The proliferation of social media sites has brought a worldwide market to even the smallest of businesses. More than half (56%) of American adults have at least one social media account, according to a recent study by Edison Research. And, it’s not just teens and young adults that are sharing their favorite products and posting their thoughts via Facebook, Twitter and the like. The same study found that nearly half of Americans age 45 to 54 have a profile on at least one social media site.
Social media beyond Facebook and Twitter
Social media has, in many marketing circles, become equated with Facebook and Twitter. Certainly Facebook’s more than one billion registered users and Twitter’s more than 500 million registered users are difficult to ignore. However, these two social media powerhouses aren’t the only sites you should be including in your online marketing plan. In fact, there are currently more than 400 social media sites, something aimed at virtually every niche market, and more are added each month. Below are just a few additional sites you should consider for your marketing efforts:
1. Pinterest. The fastest growing social media site in history, Pinterest currently has about 70 million registered users, the vast majority (83%) of whom are women. This virtual bulletin board is a natural marketing tool for companies who offer products or services in home decor, cooking, children’s items and other industries where women are the primary buyers. Use this site effectively by creating company bulletin board highlighting uses for your products, customer testimonials and/or new products in the pipeline.
2. LinkedIn. If you offer a business-to-business product or service, LinkedIn offers an opportunity to connect directly with decision makers without your marketing message getting lost among thousands of Facebook posts. This networking site has more than 250 million members and allows you to identify CEOs, purchasing managers and other business professionals and send your message directly to them.
3. GoodReads. GoodReads is one of dozens of niche social media sites designed for enthusiasts of a particular hobby or sport (in this case reading.) Everyone on GoodReads likes to read, so if you sell books, you don’t waste your marketing time and money with people who haven’t bought a book in ten years. This particular site allows authors to chat directly with users, allows publishers to announce new releases to users based on their past reading habits and gives authors and publishers alike the opportunity to offer giveaways to garner interest in their new title. Similar sites exist for sewing and needlework (Ravelry), music (Buzznet) and amateur sports (Athlinks), just to name a few.
4. Google+. Although Google+ is, admittedly, not the easiest site to navigate, it’s wise not to ignore anything from the search engine giant. Google has so many resources behind it, that when they finally get their social media presence right, they are sure to be a force to be reckoned with.
Social media belongs in any small business marketing plan. However, don’t just put up a Facebook page and forget about it. There are many more opportunities for interacting with your present and future customers beyond the “likes” and the “tweets.”