That’s why it’s a good idea to publish at your optimal send times. You can do this by studying your social media sent messages and finding trends in when posts get top engagement, or you can use a tool like Sprout’s Optimal Send Times to do that for you automatically.
Marketing Insider Group
But by itself, social media is not enough to drive business growth. Social platforms can help you connect with your customers, increase awareness about your brand, and boost your leads and sales. But you need to start with an always-on mindset and a solid content marketing strategy.
What you might not know is that you’re ready to get your company’s social media off the ground right now. You don’t need to know every intimidating buzzword or have the magic number of followers. You can get started immediately—and even enjoy yourself in the process.
Social media provides immense potential for businesses because consumers habitually log on to it daily and are exposed to companies. It also presents huge challenges for businesses, however, because it’s an ever-changing space that is extremely noisy and crowded.
It can be difficult to keep up with evolving trends on social media, so B2B reviews and ratings firm Clutch partnered with marketing agency Smart Insights to learn the current state of social media marketing; they surveyed 344 social media marketers from around the world to determine the value of social media, the most engaging content to share, common challenges, and what social media resources businesses are investing in.
Get Attention and Build Awareness
If people don’t know about your business, they can’t become your customers. Social media boosts your visibility among potential customers, letting you reach a wide audience by using a large amount of time and effort. And it’s free to create a business profile on all the major social networks, so you have nothing to lose.
However, it’s really easy for a consumer to become overwhelmed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms filled with noise from companies trying to promote their brands. How can a company create relevant content in such a crowded space?
This is where original content intersects with quality design. Between GIFs, memes, Facebook Live and more, a content strategy has to be carefully thought-out and executed. What message do your customers want to see, how are they going to identify with your brand, and what will get them to click on your post or comment on it to garner a conversation?
Define what you want to get out of social media to develop a social media strategy for brand awareness. Do you want new customers to discover your services? Do you hope to bring more local shoppers into your stores? By keeping your strategy specific, you can determine which social media channels are the best fit for your business.
Benefits of social media for growth
5. Increase website traffic
Social media posts and ads are key ways to drive traffic to your website. Sharing great content from your blog or website to your social channels is a great way to get readers as soon as you publish a new post. (You can even use UTM tracking tags to collect data on your click-throughs!)
Participating in social chats can also be a great way to increase your visibility, get attention from new people, showcase your expertise, and drive traffic to your website. (Though make sure to go beyond self-promotion to offer real value!)
6. Generate leads
Social media offers an easy and low-commitment way for potential customers to express interest in your business and your products. Lead generation is such an important benefit of social media for business that many social networks offer advertising formats specifically designed to collect leads.
7. Boost sales
8. Partner with influencers
Recommendations from friends and family play a huge role in consumer decisions, as do reviews. When you get people talking about your product or company on social media, you build brand awareness and credibility, and set yourself up for more sales.
Lingerie brand Adore Me partnered with influencers for a series of unboxing videos on Instagram, and saw a huge bump from content that was showcased directly in the influencers’ accounts. This included a doubled click-through rate and a seven percent higher sales conversion rate.
Sprout Social for small business: A social partner
We do this not just by providing the software to take advantage of social media, but by working with you and helping you find success. From all the customer surveys that I ran one thing was abundantly clear:
When SMBs subscribe to Sprout Social they’re getting more than just a leading social media scheduling, analytics and management platform; they’re getting a partner that truly cares about helping them set and achieve social goals.
Sprout Social support
Our brand isn’t our design, our products or our logo—our brand is how we make people feel. And customer support isn’t just a department or a job title, it’s our relationship with the people who allow us to do what we love.
Sprout Social onboarding
If you’ve never used a social media management platform before, or if you have and didn’t enjoy the experience, you know just how important it is to get setup properly and quickly. Especially when you have goals to hit and stakeholders to share value with.
Sprout Social’s small business marketing lead
Oh yeah, there’s also me! I’m the Small to Medium Business Marketing Lead, and my job is to consistently create content that will not only help you find value with Sprout Social, but also give you the leading strategies and insights into the world of small business marketing.
Sprout Social for small business: The actual platform
Well with an all in one inbox like Sprout’s Smart Inbox, you can stream every single message from all of your social media profiles into a single location, making it easy to respond to the social posts that need your attention.
Then as you go through the Smart Inbox you can choose to Mark Messages Complete, removing it from your Smart Inbox entirely. It gives you the comfort of knowing every social message from your customers has been properly responded to.
A visual social content calendar makes it easy to see what your upcoming social schedule looks like. If you see a few days with too many or too few posts scheduled then simply shift those messages around to ensure you always have great content to share.
Not sure when the best time is to send messages to your audience? Sprout’s ViralPost and Optimal Send Times will use data to figure out the times your audience is most engaged and automatically publish those posts even if you’re not at your computer.
Create a repository of pre-approved images to make it easy to find visuals to share with your messages. You can also edit images right from the Sprout Image Editor to make it even more personal to your messages.
Create custom social reports based on the data most important to your team, then easily export those presentation-ready reports to share. Would you rather dig into the numbers yourself? No problem–download your numbers as a CSV and work your excel magic to make the data your own.
Social media for business
In other words, use Reddit to ask questions and get feedback on different parts of your business (ad campaigns, web design, new products, and more). Many companies pay loads of money to gather information from their audience without realizing that Reddit allows them to do that for free.
8 Best Social Media Platforms for Business: Your Ultimate Guide
Today, we’re going to answer that exact question. We’re going to share the top 8 social media platforms for business. Then, we’re going to teach you how to use those platforms to help your company reach its growth goals.
Why Use Social Media for Business?
1) Build Brand Awareness: Being active on social media helps you stand out and keeps your name on peoples’ minds throughout the day. After enough exposure, you’re bound to get more interested people checking out your brand’s content.
2) Connect With Customers: It’s a rookie mistake to think that your business just needs to “close the sale.” Instead, social media opens the lines of communications between you and your customer base. This reduces your churn rate and leads to repeat customers in the future.
3) Boost Your SEO: By promoting your content on social media, you can get more likes, views, shares, and engagement with your content. Then, you’ll drive more traffic to your site which boosts pageviews. These are all positive signs to search engines like Google, and these factors help improve your SEO.
4) Grow Your Mailing List: Once people get to your website from your social media content, you’ll have more opportunities to turn traffic into leads. Over time, you can use this traffic to grow your email list and generate even more revenue from your email campaigns.
Best Social Media Platforms for Business
OptinMonster is your best tool for working with social media to reach your marketing and sales goals. That’s because OptinMonster allows you to create custom “optin campaigns” that gets more customers to engage with your calls to action (CTAs).
“Optin campaigns” are small messages in the form of a popup, floating bar, fullscreen campaign, and more. These messages are most effective when they have an engaging headline, offer a lead magnet, and end with a powerful CTA.
With OptinMonster, you can build professional-grade optin campaigns in a matter of minutes, even if you have no coding experience or “tech skills.” Then you can target those campaigns to make sure they’re seen by the right people at just the right time in their customer journey.
It’s also a great place to interact with your clients once you’ve caught their attention. Many companies opt to create private groups on the platform where paying customers can join, interact, pose questions, and have a personalized experience with the brand.
Bottom Line: Facebook is a tool that is right for just about any business. Though paid ads can become cumbersome and expensive, they’re totally optional. Your best bet is to have an active account to keep in touch and connect with users.
Use Facebook Pixels to Grow Your List
Facebook’s ads work with an algorithm that constantly builds a more targeted audience for you. There are many factors involved, but one way you can help Facebook understand your audience is with a Facebook pixel.
Instagram started out as a platform for sharing photos and still keeps that as its core use. However, it has expanded to videos in a feature called “stories.” Thus, Instagram has become an excellent way for brands to literally show (rather than tell) their products, values, and voice.
Bottom Line: Instagram is great if your audience is younger and typically shopping from mobile. Plus, Instagram created a “Checkout” feature which means it’s fully set up for eCommerce. Now, your clients can look at product images and purchase what they like directly from their Instagram account.
Grow Your Instagram Following
This gives your site’s traffic a glimpse of what your Instagram content looks like. With this added exposure, combined with a popup that redirects users to your account, you’re looking at massive jumps in your follower count.
Twitter had a brilliant marketing strategy from the get-go with their character limit: give everyone a voice but limit the “noise.” Businesses, journalists, celebrities and, for better or worse, even Presidents use Twitter to share stories, news articles, or humorous anecdotes every day.
When it comes to using Twitter for business, you can definitely find ways to monetize the platform. Part of doing that is standing out from your competition, consistently engaging with your audience, and adding valuable content with all of your posts.
Bottom Line: Depending on your commitment to social media marketing, Twitter can be a powerful tool for building brand awareness and connecting directly with other customers (not to mention other influencers). Keep in mind that Twitter needs its own marketing strategy, and you’ll need to plan for multiple tweets per day.
Boost Engagement With a “Click-to-Tweet” Button
Combining OptinMonster with Twitter is easier than you might think. And at the end of this section, we’ll give you the perfect resource for mastering the combination to see more ROI from your Twitter strategy.
Top 15 Social Media Sites in 2021 to Catapult Your Business
Considering the best social media platforms for business is important. You can engage with customers in a personalized, cost-effective way through social media. In fact, the cost is lower than nearly all other marketing channels for its scale, reach, and targeting capabilities.
It is generally difficult to find numbers on Google My Business (GMB) monthly active use and Google use in general. The number we use below combines the best monthly active user estimates we could find for both Google Search (4 billion) and Google Maps (1 billion). That number at least indicates potential viewership if not the businesses that are posting within GMB.
1) Google My Business Google Business Profile (f.k.a. Google My Business)
In 2022, Google renamed Google My Business to Google Business Profile. Not only does Google Business Profile let your customers know that you sell what they need, but it provides reviews for social proof of your quality. You can also use Google Business Profile to release localized content. Before thinking about content, though, it is critically important to claim and verify your listing.
With an upgraded experience on Search and Maps, you can complete verification, update your profile, or resolve other issues directly from search and edit what people see when they search for your business, including responding to reviews. Consider this: an up-to-date profile is 70% more likely to attract location visits, gets 7X more clicks, and is 50% more likely to lead to a purchase. With more than 5 billion active users, Google Business Profile is absolutely one of the best social media platforms for business.
Regardless of your industry, another of the top social media platforms is Facebook. Search Engine Journal listed automotive, consumer goods, e-commerce, entertainment, financial services, gaming, media, retail, telecommunication, and technology as some of the most dominant industries on the platform. Release regular live videos and stories or create or join groups. Focus on starting meaningful conversations – this is what the Facebook algorithm prioritizes. Another option is a Facebook Messenger chatbot (see more on Messenger below).
A billion hours of videos are watched by YouTube users every single day. This incredible volume definitely puts YouTube near the top of the best social media platforms for marketing. You can upload videos to get subscribers and interactions by creating a YouTube channel.
YouTube is not just one of the largest social media sites but also one of the largest search engines. It is important to use SEO best practices on YouTube if you want to succeed. Companies across diverse industries can use YouTube, including the highly regulated legal, financial, and medical sectors.
Their business platform allows companies to share updates to customers about their purchases and provide customer support. With two separate apps for small businesses and enterprises (WhatsApp Business app and WhatsApp Business API, respectively), growing your business with one of the top social apps is getting more strategic and convenient. WhatsApp is great for booking businesses such as Uber, airlines, and for financial transactions. Companies with physical storefronts can also benefit with QR codes that customers can scan in stores where they can interact with you online.
Coaches, influencers, and companies selling products will find success on this image-based platform. Consumer packaged goods, fashion, cosmetics, personal care, wellness brands, and much more can elevate their brands with one of the best social media platforms for business – Instagram. If you have a younger customer base, consider that 75% of 18-to-24-year-olds use IG.
WeChat is a full-featured platform that started as a messaging app. Your customers can book you or make reservations through it. They can also shop online, so businesses that sell products can use this app too. If you want to elevate your brand in China, you can run ads or connect with WeChat-based influencers.
TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social networks of all time. It is the king/queen of social in terms of short-form video. Businesses across industries can benefit from using TikTok but note that users who are teenagers or younger make up 1 in 4 US users.
Social media marketing services
As free and easy as each platform may be, a solid social media marketing strategy requires multiple platforms and often a mix of organic and paid methods. This can be resource-heavy, and while it’s a good problem to have, the more you grow your audience using social media, the harder it will be to keep up. Social media marketing services come in all kinds of shapes and sizes to help businesses get the most out of social media. For example:
- Social media management software: Social media management platforms like HootSuite and Sprout Social use proprietary technology to help more experienced social media marketers streamline their processes and get advanced analytics.
- Social media marketing agencies: Some agencies specialize in social media marketing only, like Akvertise or even just paid social advertising only.
- Digital marketing agencies: Just as one platform doesn’t do it for social media marketing, one channel doesn’t do it for overall marketing. Digital marketing agencies can help you to incorporate social media marketing into your broader strategy that includes email, website, SEO, and more.
- Hybrid services: Some offer a mix of the above. For example, LOCALiQ’s social advertising offerings use proprietary technology to manage your strategy and allow you to focus on social alone or as part of a broader plan.
Social media for business
It’s tough for any business to admit when it’s made a mistake. It becomes much, much harder when it comes to a public arena like social media. But admitting to errors is a key part of successful social media marketing.
7 Tips for Making Social Media Work for Your Business
By this point, it’s pretty likely that your business is using social media in some capacity. If you’re like most business owners and marketers, you may already have LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter profiles, however… to really make the most of these resources, you need to use them properly. Social media can only benefit your business if you understand the nuances and audience of each platform and then develop and implement an effective strategy.
Social media is broad and diverse. In addition to some of the most obvious platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Youtube) there are countless others like Snap Chat, Tik-Tok, Instagram and Reddit, not to mention the numerous forums and websites where users engage and interact. Even for large companies with dedicated resources, attempting to keep up with all of these channels can be an overwhelming task.
Instead, focus on only those social networks that provide a good opportunity to connect with your target audience. And to that end, you need to understand your audience. The specific nature of your business and industry will have a big impact on where you’ll find your audience. Retailers that sell high-quality, visually stunning goods should obviously look to Pinterest and Instagram for their image-sharing services. If word-of-mouth is essential for your business (and it is for most, if not all), then Twitter is probably right for you. If you need to reach a professional audience, LinkedIn in all likelihood is the answer.
This doesn’t mean you need to limit yourself to a single social media platform. But by understanding your audience and focusing your efforts on the most relevant sites, you’ll be able to maximize your efficiency, and your results.
2. Talk with your audience
There’s a big difference between using social media to talk to your audience and using it to talk with your audience. When it comes to social media, you want to engage your audience. Without engagement, you’re simply talking at people. You might as well be a machine & that’s exactly how consumers will view you.
Interaction is one of the hallmarks of social media, and that’s why it’s such a valuable tool for marketing. Talking “with” your customers is the first step in getting them to talk “about” you and your company. And that’s exactly what you want: to generate conversations and attention. People love it when a business responds directly to them, and social media makes doing so easier than ever. You just need to dedicate the time and resources to do it.
Critically, you need to be willing to engage directly with your customers regardless of whether they’re offering you praise or complaining about your products and services. In fact, social media marketing can sometimes be even more valuable when it comes to how you handle negative feedback.
LinkedIn, with its 500 million members, is the quintessential professional network and one that’s not used as optimally as it could be. When I teach classes on social media, I ask “Who’s on LinkedIn?” and almost all the hands go up. But then I ask, “Who knows what they are doing on LinkedIn?” and most of the hands fall.
Most people just take it for granted and start using it in a panic when they have to change jobs. It’s often too late at that point. You are better off learning to use it when you don’t need it. LinkedIn works best when you use it as a career management tool and not just for job hunting.
Expanding Your Network and Influence
LinkedIn offers a variety of ways to expand your network by finding and connecting with relevant professionals in your industry. The key is to find, approach and connect with folks you already know, folks you’d like to know and folks you should know. You should also post your own content, showing off your expertise on a regular basis.
Learn to use to give and receive recommendations for people you have worked with in the past. You should give recommendations only to people whose work you are willing to vouch for. I’ve heard of employers who take recommendations on LinkedIn almost as seriously as ones received in more traditional ways. So if anything gives you pause, you should find a gentle way to turn down a request for a recommendation.
Building and Expanding a Business
Finding jobs is the most important part of LinkedIn for individuals, and you can use the network to track specific companies, people and job openings. Spend time getting to know, in detail, the search features that let you drill down into networks of people, companies and job postings.
When you’re looking for a new job, numbers matter, so take time to build your network. But be sure to do it in a smart way: Blasting invitations at complete strangers in the hopes of connecting with either them or people they are connected with is not a good strategy. Instead, look for legitimate connections you have with people — your alma mater, for example — and reach out with an invitation to connect that includes a personal note.
Keep in Mind
LinkedIn’s free account works well, but you may want to experiment with the premium version. It comes in many price points, starting at $29.99 a month. That’s serious money, but if you’re job hunting, it’s worth paying for the features that include the ability to email people you don’t know yet through the site, and connect in new ways with recruiters.
Read More About LinkedIn
LinkedIn, Notorious for Sending Too Many Emails, Cuts Back
Finding a Career Track in LinkedIn Profiles
New Item on the College Admission Checklist: LinkedIn Profile
Managing your social media
Social media is an ever-changing world with millions of people online every day searching for a product or business precisely like yours. Managing your social media productively allows you to be discovered by new fans or customers.
DIY social media
By using DIY social media applications, you can take control of your social media publishing without a low learning curve and with lower costs compared to the costs that may be associated with hiring a full-service social media company.
Action item: Do a web search for ‘manage social media apps’
Action item: Develop a content calendar
Action item: Create social media guidelines
Outsourced social media
If you do not want to self-manage your business’s social media, you can hire a professional social media consultant. You may also want to contact large social media agencies that can create and manage a complete social media strategy and campaign for you if it’s within your budget.
Maintaining control of your social media
Some social media platforms have different access levels that can be assigned, which may not require the password to be shared but still enable users to make changes to the account as necessary to complete their role. This feature provides a security barrier between employees and the business and reduces the risk of losing your social media account to an unhappy employee.
Tips for reducing social media security risks
Training your staff on social media
Communicating professionally on social media
Ensuring all staff understand the image and voice you want your business to portray online is vital for managing your brand. You should train your staff in the professional communication standards that you want to be used in your social media accounts.