So Many Social Networks, But Which to Use?

One of the foremost complaints I hear from small business owners who know they should start shifting their marketing focus to social networking (social media sites that allow networking between users), is that they don’t know which one to use.

And frankly I understand their point. Should they use Facebook or Twitter? LinkedIn or Google+?

The list of potential social networking sites actually goes on and on.

And even if they do spend all the time it takes to really learn how to use one of these tools correctly, some are scared it’ll be out of fashion before too long (most of them are still stinging from the MySpace.com demise).

This is common for small business owners and a primary reason (along with lack of money or time), that some decide not to enter the social networking waters.

Here’s the good news: you don’t need to be present on every single new social network that pops up. While no doubt that it’s ideal to try to cover all the bases, and there are definite advantages to being present on all networks, typically only large companies with huge budgets can manage this.

So, for small businesses in Las Cruces that want to start exploring social network marketing the trick is to figure out what your customers use most and what your goals and objectives are. Here’s a quick run down of the most popular tools out there and a bit of information about using them.

Facebook: The largest and most popular social network in the world, closing in on 900 million global users, half of which are logged in at any given time. It’s almost a sure thing that your customers are on here, yet that doesn’t mean it’s the best one for you to use. If you want to create personal engagement and a loyal base of customers, then setting up a page (not a profile) on Facebook is a good idea, but it’s not a good tool for broadcasting (read, advertising).

Twitter: If you want to develop a nationwide brand, or at least create brand recognition outside of our area, Twitter is perhaps the best tool for doing this. While allowing you to broadcast a little more explicitly than Facebook, Twitter is also the best for directing potential or current customers to online information (like your website for a sale, for example).

LinkedIn: This social network is best used by professionals who depend on making connections—locally or beyond—for their business. People in sales, the financial or insurance industries use this quite often to reach others for marketing opportunities and recruiting.

Google +: Google + is the newest social network on the block, but don’t let that scare you away. Google has promised it will have over 500 million users by the end of the year, and frankly, I believe them. Their genius is in connecting this social network with the power of their search engine, so that results from a search includes the information from Google +. In other words, local businesses would do well to create a business profile to ensure they stay competitive at the top of local search engine results.

There are also numerous very specialized social networks you could join. Take a site called, Ravelry.com, for example. This is a social network exclusively for the knitting and crocheting crowd. Talk about niche!

Or maybe your business specializes in craft beer or brewing supplies? Then you can join Untappd.com.

Despite their very narrow appeal each still has user bases of well over one million. If I was giving advice to small businesses in these fields I’d insist they join and become active participants.

Do a little bit of research to make sure your customers are on these, and then join and observe for a while to see how other businesses use them. In the end, marketing through social networks could be the boost your business is looking for.

Word One Consulting
575-496-6807
clint @ wordoneconsulting.com
2263 S. Main
Las Cruces, NM 88005