The 9 Best Social Media Sites for Entrepreneurs
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If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s probably beneficial for you to be on social media and follow some of the most popular social sites. The first social media site, Six Degrees, was established in 1997 and lasted until 2001. From Myspace to Twitter to Facebook and everything after, social media has played a huge role in connecting people in our society.
Within recent years, business owners have really been cashing in on the benefits of having a social media presence and keeping up with the popular platforms. Keep reading to find out why and how.
Why follow social media sites?
Social media is especially important to small businesses and entrepreneurs because signing up is usually free and it can be an exceptional marketing tool. Because so many people are active on social media, you can use various different social platforms to get your business in front of users who might become customers or clients.
“I have had many different successful startups and businesses over the last decade and social media has become much more widely used in the B2B space than it once had,” John Rampton, serial entrepreneur and founder of Calendar, a website focused on smart time management.
“Social media has expanded to adopt social payments, which offers a way to enhance customer experiences and engage with them on social media. My social media strategy includes a content calendar for each channel by quarter that provides a way to ensure we are focused on regular content distribution that keeps our followers coming back again and again to interact with us,” Rampton said.
Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for several years, using social media and following social media trends can be a huge asset to your business. Some social sites study users’ habits and interactions and can place your content directly in front of your prospects. Others allow you to grow a loyal band of followers and position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
Below are nine top social media sites to review. Explore what they are why you should consider using them.
The top social media sites
Facebook is one of the most popular social media networks these days, and it has more than 2 billion users. Launched in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook has forever changed the internet and opened many doors for entrepreneurs to market their businesses to more people.
For starters, Facebook allows you to create a free business page to post your news, content, upcoming events, etc. The content on this platform is easily shareable and you can even schedule your posts and use the Page Insights feature to gain more information about your audience and how it’s engaging with your content.
One of the best features that Facebook offers business owners is advertising. Facebook often collects data on its users regarding their interests and demographics. That way, you can invest in Facebook ads and target specific Facebook users.
Recently, Facebook launched its Messenger Ads service, which allows businesses to extend their reach by creating ads that the Facebook Messenger app can deliver straight to users. People and businesses exchange approximately 2 billion messages each day, so this could be a great marketing strategy for entrepreneurs.
Instagram is a social media platform based on visuals. Users upload images or add captions to share content with their followers. Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, but the platform still functions the same.
Instagram is a good social platform for entrepreneurs who are selling products or have a transition business, such as coaching or selling courses. Companies also pay influencers who have large followings to mention their products and services. The most popular posts on Instagram are lifestyle images, inspirational quotes, product teasers, behind-the-scenes shot, and authentic, candid images.
Twitter has been around since March 2006. Users post short, 140-character messages called tweets. Last year, Twitter expanded its tweet limit to 280-characters.
Twitter has trending news sections that can be a great place to share news about your business or check on breaking updates in your industry. Twitter basically created the hashtag, which is a word or phrase you use to identify messages on a specific topic. Entrepreneurs can use hashtags in their tweets to help other users identify their profiles, or they can use Twitter to better communicate with their audience and provide timely customer service.
“Twitter is my favorite social platform because provides the best way to connect with other entrepreneurs and my business target audience,” Rampton said. “It’s a channel where entrepreneurs are engaged with each other and offers a way for me to share relevant content that they can use.”
Pinterest was founded in 2010 and has 200 million monthly active users as of September 2017.
Like Instagram, Pinterest is a social media platform that’s primarily based on visuals. People create Pins, which are often images that link to a website or blog post.
Users categorize their favorite Pins by using boards to save the information for later. Entrepreneurs can use Pinterest to upload Pins that will lead users to click on their websites or blog posts. Once users click to your site, you can prompt them to join your email list or browse your website to learn more about your products and services.
YouTube is an American-based, video sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, Calif. You’ve probably heard of YouTube, but it’s so much more than just cat videos and video game tutorials.
Business owners can use YouTube to produce video content for their audiences — and they can include clear calls to action. Whether you want to share some valuable information, talk about a product or run a video interview series, YouTube is the best free platform to help you do it.
Some people in your audience might prefer video content over written content, so being active on YouTube can help you expand your reach. And, when your videos get more views, you can eventually join the YouTube ads partner network and make money by allowing Google to place ads in your videos.
Snapchat was founded in September 2011 — it enables you to post images and short videos often referred to as “snaps.” You can use different filters for your snaps, follow people and gain new followers. Whatever you post on your feed, however, disappears within 24 hours, so it’s not ideal for every business to use.
Most Snapchat users are under 34, so you have to make sure you have a clear target audience. Consider using Snapchat ads or building up a following for your business by posting entertaining and enlightening stories that push engagement.
LinkedIn, a social network for professionals, is a great way to build your network or find ideal team members or partnerships for your business. Your LinkedIn profile can serve as your online resume, and you can even create a company page for your business. LinkedIn also offers ad opportunities and lead generation features, plus it enables you to sync contacts and your customer relationship management (CRM) system, such as Salesforce.
Alignable is a social site that allows small business owners to build trusted relationships with each other online and generate referrals. As an entrepreneur, you probably already realize the significance that word-of-mouth referrals can play in the success of your business.
Alignable is great for local businesses looking to gain leads and referrals from others in their area. There is a search function on the site to locate businesses near you so you can refer each other. Alignable also connects with LinkedIn, so you can share connections across both platforms.
Does your business rely on partnerships or having a variety of business contacts? Ryze is an older, professional networking site founded in 2001. Today it has more than 500,000 members worldwide.
Ryze offers free and paid memberships. Members can connect with more than 1 million member organizations from around the world; set up a free networking homepage; receive practical advice, tips and resources from people in different industries; and make quality business contacts.
The bottom line
If you’re not keeping up with social media for your business, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunity. Social sites are free tools that enable you to connect with your audience and learn more about its needs to better serve and market to it.
It’s probably not the best idea for a business owner to follow every social media site, especially if your audience isn’t there. Find out where your target audience is spending its time and investigate those platforms.