Starter Marketing 101: Your New Business Needs Social Media

Why you should get on social media - and more importantly, WHERE to get on social media

Andrew Fisher Andrew Fisher
Jan 26 · 5 min read
Businesses need likes, too.
The why is the easy part: three quarters of US adults use social media - that’s more than one hundred and fifty million people - just in the U.S.!

Need a few more reasons? Here ya go! 
1. Most social media platforms are free to use.
2. It only takes a few minutes to set up an account on most platforms.
3. Even a basic presence on social media - like your company’s name, logo, and contact information - build customer confidence in your brand.

Clearly, your business needs to be on social media. But what may not be so clear is which platforms you should be on. After all, there are hundreds of platforms, all with different interfaces, user bases, and benefits. And while you might be tempted to create an account on every platform you can find, that strategy probably isn’t the best use of your time or resources.

Why not join every social media site out there?


Like most things in business, the more you put in to social media, the more you’ll get out of it.

Doing social media right takes time. Posting and managing content and communications require your attention, and as a new business owner, you only have so much attention to go around. So it’s important to pick which platforms will get you the best return on the time you devote to them.

Doing social media right takes money. Yes, creating accounts at most sites is free. But getting customer interactions that turn into sales - that’s not always free. 

Social media sites generally make money from advertisers. Facebook isn’t just going to show your promotional content to its 2.7 billion users - no matter how awesome it is. In most cases, to effectively reach your intended audience, you’re going to need to pay for the privilege. Where you spend your social media marketing budget is going to require some planning, and smart marketing also requires some adjustment of your strategy as you learn what works - and what doesn’t.

So, which social media platforms should your business be on?


Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Every business should be on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. That’s right, every business.

- Facebook has billions of users and it’s free to create a business page. If you don't have at least a basic business page on Facebook, you’re missing an easy chance to build brand credibility.
- Twitter is a little more intellectual than Facebook, and not quite as flexible as Facebook when it comes to content, but with 330 million active monthly users, it’s too big to ignore for any business.
- LinkedIn is the social media platform that is built for the professional and business world. It’s easy to create a business profile, and having a LinkedIn business profile - particularly if it’s connected to your own personal LinkedIn profile - creates a professional, credible image of your company, no matter how new or small your business is.

YouTube. You already know YouTube: it’s the world’s second-largest social media platform with almost 2 billion monthly active users. It’s all about the videos. Your business should be on YouTube if:
- Your business has any kind of video content or a product that shows well with a video demo, AND
- You have the time and skills to make reasonably well-produced videos with a professional look and feel.

Reddit and Medium. Reddit calls itself “the front page of the internet”. It’s a place where people share questions, answers, videos and images on every imaginable topic. With 430 million monthly active users, there are a lot of topics covered, and you can bet that whatever your business does, there’s a “subreddit” devoted to that topic. Medium is a popular site for sharing longer form blog posts. Your business should be on Reddit and Medium if:
- You’re competing in an industry (consulting, software, R&D) whose customers are making decisions based on more “intellectual” or creative content, or
- It will be helpful in establishing your business if you can become a “thought leader” in your industry.

Instagram and Pinterest. Instagram (1 billion monthly users, owned by Facebook) and Pinterest (322 million monthly users) are what you might call the aesthetic platforms. Both are primarily photo sharing services
Your business should be on Instagram and Pinterest if:
-
Your product or service lends itself to a visual medium (graphic designer, landscaper, artist, web designer)

Yelp. Yelp is a restaurant- and service business-focused review website that also offers targeted local advertising - not exactly typical social media, but a necessary account for certain types of business. Yelp boasts 178 million monthly users. Your business should be on Yelp if:
- You’re a local restaurant or food service business; or
- You’re a retail service or trade business (plumbing/electrical/HVAC, landscaping, carpet cleaning, auto mechanic, etc.).

Angie’s List, Houzz, HomeAdvisor, Porch. These four are home improvement and contracting-focused review and recommendation sites. While not nearly as big as the Facebooks and Twitters of the world, they do benefit from being hyper focused on one market segment: home improvement and contracting. They differ from each other in whether they charge the business or customer to use their services. You should be on Angie’s List, Houzz, HomeAdvisor and/or Porch if:
- You’re a home improvement or home maintenance contractor.

TikTok and Snapchat. We’d be remiss if we didn’t at least mention TikTok (800 million monthly active users, 41% of whom are aged 16-24), the fast-growing music video creation and sharing app, and Snapchat (238 million daily users), the slightly less popular app for sharing photos and videos which disappear after a few seconds. Both are primarily visual platforms that are most popular with younger users. You should be on TikTok and Snapchat if:
- Your product or service comes across well in a visual format, and
- Your customer demographic skews quite young (teens to college-aged).


Ok you’re convinced, you’re ready to get your business started with social media. How do you go about getting started? Luckily for you, the big platforms are all happy to help you. And maybe more importantly, Startomatic is here to make it really, really easy. Startomatic subscribers have access to our Starter Guides and Starter Tools that are specifically geared toward helping new businesses get branded and get online. Check out how Startomatic can help your new business, here.
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