Beyond Facebook: Which Social Media Site Is Best for Your Business?

My take on some of the other social media tools out there that small-business owners might want to take advantage of:

1) Pinterest
The mostly female users of this photo-sharing website create digital bulletin boards of their own images and “repin” and “like” images from other users. If your product or service lends itself to visual presentation – original artwork such as murals, close-ups of nail art at a beauty salon, interior design photos, anything related to weddings – Pinterest could be a useful tool to drive business to your website. If you use an outside company for monthly or quarterly updates to your website, Pinterest lets you keep new examples of your work in front of fans and customers daily. This keeps visibility high on a small-business budget.

2) Twitter
I think this social media platform is the easiest to set up and use. Establish an account in minutes and start “tweeting” – posting messages of 140 characters or less. Any and every demographic, interest, and business is represented on Twitter. Keep in mind though: As with all small-business use of social media, the point is not simply to amass the most followers. It is to send as many people as possible to your website and/or brick-and-mortar business. Conversing with followers or surveying their opinions is simple on Twitter – but good public interaction is pointless if you’re not (eventually) seeing a rise in sales or real-world community visibility.

3) LinkedIn
This is a business social networking site, not a social social networking site like Facebook. I know small-business owners who opened LinkedIn accounts after their Facebook pages got overrun with friend requests from long-lost relatives and grade-school classmates. Easier to use than Facebook and without the near-constant updates, LinkedIn is a good choice if your social media team consists of… just you. Much like a vibrant Goldstar group, LinkedIn lets you connect with and learn from others in your field and interact with possible B2B clients.