The Social Media Sites Your Small Business Needs to Know


If you haven’t noticed, the world really likes being on the Internet. Multiple generations are Internet experts now, with older generations becoming increasingly more tech savvy.

The latest major trend of the Internet medium in the past decade has been the advent and proliferation of social media. Social media has done to the Internet what the Internet did to the world: It’s made it smaller. So, with a smaller, more defined Internet, it’s time to talk about the social media sites you need to know, and how to use them.


Facebook

The big behemoth of social media: Facebook.


Touting over 2.3 billion users, over a quarter of the world is a part of Facebook. This social media giant is where users can connect with old friends, get the news, join groups for things they’re interested in, buy from local sellers, “discuss” politics, and so much more.


At the very least, your business’ social media plan should start with Facebook.


  • How Many: 2.38 billion users (just under 1/3 of the whole world)

  • Founded: 2004

  • What People Do: Connect with friends, family, and people with of common interests. With Facebook you can: instant message, group chat, and share photos, videos, and blogs.

  • What You Should Do: Create a Facebook page for posting content regularly and creating a “hub” for your company. Encourage reviews on the page, and answer any questions that people have. You should also take advantage of Facebook’s advertising capabilities as it is expected to represent ~20% of the worldwide digital advertising spending in 2019.


Twitter

Twitter is the second most well-known social media site behind Facebook. Another term used to refer to Twitter, is a “micro-blogging” site. Twitter gets the “micro-blogging” distinction from it’s character limit for every post – 280 characters (besides Chinese, Japanese, and Korean). Before then, the limit was 140 characters until 2017.


With over 320 Million monthly active users, Twitter is a hub for news, communication, and self-promotion. Twitter is also where the use of the pound symbol, A.K.A the hashtag ‘#,’ as a way to demarcate a conversation topic.


Hashtag Example by the restaurant Denny’s: “Procrastination: a 3am denny’s run” #college in five words


  • How Many: 326 Million Users

  • Founded: 2006

  • What People Do: Write Tweets in short form with the ability to attach pictures, GIFs, Videos, or links under 280 characters. Users can also comment on, “like,” or “retweet” someone else’s tweet that they want their followers to see.

  • What You Should Do: Use Twitter as a platform to communicate personally with people who are interested in your brand. Twitter can help you connect with users, as well as publish ads on the site.


Instagram

Instagram: The photo capital of the Internet.


The now-Facebook owned application allows its users to upload photos and videos onto their feed. Instagram provides their very own set of edits and filters to apply to pictures and videos directly on the app. All of the pictures and videos are shared in a 1:1 square format.


Instagram also has a direct messaging service to communicate with followers or other users. The app also provides a stories format where people can create a temporary set of pictures or videos, that will expire after 24 hours. Finally, since late-2016 users have been able to broadcast live video streams on Instagram for up to one hour.


  • How Many: 1 Billion Users per month

  • Founded: 2010

  • What People Do: Post videos and pictures, as well as comment and “like” posts from other users.

  • What You Should Do: Share pictures and videos of what your business does. Not just in the idea of “spamming” pictures of your business’ products and services, but you should also post about your company’s day to day operations. Overall, your business should use Instagram as a window into your company’s culture, ideals, and goals. You can also advertise on Instagram using the Facebook advertising platform to place videos and pictures as ads in user newsfeeds.

YouTube

If Instagram is the photo capital of the Internet, YouTube is the video capital of the Internet.


Owned by Google since 2006, YouTube is the leading place for video around the world. With billions of views per day, YouTube is where independent creators, small businesses, and enterprises all go to get their video seen by the masses.


Rather than having a profile, each YouTube account will have a “channel” where all of their videos are located. Videos can be “liked,” “disliked,” commented on, or shared outside of YouTube.


If somebody is a particular fan of a channel, they can subscribe to that channel to get updates whenever they post again.


  • How Many: 1.3 Billion Users Per Month

  • Founded: 2005

  • What People Do: Share videos and subscribe to content they want to see more of.

  • What You Should Do: If you have the time and resources, YouTube can be extremely valuable. This is a platform where you can post videos of your product, how to use it most effectively, and any related content about the topics involving your business industry. You can also submit advertisements that will play at the beginning of a video for people to see.


LinkedIn

The professional social network: LinkedIn.


Rather than taking a casual and intimate approach, LinkedIn is instead a kind of living resume. It is a place where conversation can certainly take place but with business in mind.


User profiles on LinkedIn focus on things like work history, education, licenses & certifications, skills they have, places they’ve volunteered, and any recommendations they might have.


Functionally, LinkedIn is very similar to Facebook, with chatting, commenting, “liking,” and groups as a staple. The difference between the two social networks is that with LinkedIn, there is a primary focus on personal and professional development.


  • How Many: 610 Million Users Per Month

  • Founded: 2003

  • What People Do: Business networking, instant messaging, group chatting, and share photos, videos, and blogs.

  • What You Should Do: Much like Facebook, you should use your LinkedIn page for posting content regularly and creating a “hub” for your company. However, with LinkedIn you’ll be taking on a more professional veneer with everything. It’s especially important that b2b companies use LinkedIn, as over 90% of b2b marketers use this social network as a part of their marketing mix. Make sure you also look into using their advertising options as well, which run similar to Facebook ads.


Pinterest

Pinterest is a social media site and app that uses images, GIFs and videos as its content source. All content will have an image, GIF, or video.

The idea behind this platform is that it’s easy to find ideas for things like recipes, home and style inspiration, and the like. Users can type a term, let’s say “camping,” and they will receive results that are related to camping, such as one-pot camping meals, packing checklists, and tips for camping with dogs.

“Pins” are the actual posts and ideas that people use on the website. If a user has an idea or sees a post they want to save from the web, they will “pin” it with a link back to the original idea. Pinterest boards are the collections of “pins” that fit into a category that users curate.

  • How Many: 291 Million Users

  • Founded: 2010

  • What People Do: Pinterest is a place to post ideas and inspirational images to help others get the creative juices flowing.

  • What You Should Do: If you are going to be posting a lot of visual content, consider using Pinterest as a way to connect with potential customers. Find the type of content that relates to your business and sign up for a business account. Once you’ve done that, get to pinning and commenting! Also, don’t forget to see what you can do with their sponsored pin system!

Snapchat


Snapchat is a lot like the Stories feature on Instagram. Let me rephrase, Stories is a lot like Snapchat, since Snapchat was first.

Snapchat features photo and video sharing in “stories” form that lasts for 24 hours. Snapchat users can send direct messages, pictures, and videos to people in your “friends list,” which are called “Snaps.” However, these “Snaps” will be deleted after they have been read or seen by both users

In addition to sharing pictures and videos, Snapchat offers an extensive list of filters and Augmented Reality features. Snapchat caters to an especially young audience that has over 180 million users worldwide.

  • How Many: 2011

  • Founded: 187 Million Monthly Users

  • What People Do: Snapchat users post temporary stories including pictures and videos to public and private groups.

  • What You Should Do: If your brand is trying to reach out to a young audience, consider advertising with Snapchat or at the very least use it to research what the young folk are hip to.

Reddit


Reddit, what a funky thing you are. Reddit, the self-proclaimed, “front page of the Internet,” takes a more “old-school” approach to social media.

Reddit is a collection of communities called “subreddits” that focus on a particular topic, person, or organization. For example, a “subreddit” about naturalForms could be: www.reddit.com/r/naturalForms. These “subreddits” will then have posts either comprised of text or will feature a link to something with a title.

Reddit users are able to comment on posts and give “upvotes” or “downvotes” which will affect the “score” of the post. If a post or comment is seen as particularly impressive it can be “gifted” silver, gold, or platinum to commemorate it. This can also be done for comments.

Outside of “subreddits,” there is “/r/all” where the most popular posts across all “subreddits” are aggregated. If a post is particularly popular, it will be seen by almost all Reddit users.

WARNING: Reddit is known to be particularly anti-corporate/anti-self-promotion. It can be very challenging to genuinely connect to “subreddits,” and if the “Reddit Hive-Mind” decides to go against you and your posting, it can lead to consequences like review-bombing, doxing, and online harassment.

  • How Many: 330 Million Uses Per Month

  • Founded: 2005

  • What People Do: Post content for the purpose of driving discussion/arguing.

  • What You Should Do: If you are able to provide meaningful and relevant commentary to a “subreddit,” it may be useful to join one and post regularly, but advertising your product or service through their advertising program would be the safer bet.

Make sure your best practices go beyond the social media! naturalForms' digital forms work online or offline with your mobile device wherever you are.


naturalForms – Smart Forms for Smart Business


About naturalForms®


naturalForms is an innovative software company based in Dayton, Ohio USA and is the leader in natural input technologies and provides an end-to-end mobile data capture platform that automates the collection of natural input (such as handwriting, photos, notes, drawings, and signatures) instantly at the point of entry. Information captured with tablets or other mobile devices is immediately converted to digital data and seamlessly integrated to backend systems. Straight-through processing eliminates cycle time delays and human data entry errors, creating an unsurpassed workflow optimization and significant cost savings. naturalForms’ solutions are used around the world, delivering value in multiple industries. To learn more, visit http://www.naturalforms.com.