pick the right social networks for you. Twitter is very much a live medium. However, if used correctly you can start a social conversation around your brand that can drive a lot of word-of-mouth marketing that is free and viral. Twitter is not innately made for sharing a lot of content. While you can add code to your website to include cards, many users only read the actual body of the tweet.

Use Twitter to start a conversation about your brand:

    • Tweet and retweet quotes that have to do with your company’s mission and values.
    • Retweet tweets that your customers send about your brand. This is an easy and quick way to have testimonials.
    • Use hashtags to let pertinent audiences discover your business (for example, if you are an eco-friendly brand add #ecofriendly and #sustainability to your tweet)
    • Use a branded hashtag to promote your business.
    • Tweet at influencers who match your brand’s values or may have a use for your product. They may retweet you or check out your brand!

Naturally, Instagram is a visual medium. Some industries that often thrive on the platform are apparel, furniture, and jewelry since these kinds of products photograph well. However, links and content don’t work on the platform since captions will not hyperlink. Brands have been able to cultivate huge followings on Instagram:

    • Share photos of your products. However, there is a huge importance of art directing your photos. Show it being used in a practical setting.
    • Share photos of your customers using your product.
    • Set the tone for your company’s visual style. Be consistent!
    • Use Instagram stories to give a behind the scenes look at your brand.

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These are the major social networks. Some others that you should consider using are:

    • Pinterest: Like Instagram, this is a highly visual network. However, it is a lot easier to link content to the site. Share photos of your products linked to relevant blog posts. For example, if you are an apparel brand pin a photo of an outfit made up of all your brand’s products and link to an article that breaks down each part of the look.
    • Snapchat: While Snapchat is arguably the most successful social network in terms of quick adoption. There isn’t much in the way of discoverability. Use it to share behind the scenes photos of your brand and share your SnapCode on your other social networks.
    • Tumblr: This relatively new site has been an enigma to a lot of brands. However, there is an audience that you can tap into. The user base is quite young from around 13-17. So if you are a younger-skewing brand this is a great place to share content. Plus, the tagging structure on the site can help potential new customers discover your brand.
    • YouTube: Videos can be hard to make, expensive, and time-consuming for beginners. But if you are a part of your brand it could be the perfect way to share who you are with your customers.

Of course, there are countless other social networks both young and old (Vine, Reddit, etc.). However, there are few that brands can really leverage as part of your marketing strategy. Start off with Facebook and hone your company’s voice and tone, then start expanding. In today’s environment, social media is a necessity to add legitimacy to your brand. You built your brand. Now this is your chance to share it!

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