How Many Social Networks Should Your Business Be Utilising?

social media iconsHow many social networks should your business be utilising?

It’s a good question, but unfortunately one that doesn’t have a cut and dry answer. The variables are simply too many, and, when trying to answer the question ‘How many social networks should your business be utilising?’, the rather glib answer that one has to give is this: ‘It depends on your business.’

Not too helpful, I’m sure.

So let’s begin again with a slightly easier question…

Does My Business Need Social Media?

Yes, absolutely.

It’s 2016, and social media has taken over the world. Once upon a time it was considered optional for small businesses to have a website. That is simply not true any longer. Consumers have become so internet-dependent to the point where the simple validation of a business’s very existence is confirmed via Google.

A couple of years ago I composed a very simple formula to explain this situation:

No Website = No Business

Since I initially wrote it, however, I have expanded it:

No Website = No Business

No Blog = No Website

Indeed, simply setting up a website with your company’s name on it isn’t enough – users and Google alike need a way to find it. Sure, if people know your exact URL – www.mybusiness.com – then a few of them may bother typing it in the search field and hitting ‘Enter’, but that’s not nearly enough.

No, you need a means of promoting your website, and, for SEO purposes, you also need a means of proving to Google (other search engines are available) that your website is active and provides a regular stream of fresh content for internet users. A blog delivers on both counts.

However, that’s not the end of the story. Just writing a blog – or indeed keeping your product catalogue frequently refreshed – isn’t enough either. You need to be promoting your blog and other content, and ensuring that it reaches internet users. And where can internet users be found? That’s right – on social media. Thusly, there is a third and final element to the equation:

No Website = No Business

No Blog = No Website

No Social = No Blog

And so, let’s ask and answer that simple question again just so that we’re absolutely clear: Does my business need social media?

Yes, absolutely 100%.

How Many Social Networks Should Your Business Be Utilising?

And so here we’ve come full circle.

We’ve established hopefully in no uncertain terms that the 2016 business needs social media – but how much social media, and indeed which of the hundreds and thousands of social media that there are to choose between?

As I say, there is no hard and fast answer to this question, but it can be broken down somewhat, and, actually, I can give a slightly more tangible response, and it’s this: “At least three.”

Let’s consider this.

The Three Social Networks That Every Business Needs

Facebook

This is a no-brainer.

As of the second quarter of 2016, there are now 1.71 billion active monthly users of Facebook – and it just keeps growing and growing and growing.

Put very simply, this represents an audience that is just too large to ignore. But, more importantly, through the use of Facebook Custom Audiences, you are able to target specific sections of the Facebook community that will be most interested in your business – invaluable.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is not actually a social network but a professional network. Without a presence on LinkedIn, there are certain people – i.e. potential clients – that will put a question mark over your level of professionalism.

It is here that you will give the business details of your company – and, as a business owner, it’s also vital that you have a personal profile set up on LinkedIn in addition to your business’s one, where you need to position yourself as a professional in your field.

Google+

Even if you don’t think your target audience is going to be on Google+, such is the monopoly that Google controls over the internet, you need to at least pay lip service to its own-branded social network and share your website’s content here. The reason is simple – Google likes it, and you will find your content indexed much more rapidly, and that search results are much more in your favour.

Other Networks To Consider

The above three are imperative, and no business can do without a presence on them.

What comes next, however, is a list of social networks that may be of use to you ‘depending on your business’.

Twitter

If your business in any way overlaps into the corporate or tech sphere, then Twitter is an absolute must, and will in fact almost certainly provide you with more leads than any of the three essentials above.

However, if you’ve got an estore that sells a particular line of products – jewellery, accessories, clothing, etc.  –  then Twitter might not be worth any of your marketing efforts at all, for your audience simply won’t be there.

Pinterest

Pinterest is the number one network for shoppers. Here is where you’ll need to establish yourself if you have physical products – and particularly lifestyle products – for sale that can be photographed. Indeed, Pinterest is a visual network, and so if your products perform well in front of a lens, then Pinterest is an essential addition to your social media arsenal.

Instagram

Similar to Pinterest, Instagram is a visual network. It’s quite a ‘hip’ network in fact, and so your photographs can’t only show great products, but the images themselves must be great to compete with all the professional and would-be professional photographers that frequent the feeds.

Instagram is not particularly necessary, however, if you’re selling a service – as it’s quite difficult to create appropriate content for this purpose.

Tumblr

Tumblr is a blogging platform, and so, if you’re finding it difficult enough keeping up with your website’s blog, then you are forgiven if you want to give Tumblr a miss. It can be useful, of course, but does require some effort.

There are of course hundreds of other social networks to choose from that could be worth your while, but, so long as you’ve got a presence on the top three, plus one or two others where you know you have a target audience, you should be in good stead to ensure that your social media activities confirm your blog’s presence, and therefore your website’s existence, and in turn your business’s authenticity.

John Waldron is a writer with markITwrite who regularly writes on lifestyle and technology. He is also a fiction writer who has penned a number of short stories, play scripts, and stories for children. He is the author of the foraging blog, First Time Foragers: Recipes and Stories for Beginners. He has a First-Class Honours Degree in English with Creative Writing and an MA in Professional Writing from University College Falmouth, Cornwall.

If you found this article useful please share it...