Do you have any social media accounts for your business? Which ones do you use? For most businesses, it’s worth maintaining at least one social media account.
However, depending on what your business does and sells, different social media platforms offer specific benefits and uses.
The most popular social media network in 2021 is Facebook. Instagram is fifth. Twitter is 16th, and LinkedIn comes somewhere behind it.
For context, Facebook boasts some 2.7 billion active users, and Twitter boasts 396 million. Those are not numbers you can ignore. LinkedIn, though it ranks a bit behind, still has 310 million monthly active users.
In the past, IndoorMedia has covered how to utilize other social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Being two of the most popular platforms, they’re the best choice for most businesses looking to maintain a social media presence.
That said, your business might do well on other platforms. Read on to learn what Twitter and LinkedIn mean for small businesses.
Twitter for Small Businesses
What is Twitter? Basically, it allows users to write posts of up to 280 characters, adding up to four images. Users view the tweets of the accounts they follow in a vertical feed, just like any other social media platform. However, that feed isn’t strictly sorted in chronological order. Users can promote tweets, businesses can run ads, and hashtags see plenty of use. Images are important but nowhere near as important as they are on Instagram, where they’re required for every post.
Whether or not Twitter is helpful for a small business depends on your industry, your audience makeup, and the resources you have available to you. For example, if you run a dry cleaning business, Twitter probably isn’t for you unless your specific customer base is highly plugged in; let’s say your business is situated in a bustling area of a modern city. But then, it might be helpful to maintain a Twitter account to post updates on hours, services, and other information that your customers might need to see.
Twitter is a very text-heavy, conversational platform. For example, you can “quote Tweet” another user’s Tweet, which means their original message will show up in a little box beneath your new Tweet when other users see it on their feed. In addition, on any public Tweet, a user can like, retweet, reply, or quote Tweet.
Due to the conversational nature of the platform, you need to have a good brand voice to be successful. Major companies like McDonald’s and Wendy’s tend to adopt a young, internet-savvy voice. Unfortunately, sometimes that backfires, with users making fun of them.
Controversy does well on Twitter, though — when McDonald’s posts a Tweet, people often make fun of it, piling on and ultimately giving it a lot of engagement, which is great for McDonald’s.
The IndoorMedia verdict is that most small businesses do not need to use Twitter. If you have a dialed-in brand voice, you enjoy engaging directly with your audience, and you have textual information relevant to your business that needs frequent posting, sure, give it a try. You can always stop using the platform if you do not see any engagement.
LinkedIn for Small Businesses
LinkedIn has a much more specific audience than Twitter. It was founded in 2002 and was meant to be a sort of digital Rolodex. LinkedIn remains a venue for professionals to connect with companies and other professionals. A user’s LinkedIn profile essentially looks like a more fleshed-out resume. A LinkedIn feed is a little different from a Facebook feed, a semi-chronological column of organic posts and advertisements.
Users can hunt for and apply to jobs within LinkedIn and introduce themselves and chat with other professionals, plus stay updated on different businesses by following business pages. So it’s a highly qualified and engaged audience. However, that doesn’t mean it’s great for every small business.
A restaurant, an auto shop, or a salon has little need to create and manage a LinkedIn account. Instead, the type of business LinkedIn caters is generally more modern or professional-service oriented — think design firms, software companies, direct to consumer eCommerce companies. Basically, organizations that have dedicated marketing departments. For an example of what a great LinkedIn business page looks like, click here.
LinkedIn offers affordable advertising, so if the kinds of people on the platform (generally white-collar professionals) are the people you want to know about your business, definitely add that to your marketing strategy.
Unless you need to network with other professionals across the globe, or your business caters specifically to other businesses, or you want to hire qualified professionals, you don’t need a LinkedIn. That said, it can’t hurt to create an account and see if it works for you!
How to Advertise a Small Business
IndoorMedia does not recommend Twitter for most small businesses and only recommends LinkedIn for businesses with a specific professional audience. Instagram and Facebook are much more relevant in most cases. Of course, social media and online advertising should only ever be one part of your greater advertising strategy.
Traditional advertising is a necessity if your business deals in physical, face-to-face goods and services (food, salon services, auto repairs, etc.). Try billboard advertising. Better yet, try grocery store advertising. Also known as in-store supermarket advertising, this involves services like Cartvertising. These are the ads you see actually on a shopping cart in a grocery store.
Shopping cart advertising rates are very affordable and are sure to be seen by people with money to spend. People go grocery shopping frequently, often over once a week.
Don’t waste your time with Twitter and LinkedIn if you have limited marketing resources. Instead, stick to traditional advertising channels, a dedicated business website, Instagram and Facebook, and Yelp. The most important thing is always to prioritize your service. Advertising draws people in, but what keeps them coming back is the quality of the business!