• Michael Weinberg

Why Your Business Belongs on Social Media

Gone are the days when word of mouth, sponsored events and newspaper display ads were the only way to get your business’s name out there. With billions of customers on social media today, your business can benefit even more in the digital world. If you’re a business owner looking to be persuaded to join social media, or if you want to know the best social media platform to join for your business, keep reading.

Why does my business need social media?

According to Hootsuite, nearly 4.2 billion users are on social media as of January 2021. That’s over half of the world’s population. If it hasn’t already, your business should join the majority of the planet and create a social media presence.

With no shortage of people on social media, your target market will surely be there as well. Marketing to them through social media shows that your business can adapt with the times. The best marketers reach their audiences where conversations are already happening: Today, that is on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Social media isn’t just a way for people to waste time and share memes. It’s the new language of communication, a language that all businesses should learn to speak.

And remember, the internet and social media are forever married. About a third of American consumers search for local businesses on the internet on a daily basis. Use keywords surrounding your business on your website and on your social media profiles. This way, when users find your business’s website or search results, your social media pages should be a few clicks away. It’s also important to link all your social media pages to your website and to link your website to all your social media. Integrate your digital presence to make it easier for customers to find your business.

What social media networks should my business join?

Restaurants, retailers, contractors, dealerships—no matter the industry, your business can benefit from forming a deep relationship with the local community. Posting photos of products, personality of employees and satisfaction of customers creates a reputation and trust before a potential customer even walks through your door.

But not every industry should be using every social media platform. For example, restaurants will benefit from Instagram. The food industry offers plenty of aesthetically pleasing dishes and smiling customers. Communicating through images can invite hungry Instagram users on their lunch break. An exterminator, bank or appliance repair business, on the other hand, may not benefit as much from a visuals-oriented platform. Such businesses could benefit more from Twitter or Facebook, where more informational posts are accepted and welcomed. These platforms are more about making connections, though they do offer the capability of both written and visual content.

LinkedIn may be a suitable platform for your business if you have an excess of research that you want the world to know or if you are looking to make professional connections within an industry. Click here for content ideas for LinkedIn.

You’ll hear that video is much more engaging than written text and static images on the internet. If your business could benefit from longer videos featuring tours, information, product demonstrations and more, YouTube may be a suitable platform. When videos are useful and relevant, users can find them through related Google searches for years to come. Click here for more reasons why YouTube could work for you.

Some examples of businesses’ social media:

Sushi restaurant Ishilima's Instagram post:

Tweet by multinational financial services company Wells Fargo:

As you can see, where the sushi restaurant lacks (text), it makes up for in attractive visuals of its food. And where the bank lacks (engaging photos), it makes up for in relevant information about its branches’ hours.

So, what can I do right now?

If you are brand-new to the world of social media, follow these steps from 1). If you’ve already made a profile, skip to step 5).

  1. Determine whether your business could create more visually appealing content or more informational content.

  2. Research your target audience to see what conversations they are having and where on social media.

  3. Choose a popular social media platform from the ones I discussed in the previous section. Base this on your research from step 2), even if it goes against what you want to do. For example, even if you think your business is better off posting on Instagram because you prefer visuals, you must meet your audience where it’s at.

  4. Experiment on your chosen platform, making sure you understand the layout, terminology and functions. E.g., know the difference between “stories” and “fleets.” (Both are temporary posts that vanish after 24 hours, but the first is on Instagram, the second is on Twitter.)

  5. Build your social media profile. Include a recognizable logo as the profile picture, your business’s name, a short bio and anything else you're able to include, like your website URL.

  6. Determine how many times a week you want to post. Then, plan out your social media content for the next couple of weeks or the month. Repeat at the end of the cycle!

  7. Start following, subscribing and adding people you know.

  8. Don’t be afraid to explore. Many platforms, like Instagram and Twitter, have specific pages for viewing profiles and pages you don’t follow.

  9. Take photos and videos of shareable subjects, such as product launches, events or happy customers.

  10. Maintain an active and consistent account by posting regularly and interacting with other users.

Here are just a few local Gainesville business social media pages to explore:

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