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Small Business Owner's Guide: The Best Social Media Programs for Business

Updated on October 27, 2012
What's the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution? Social Media
What's the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution? Social Media | Source

"Why is the Internet out to kill my business?"

Small business owners who didn't grow up with programs like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and the rest often feel like the Internet is damning their new business from the get-go.

Without these programs, businesses lose potential customers. Even worse, a poor social media presence can turn people away from your business before they even get to know you!

When done right, social media can boost your business, improve customer satisfaction, and create a solid brand identity across the web.

1. Facebook

Even if you know nothing about social media, you know about Facebook.

If you own a business, you need to be on Facebook, like, yesterday.

Create a Facebook Page for your business. Add a profile picture of you or your brand's logo. Upload a cover photo with a picture of your product or the nature of your service (don't add company information in the cover photo; that's against Facebook's rules).

It is okay to start off small! In fact, everyone does. Sure, it takes time to learn how to write a good status update that gets people talking and participating, but you will get the hang of it soon enough.

People want to feel connected to other people, not brands. Share pictures, stories, and other information about what got you here or where you're going. People will keep coming back for more!

Who needs Facebook?

Everyone. Facebook is non-negotiable in terms of social media.

Feed us your brain!

Which social media sites do you use on a regular basis?

See results

2. Twitter

Oh Twitter, the bane of small business owners!

I'm not sure what it is, but small business owners either flock to Twitter or pretend it doesn't exist at all.

Maybe it's the 140 characters, hashtags, or trending topics.

Really, Twitter is a way of connecting with people in a less personal way than Facebook. You can reach out to other businesses, including mega corporations, to create a traceable link and draw in traffic. It connects people from all walks of life in real-time blurbs of text!

Twitter is incredibly useful, but is not necessary for many people. For the right people, Twitter can be an amazing powerhouse. If you're not sure what you're doing, it can be a waste of time until you get the hang of it.

Who needs Twitter?

Small business owners or nonprofit organizations who can share large quantities of content on a daily basis (4-10 updates a day).

3. Google Plus

People have been proclaiming Google Plus dead since its inception, yet it still exists and continues to grow every day.

Although it does not have the quantity of traffic of Facebook or Twitter, Google Plus is still highly useful to the small business owner.

Why? It's connected to your Google account, which means it's already in the one of the most common web languages: Googlese.

Plus, it lets you link up with a wide variety of people in the vein of Twitter, but with Facebook-like tools.

For beginners, feel free to post new articles and activities on both Facebook and Google Plus until you learn which posts do better where.

Who needs Google Plus?

Those who like Twitter, but want more pictures. Google-lovers. Business owners who want to create a close-knit community of followers, and host frequent events.

4. LinkedIn

Like Facebook, LinkedIn is a required social network for everyone!

Essentially, LinkedIn functions as an online professional networking community. Your profile is a digital resume, and you can hunt for new clients or jobs through the people you know.

There are even Groups that help you learn more skills in your trade or niche. Join the conversation with other experts!

One of the best features: Recommendations. Your former or current employers can write a recommendation for you that anyone can see.

Who needs LinkedIn?

The unemployed; new business owners trying to break into a new market or drum up business through previous networking; employers seeking employees; EVERYONE

Learn How to Use LinkedIn Through YouTube

5. YouTube

YouTube is a tricky social networking service. Did you know it is the second largest search engine in the world after Google?

Everyone uses YouTube, yet many people neglect to use it for their own business. Whether they're camera-shy or unsure of what to say, they lose an incredible opportunity.

If you have a product to demonstrate or can provide professional tips for other people in the field, you'll increase your traffic while proving your expertise.

You can do it! If your computer has a webcam or you have a camera with a record option, you can make a video.

Really, everyone would benefit from YouTube! If you're aiming to increase your web presence, you really should try to use it as often as possible. Plus, it adds a personal face to a business.

Who needs YouTube?

Bloggers, people with their own websites, anyone trying to prove they're an expert in a tough market (local or professional)

6. Pinterest

Pinterest is an image-sharing site that's reached incredible popularity in the past year. It's perfect for bloggers or organizations who have a lot of pictures to share. If you're in a really technical field, it might not be the perfect place for you.

Now, if you're a designer, chef, or some other creative type, it is perfect for you! Upload and share your own pictures, while also looking for other beautiful and intriguing pictures from others.

Really, anyone could use Pinterest. There are pictures for every kind of business or philosophy out there.

The "masculine" alternative to Pinterest: Gentlemint.

Who needs Pinterest?

People with strong social or visual emphases in their business model, those with time to search for images to share and comment on

Other Programs

The 6 sites discussed above are nowhere near the complete picture of social media out there on the web. There are so many sites and programs to use. Consider checking out a few of these others:

  1. Reddit
  2. Yelp (crucial for restaurants, storefronts, and any business with physical location)
  3. Flickr
  4. Picasa
  5. StumbleUpon
  6. Technorati
  7. Bit.ly
  8. Wordpress.com
  9. Vimeo


"Wait! I still don't get it!"

If you're still struggling to understand the value of social media or how to take advantage of it, you might want to hire a social media manager or social media coordinator.

Prices vary depending on the professional, but you can hire someone who both understands and enjoys social media to market and propel your business to the next step.

In fact, I'm a Social Media Manager for several agencies! Visit my HubPages profile for more information.

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    • rmcleve profile image
      Author

      Rachael Cleveland 4 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      Thank you so much, billybuc! Social media is a surprisingly troublesome gig, but taking baby steps and directing your attention towards the best avenues is crucial. As always, thanks for wonderful insight! :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well I am happy to report that I use them all, plus you gave me a couple more to try right at the bottom of your hub! You speak the truth and if there is anyone out there considering a home business, I hope they pay attention to this hub! Well done!

    • Astra Nomik profile image

      Cathy Nerujen 4 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space

      Once a Linked In personal Profile is fully filled out, it becomes visible to search engines, and so do all the associated links you have in there. Linked in is marvelous, and writers are following me from there to Hub Pages. That is because Professionals use it. Cheeky Girl, the hubber I live with said that even Paul Edmondson the Owner of Hub pages has a profile on Linked In.

      Twitter has also blossomed for me. Tweeting about the things I have an interest in, mainly writing and my creative writing niche... gets me followers, and every new hub I create is tweeted to hundreds of readers who follow what I am about.

      Facebook is more scattered as not so many people on it are professionals. Facebook is good for general Social networking. I use it often.

      The importance of social media can't be stressed enough. But you have done a terrific job here with all the best media places to hang out and be not only seen, but read.

      If you have a name, and however weird it sounds, if it is on the most important social media, then people will recognize it. I love it when something I tweet - ends up being retweeted by another person to 50,000 of his followers. You can see the possibilities in Social media. Same with Pinterest.

      Great hub. I enjoyed this, now I'm tweeting it. Thank you. :)