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Choosing the Right Social Media Platform for Your Needs

There are multiple social media outlets at your disposal and knowing which ones are best suited for your business is a good starting point for helping your business succeed. Here’s a basic overview of some of the most popular social media platforms:

Facebook: This is probably the most versatile platform there is. All businesses should have, at the very minimum, a Facebook page. Your contact information should be up-to-date, a link to your website should be accessible, your “About” section should be filled out and you should have at least 5 pictures up. If you can send out 2-5 posts a week that’s great, if you can do more, that’s even better. Post about relevant topics in your area, they don’t all necessarily have to be 100% related to your business, you can make either positive or neutral comments about current events, like the weather, but try to steer clear of negativity, politics, and religion. Also, FB is most effective when images/videos are involved. The whole, “a picture is worth a thousand words” thing is relevant on social media too. So use pictures when you post.

Twitter: Think of Twitter as a news feed. You know the ticker at the bottom of the screen on TV news stations? That’s basically what Twitter is, but with much more functionality. If you want to see what people are saying about a specific topic you can use the Twitter search bar to search for topics by putting a # (hashtag) in front of the word/phrase you are looking for tweets about. You can also start a forum or topic by creating your own hashtag term. If you want to speak directly to someone on twitter, add the @ symbol in front of that person’s handle (username). PS – Facebook has incorporated hashtags into their system as well recently, so this function, while not as broadly used on FB, is accepted on multiple platforms.

Pinterest: Pinterest is essentially a giant bulletin board. If you are a retail business, you should definitely use Pinterest. It can also be useful for restaurants, photographers, florists, etc. any business where there is a large visual aspect. Pinterest is all about the visual. Think: Weddings, Home & Garden, DIY, Food, Hair & Makeup.

While it started out being more female-oriented, Pinterest has become more widely used among men with boards developing for gamers, sports, and zombies. When something is pinned, it always links back to the original source that it was pinned from. So if your website has lots of pictures of your products, you should have a ‘Pin It’ button to make it easy for people to pin your products to their boards. You will also need to be pinning and liking things on your own boards.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a great way to look for new employees, connect with other businesses and read useful information coming from experts in your field. Small business owners should create a company page on LinkedIn.

Foursquare: Foursquare is a check-in service. You can ‘check-in’ to places you visit and get special deals. Many restaurants provide ‘free dessert’ coupons, or ‘15% off your entrée’ for checking in. I won a $50 gift card to a restaurant for being the ‘Mayor’ of the establishment on Cinco de Mayo. Mayorship is one of the many fun aspects of Foursquare. If you visit an establishment often, you become mayor. Foursquare will let you know where your friends are checking in, what places are nearby, tips others leave (like what dishes to order, or their favorite server), etc. You can post your check-ins to FB and Twitter, tag friends, add photos (that appear in a gallery every time someone goes to your Foursquare profile), etc.

Google+: Google’s social media platform, Google plus, is under-utilized by many businesses. When you Google a company and that box shows up on the right with their phone number, map, reviews, etc. that’s because that company has a Google+ profile. Google+ also integrates with AdWords. So if you have an AdWords campaign and you have a completed Google+ profile with a decent amount of reviews, your ad will appear with more information and a star rating. Google+ can really help distinguish you from your competitors, especially if you have positive ratings.

Offering a daily special via social media promotes liking, sharing, and foot traffic! Twitter and Facebook are the largest platforms, so if you are having trouble figuring out where to start, those two are probably a good place to get going.

There are literally HUNDREDS of social media platforms, I’ve touched on a few of the more popular ones. Take some time, figure out which social media platforms will be most beneficial for you and your company. Ask your customers which ones they frequent, figure out which ones you are most comfortable with using, do some research (like reading this blog :-), but don’t spread yourself too thin. You won’t have time to properly manage a dozen different platforms on your own, unless you decide to dedicate a full-time person to social media, which more and more companies are doing now.

Ad House Advertising is available to help you set up and manage your social media profiles, post and blog on your behalf, implement a reputation management campaign, and much more!

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