So Many Social Media Tools, So Little Time

Published On May 13, 2013 | By Toni Spilsbury | For Bloggers, Social Media, Technology

Social Media Breakdown For Businesses

In case you missed Recess’ Blogger & The Business networking workshop, one of the topics discussed was how social media impacts businesses.  There are so many social media tools out in the marketplace today, too many it seems like sometimes.  With all of these platforms and applications to choose from, there’s not enough hours in the day to manage them all.  So, as a business, which applications do you devote your most precious resources (time & money) to?  Which outlet is the best fit and will help grow your business?  And most importantly, what is the benefit?  Here’s a breakdown of social media applications for today’s business.

 

1.  Twitter  Twitter Icon

For businesses, Twitter is the absolute best social media tool to reach the widest audience.  It’s the most cost-effective approach to growing and maintaining a connection with customers, clients,vendors and, well… anyone who who interests you and likewise.  If you’re building a following through content marketing, Twitter is especially good at spreading your message.

Twitter and Facebook serve two separate purposes and function very differently.  While Facebook operates with a “don’t find us, we’ll find you” mentality, Twitter provides a more “in your face” approach to connecting with followers through @mentions and #trends.

Through authentic conversation and sharing, it’s easy to achieve a following of thousands of followers within days, tens of thousands within months and hundreds of thousands in a year –  without paid advertising.  Twitter does offer paid advertisements now where other Tweeters will see your business as a recommended account to follow, but it’s not necessary if your account is managed appropriately.

Twitter does require a significant amount of time to manage, however.  This is why it’s important to figure a way to integrate Twitter into your lifestyle and business operation.  You just pulled out a fresh batch of cinnamon rolls?  Great- snap a photo and post it on Twitter with a message, “Nothing like the smell of hot buns in the morning”.  Waiting in line at the deli?  Great- take a minute to read your Twitter feed and respond to Followers, retweet and share your most fleeting thought.  Keep your chatter entertaining, engaging and real.  Don’t worry, there’s plenty of opportunity to plug your business, but no more than a third of your Tweets should do so.

2.  Facebook       Facebook Icon

I personally love Facebook as the most effective tool for staying in touch with friends and family.  Any “friend” can visit my Facebook page and instantly know what’s happening in my life.  There’s no need for the Christmas card “newsletters” anymore- it’s all on your Facebook page for everyone to see…. vacation photos, status updates, etc.

Facebook for business is about the same, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.  If someone visits your business Page on Facebook, they too will get to see the latest and greatest from your business.  However, your content on Facebook shows up in the News Feed of only a small percentage of your Fans.  For example, if you you have 5,000 Facebook Fans, only about 100 of those Fans will see your content in their feed.  That’s a bitter pill to swallow for this small business owner, especially when it took me years of digging, scraping and climbing to reach just 3,000 Facebook Fans.  After all that hard work, Facebook wants me to now pay an average of $500 per posting to get all of my Fans to see my content.  By creating engaging content with great photos, your fans are more likely to share your content with their friends and then it will be seen by more people.  Otherwise, your Fans will have to specifically search you out to see your content unless you want to pay.

It’s easy to manage and post your content on Facebook and by doing so, you’re giving avid Facebook users a place to visit to learn more about your business.  Also, when one of your posts goes “viral” on Facebook (meaning that Fans begin sharing your post with their friends, who then share with their friends and so on) it’s a great marketing triumph for you.  So, if you have really great, shareable content, Facebook is an awesome place to post it…. and the only place my mom believes exists on the internet today.

Unlike Twitter, it does not take a ton of time to manage your business Facebook page, especially if you have plenty of content from your website to post.

 

3.  Pinterest Pinterest Icon

Ah, Pinterest… the most inspiring way to lose half of your day.  I consider myself a personal Pinterest expert as someone who has witnessed tremendous success from the most rapidly growing social media site out today.

You may wonder how creating scrapbook boards to “pin” and “repin” images will help your business.  The answer is that it may not.  Pinterest is not for every business.  Pinterest is a visual experience.  So, unless you’re creating original images that draw people in and make them want to pin them to their Boards and visit your website, Pinterest is not for you.  I’ve been featured on page one of Pinterest Favorites and have had several of my photos go viral resulting in almost a million repins and visitors to my website.

Before dedicating your social media time to pinning photos from your website out to Pinterest, you must first ask yourself if they’re “pinnable” and, most importantly, “clickable”.  The idea here is to get people to share that photo by pinning it for their followers to see, with the ultimate goal of enticing people with your image to click on it which directs them to your website to find out more about it.

There are many ways to do this.  For example, if you own a vegan bakery there are many photo opportunities throughout the day, especially if you use Instagram or a DSLR camera with macro lens.  Pinning a photo of your chocolate croissant to Pinterest may not draw any repins or visitors to your website, especially if it’s not a great photo.  However, by writing a blog post on your website titled, “The Basics of Vegan Baking” and using a visually inspiring photo of your chocolate croissant, you can add some text to that photo stating, “Vegan Baking Tips” and pin that photo out to Pinterest.

PinnableClickablePinterest

 

 

4. Instagram Instagram Icon

Instagram is the Twitter for photos.  Instead of following your Tweets, users follow your photos.  The best thing about Instagram is that once you post your photo, it automatically posts out to Twitter and Facebook with the click of a button.

Instagram recipe example

 

Okay, I take that back.  The best thing about Instagram is actually the filters.  Once you take your photo, you can select one of dozens of filters to enhance your photo which takes only a few seconds.

As a business, if you’re on Twitter, you may as well be on Instagram.  It’s simply an easier way to share status through photos on Twitter and Facebook.  Here’s an example of a recipe photo tutorial I did with Instagram.  Later I went back and posted the recipe on my website with high resolution photos, but using Instagram during the recipe creation process was a nice way to connect with my followers.

 

 

 

Other Instagram favorites:

Instagram example

Instagram

Instagram example4

 

 

 

5.  Vine

Vine is the video version of Instagram.  If you’ve mastered how to use Instagram, you’ll understand that Vine works exactly the same way, but with 6-second videos.  I’ve started using Vine just recently and have found that it takes no longer to post a Vine video than it does to post an Instagram photo; and both have the option to post out to Twitter and Facebook.  So, if you have an iPhone (not available on Android yet), and you’re using Instagram, it’s worth the time to download Vine and see how it works for your business creatively.

Here’s an example of Vine in action for business- She Finds posted this great Vine video of Butter London:

 

 

 

6. LinkedIn LinkedIn Icon

LinkedIn is the social media equivalent of the IRL (in real life) networking luncheons and business mixers.  Some may wonder why they should connect to the people who seek them out on LinkedIn and the answer is simple-make the connections and you can grow your business network.  LinkedIn saves you the money spent on lunch or drinks (unless you choose to upgrade to LinkedIn Premium, which, for most people isn’t truly necessary) and gas spent traveling from event to event on those days when you just don’t have the time or the energy to drive from event to event.

And LinkedIn differs from other social media platforms, such as Facebook, in that you’re not likely to see personal photographs or updates on the latest party a colleague or potential business connection attended (unless it was a business mixer or charity dinner and then lets hope they kept the post professional).  What you will find are folks like you-be they cube-dwellers looking for their next gig, executives and hiring managers looking for their next star, or entrepreneurs looking for their niche clientele.  And there are groups on LinkedIn that you can join to discuss topics that matter to you in your working world (i.e. Social Media Marketing Las Vegas, Green Real Estate, Urban Planning Group, Connected in Henderson/Vegas, etc.).  Post your resume and highlight your professional strengths and you just might land  your dream job if one of your connections sees that you’re a perfect fit for a position and suggests you to the person/place looking to hire.

Just like networking IRL, LinkedIn is only as useful as the amount of time and effort you are willing to invest in logging in, putting your “best face forward” on your page and making connections.

 

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About The Author

Toni Spilsbury is a blogger, brand strategist and social media producer in addition to being a philanthropist and mother…. but not in that order. From busy corporate gal to even busier mom of four, one with special needs, Toni established an online connection with today’s on-the-go moms as someone who understands the unique demands of working moms. In 2005, Toni co-founded the Nevada Blind Children Foundation and began working to build the first school for the blind in Nevada. With a passion for cooking, creating her own recipes and a desire to merge her family life and career, Toni wrote a book The Organized Cook in 2009 before embarking on a journey through branding, blogging, social media and e-commerce that gained her an insight and passion for the unique niche of content-driven e-commerce. Toni’s second book, Because of Connor, is due out in late 2013 which gives readers an insight into the unique struggle of life’s ups and downs when set against the backdrop of caring for and coming to grips with a severely medically fragile son.

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