Everyone with a start-up knows that they need their business to have a social media presence. What few people know is how to use the various different platforms based on each one's strengths rather than just using them all as blanket billboards for products. Each social network, whether intended or not, skews to certain demographics and has a different use from a business perspective. The right or wrong use can have your business going viral. Here are some hints to keep you on the right side of that equation and should help you drive interest and sales.
Facebook is by far the world's largest social network and no matter what your business does, it needs to have an active presence. Facebook is perfect for getting in touch with consumers and even other businesses will check out your page if it has meaningful content.
Pros: Largest audience on the web and Facebook has added a lot of easy to use tools for businesses to see how their posts are being viewed and shared.
Cons: Facebook users are getting constantly spammed by companies advertising to them. In many cases, the user does not even see the content. Posts need to be meaningful, interesting and give the user a reason to share it with their network.
Twitter even after all these years is the home of the short and snappy one liner. If you have a new product or are hosting a big sales event, you need to have some reach on Twitter.
Pros: Word travels fast on Twitter, if you want to put something on sale to consumers for a short period there is no better platform. If you want to bring together a group of businesses for meeting, Twitter will let them know.
Cons: It is actually quite hard to get noticed. Things move fast on Twitter so if you want to be followed you have to put some thought into your tweets.
The search giant's answer to social media is a must for anyone whose business is IT or social media focused.
Pros: Clean easy to use platform for businesses with an IT focused readership. This is a great place to network and build your brand.
Cons: If your business is a consumer product, the use case for Google+ as a marketing venue is less clear.
LinkedIn is a social network for business professionals, but that doesn't mean that it can't be a great tool for your start-up.
Pros: LinkedIn gives a company access to a vast assortment of potential employees and at the same time provides a quality forum to build a brand presence among like-minded professionals.
Cons: LinkedIn is not a site for building consumer sales or letting people know of upcoming company events. Working around these confines, it is still a necessary platform for any start-up.
Pinterest is an image based social network which focuses on consumable goods. It is a great place to be if your company is making a product that looks great.
Pro: Great place to sell goods and build brand identity.
Cons: Not a solid venue for building sales to business.
Instagram is sort of a blend of Pinterest and Twitter. This means that it is a perfect site for showing off a product, but like Twitter you have to be focused and interesting in what you post. The user base for Instagram is younger which requires a business to tailor their message for these demographics.
Pros: Great site for sharing pictures of products and has a younger user base which is great for sales of consumables.
Cons: Instagram users are fickle, you have to put some thought into your photos and caption or your business could end up speaking to no one.
It is imperative to have a well thought our social media plan for your start-up. You need to ensure that when adding your business to a new site, you have a clear understanding of what the site can do for you, how it works and that you can keep the posts fresh and on topic. Once you have the six listed here under your belt you may want to spread to some of the other options out there like Vine or even MySpace. If you keep in mind that each platform has its own purpose and culture, your business will be starting out on the right foot.