Social media websites are growing to the point where businesses can pick and choose which are the best to promote their business. They include different avenues to reach users with different forms of media and communication.
The user demographic may range from diverse to niche markets, which is a key factor depending on your product/service and what you want to get across.
What are the best social media networks for small businesses?
Below is a brief description of the 10 most popular social media sites. You would have definitely heard and used some of these platforms but maybe there are a few that you can potentially look at tapping into.
With over 1 billion active users worldwide, Facebook has become synonymous with the phrase 'social network' (needing no help from the popular movie from which it was based).
Starting off as a place to create and update your personal profile, add friends and post updates, Facebook has evolved to cater to business needs by allowing businesses to create pages to promote their product/service and to keep followers up to date with events and information.
A social network with 200 million users, used to build business contacts called 'connections' and maintain relationships, find jobs and conversely, research backgrounds of potential applicants. Great for building identities as a brand, for both individuals and companies. Users can follow companies and receive notifications for new offers and job openings available.
A microblogging site that enables users to write up to 140 character messages called 'tweets'. This is useful as users can choose to follow people/businesses in their industry, allowing them to read their thoughts, receive updates and latest news. Brand awareness can be increased through constant and entertaining tweets. As of 2012, 340 million tweets were generated daily.
A video-sharing website where video clips can be uploaded, viewed and commented on. Other than the latest dance craze or the plethora of pet-owners and their self proclaimed the cutest pet in the world, there is a place for businesses to provide guides, testimonials and to promote their product/service.
A photo-sharing website where users add or 'pin' photos to their profile and organise these collections into themes. Photos from other accounts can be liked and re-pinned to their own board. Pinterest allows businesses to sell their wares and show what they have on offer.
Several businesses have found that users actually spent more time browsing on their Pinterest board compared to the actual website.
A microblogging website used to post short-form blogs, make them private or follow other blogs.
An important statistic to keep in mind is that half the visitor base are under the age of 25, making it easier to target people of that demographic compared to other media that have more diverse users.
An online photo-sharing service that allows photos to be posted with the option of various filters being applied. These photos can also be shared with other popular networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
With the rapid rise of 100 million active users per month just after two and a half years after launch, it is definitely a medium worth keeping an eye on.
8. Google+ (Google Plus)
This is Google's fourth attempt at social networking after Google Buzz retired in 2011. Google+ offers similar services to Facebook and allows sharing content to friends and organising them into groups or 'circles'.
With 625,000 new users daily as of 2012, it is a fast-moving social network but averages minutes in usage per month compared to hours for Facebook.
Digg is a social news website letting users discover, share, comment and vote on web content with up or down votes, 'digging' or 'burying' respectively. Many websites include 'digg' buttons, allowing users to vote as they browse the net, making it a valuable tool to see what is popular and trending.
It is a great platform for releasing news and keeping track of the news of competitors.
In direct competition with Digg but ranked higher as of 2012, Reddit is a social news and entertainment site where users post in the form of a link or text which is thereby ranked by up or down votes.
With a large and diverse user community, Reddit has the potential to raise publicity for causes and other influences due to the ability to act as a single collective.
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