We’re long past the days of having a only few sites to register on; you now have Facebook and Twitter; Google + and Instagram; Reddit, Tumblr, Pintrest, LinkedIn, YouTube, and so many more.
See if that doesn’t make your head spin.
What often ends up happening is new businesses—or businesses new to Facebook—try to sign up on every social media platform known to man, not wanting to miss out, only to be spread so thin that none of their pages on any of the networks take off.
Even just getting likes on only your Facebook Page takes a lot of time and effort; imagine trying to replicate this same effort on eight or more social media sites. For this reason it’s best to start with just a few of the most necessary and helpful sites. Once you’re established on those you can work your way up to becoming a social media marketing maverick.
As time goes on, and as you become established on each site, you can start to add more to the mix, but starting with just a few sites will help you to get the hang of social media marketing, build your audience, and give each platform the attention it needs while you’re cultivating your page, audience, and content.
What social media sites you want to get started on can vary—while some, like Facebook, are good for everyone, some can depend based on your field of work.
This goes without saying. If you have a business, it is as good as mandatory that you have to have a Facebook Page to go with it. Facebook is the most popular social media platform, is used by all age groups and almost all demographics, and is perhaps the most frequently used social media site (though this can change month to month).
Did you know that more and more people are using Facebook’s search engine to look up businesses instead of using search engines like Google? While the majority of internet traffic is still dictated by search engines, a lot of Facebook users try to look up businesses on Facebook. Users love the “inside look” and transparency Facebook at least gives the illusion of offering.
You can use Facebook as an easy, free way to connect with your audience and build a rapport with them. You don’t have to pay any marketing expenses (unless you’re using Facebook Ads), and your name and whatever you want to share with your target audience—who has chosen to like your Page—will appear on their Newsfeed in the same place they get updates from their friends.
You can promote products, sales, and your brand name on Facebook. Every business should have a Facebook Page, regardless of what field of work you’re in. To see how to create the ultimate Facebook Page you can see our post here.
Bonus: once you’re on Facebook with a Page, you can start running Facebook Ads, which can be an extremely profitable and effective method of marketing. You can learn how to navigate Facebook Ads in our FB Ads Formula.
No matter what, start with Facebook and link all other social media sites back to it.
Twitter is a good place to put out a lot of information quickly, and like Facebook, everyone and their mothers have a Twitter. Twitter has the potential to help your content get a lot of shares and retweets, giving Twitter at a top spot as the place to go when you want to go viral.
Again, so many people have Twitter, and it’s a great way to stay up to date with what’s going on in your industry just like it’s a great way to promote your individual business. You can connect with peers and customers alike, all for free.
A Twitter profile for your business should be the second thing you tackle—right after Facebook—when getting started on social media.
3. Pinterest—Those with Products
Pinterest can help people interested in your products (which can include informative-based or free products like blog posts) find them easily. When you pin something, it appears in the designated category, with the focus on the product and not on who pinned it. This makes it easier to promote your products, and if people choose to follow you, great, but if not, a relevant audience is seeing your product either way.
Pinterest is ideal as it promotes and focuses on social sharing. That’s the whole idea behind the site—users sharing things relevant to them, where users can save anything relevant to them no matter who posted it.
Pinterest can be a great tool, and is emerging as a marketing tool that’s being used more and more. If you have a use for it, once you tackle Facebook and Twitter, get on and start pinning.
4. LinkedIn—Those Connecting with Industry Peers
Needing a LinkedIn is particularly true for “white-collar” industries, though it’s applicable to almost all fields of work. LinkedIn helps to connect you with like-minded peers in your industry. Depending on your business, you can sometimes seek out new employees or contractors.
Most importantly, you can connect and even promote your business through LinkedIn’s groups. If you’ve got any kind of blog, LinkedIn is a great way to promote it. We’ve recently started using LinkedIn to share blog posts as part of our marketing strategy with good results.
I don’t think there needs to be any real rush to sign up on LinkedIn; this should happen after you’ve built a following on Facebook and Twitter, and can be used to send traffic back to both of sites.
What Sites Have Worked Best for You?
While Facebook and Twitter are the most important social media sites all businesses should get started on, Pinterest and LinkedIn are the most common best steps to take next. These do, however, vary depending on your industry—YouTube is also important (we use it more than Pinterest), and some businesses thrive thanks to marketing efforts on Reddit (which doesn’t make this list just because it can take so long build up).
What social media platforms have been most important for your business? Which sites do you think it’s most important for businesses to get started on? Leave a comment and share your wealth of knowledge!