Social media companies are some of the most powerful entities in today’s world. Their ability to connect people with others of like mind or specific wants and needs often goes overlooked because much of the experience of operating online in today’s climate is adversarial. With the average user spending roughly two hours and 24 minutes per day on social media and messaging apps, companies can use that exposure to promote themselves. Let’s take a look at how small and medium-sized businesses use social media to their advantage.
Very Small Businesses and Self-Funded Startups
For the very small business—that is the mom-and-pop shop and the sole proprietorship—social media can be the major marketing outlet for your business. In fact, many bootstrapped startups and extremely small businesses will use Facebook as their exclusive hub for marketing outreach. Since these businesses often don’t have the capital to commit to large content-driven marketing initiatives, social media gives them a way to get their brand out there at a modest cost.
For the new entrepreneur looking to build their business from the ground up, Facebook is a very good tool. Not only does it give small businesses the opportunity to get their brand out there, it also provides them with the ability to interact with potential customers and share their culture. Other social media platforms can work for these companies too, but without the strategies and services that larger businesses use, there will always be kind of a soft cap on how effective social media can be for the really small business.
Established Small Businesses and Well-Funded Startups
As a company’s marketing budget swells, so do the possibilities, especially with social media. The established small business typically has the revenue to afford at least a middling marketing strategy and will use it to create a marketing hub, create content, and further press the issue as far as getting their brand out to the world. At this level, many businesses look to purchase the services of a marketing agency. Like managed services, a marketing agency handles a lot of the marketing for your business, so that the people in a business can focus on doing what it does best.
Startups that are well financed function a bit different but also use agency options. They are typically trying to develop products and services and use the agency right along with the development of their offerings. This strategy, while unsustainable over time, can produce faster results if and when a product or service that will produce acceptable returns is created.
Both rely on social media in many of the same ways smaller businesses do, but don’t necessarily run their marketing efforts through it. As mentioned previously, these businesses typically have an established web presence (or at least the means to get one quickly), and use Facebook to extend their reach. At this level, tutorial videos, webinars, and other marketing efforts are well established and using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram to share their experience, their culture, and their testimony from satisfied customers.
The mid-market business is a large business, make no mistake about it. The accepted size of mid-market businesses is over 500 workers. For those businesses that operate with under five, that seems a million miles away. The mid-market business is typically well-established and their brands are known. They have teams of people (internal or outsourced) that actively use analytics (business intelligence, business analytics, etc.) to develop their advertising, marketing, and public relations strategies; all of which they need. In the mid-market, companies use social media as they feel they need to use it rather than something they must do. Most businesses will have a presence on all the major social media outlets, and many of them use social media to fuel their human resources needs. Since their social media budgets are in the five and six figures, they can take advantage of all the services these social media companies offer for businesses.
What Social Media Platforms are Out There That Have Services for Businesses?
The easy answer to this is all of them. These are some of the richest and most influential companies on the planet at the moment, and they got to this point because people shop. Whether it’s for simply brand exposure, or whether it’s used for full-on advertising, the following social media outlets work for businesses:
- Facebook - 1.6 billion daily active users - Facebook is the largest social media firm by leaps and bounds, and it also owns Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. Facebook is currently used by over 90 percent of marketers today.
- YouTube - 149 million individual daily users - YouTube is a great resource for the growing business. Not only is it the second largest search engine in the world, the video-sharing giant provides access to homespun content that can really take a business’ brand to the next level.
- WhatsApp - 1 billion daily active users - With so much of the world relying on WhatsApp, it can really be a benefit for those companies looking outside their own borders for business.
- Instagram - 600 million daily active users - The photo-sharing website, Instagram has been a big player in the marketing scheme for the past couple of years. Many brands look to build a campaign using influencers who direct business to specific companies.
- Twitter - 134 million “monetizeable” daily active users - Twitter is extremely popular, and can be a great way for individuals inside your business to promote content and deliver their knowledge to others.
- LinkedIn - 303 million monthly active users - LinkedIn is a professional networking platform that many human resources professionals use when recruiting new talent.
Other social media platforms that are actively used by marketers include: Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Snapchat and more.
Technology is rapidly changing the world we live in, and it is definitely changing commerce. Does your business use any of these social media platforms? Which ones do you find useful? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below and return to our blog regularly for more great technology content.