According to a 2020 report on internet use furnished by Pew Research Center, 73% of adults in the U.S. use social media. With such a significant portion of the country online and interacting, it’s imperative for businesses to market their products and services through social networks.
For a home business owner, however, social marketing can be overwhelming, considering the sheer amount of networks available. That’s why it’s important to optimize your marketing efforts by focusing on consistent posts to one or two relevant platforms. To find out which platforms best fit your marketing goals, it’s important to first look at the major social networks that are attracting audiences.
The Key Social Platforms for Businesses
There are a vast number of social platforms that a business can use to boost its sales—but it doesn't need to have a presence on every one of them to reach its goals. Each platform has a specific content type, purpose, and audience, and six stand out as the most viable for businesses to select from.
Facebook remains one of the most widely used social platforms—particularly by Millennials and Gen Xers. For business owners, meanwhile, this social network provides opportunities for content creation, web traffic generation, and advertising. Using Facebook’s digital ad platform, businesses can directly target those who are most likely willing and ready to purchase their products or services. In addition, Facebook allows for e-commerce integration and business transactions through its Marketplace service.
Businesses with a strong visual appeal can achieve organic growth (increasing output and sales through their own resources) on Instagram. The Facebook-owned platform creates the space for consumers to see products before purchasing, and Instagram Stories is ideal for businesses that want to add a human touch to their marketing. In addition, one of the powers of Instagram lies in hashtags, which can help cultivate a consistent theme and brand voice.
TikTok is a newer platform that has achieved mass appeal among younger, highly engaged generations with its virality. Business owners can use TikTok to hone in on their niche and create content that aims to instruct and empower an audience that continues to expand beyond its initial teen and Gen Z core.
Like Facebook, YouTube continues to be one of the world’s most popular social platforms, and has a potential advertising reach in the billions. With this platform, business owners can share longer-form videos to inform on relevant topics, and can create more search engine optimization (SEO)-focused content by adding keywords in titles, descriptions, and video tags—in turn, driving organic social media sales.
Pinterest is one of the most popular social platforms in the U.S. and a go-to vision board creator for homeowners, chefs, brides-to-be, and fashionistas. Brands that cater to these audiences and industries can succeed on Pinterest by creating boards organized under themes.
Twitter is a microblogging platform that makes it easy to keep up with customers in real time. Brands build engaged Twitter audiences by posting short, shareable pieces of content in the form of video, images, or text in under 280 characters. Like with Instagram, businesses can use hashtags on Twitter to create brand awareness, grow their reach, get more engagement, and attract more followers.
Pick one or two platforms to use for social marketing that fit your business's products and objectives. Have an appealing product? Go for Instagram, Pinterest, or TikTok. Selling a service? Try Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter.
The Pros and Cons of Using Social Media for Business
- Grows engaged consumers.
- Free marketing resource.
- Drives awareness and sales.
- Can be time-consuming.
- May lose track of posting.
- Requires careful maintenance of brand.
Pros of Using Social Media for Business Explained
- Grows engaged consumers: A brand with a social presence meets consumers where they are (i.e., online) and connects with them in a relatable manner. Posting shareable content increases the ability to reach undiscovered customers and new audiences.
- Free marketing resource: Social media networks are essentially free resources for businesses looking to share their products widely. Without running paid advertisements, business owners can create a social media sales strategy that costs $0 to increase their audience.
- Drives awareness and sales: Platforms can help businesses achieve both awareness and revenue goals when used effectively. Content creation builds brand authority, whereas compelling calls to action (CTAs) drive sales.
Cons of Using Social Media for Business Explained
- Can be time-consuming: Social media marketing may require you to spend as much time as possible creating interesting, engaging content to satisfy your existing audience and attract new users. This means you’ll have to schedule posts on a daily or weekly basis at least, and track them to ensure efficiency.
- May lose track of posting: Perhaps the most detrimental thing to do when using social media is to ignore or deprioritize posting. A subpar social presence can deter potential consumers who use social media to make purchasing decisions and, in turn, lead them to a competitor.
- Requires careful maintenance of brand: Social networks are the consumer-facing carriers of a business's brand and message, which can mean being scrutinized by millions of social users. Brands must carefully build their voice and have a crisis management plan if and when criticism arises.
How to Promote Your Home Business With Social Media
Social media networks can be a highly beneficial outlet for brand awareness and sales. Strategies for social media can be slimmed down to the most important actions. The tips below can help you make the most of your selected platform.
Post With Consistency in Mind
When it comes to social media for business, posting with regular frequency is an essential method of reaching current and new consumers. According to research from nonprofit business mentorship organization SCORE, 77% of small businesses in the U.S alone use social media to facilitate marketing and sales. So if you’re posting inconsistently in an oversaturated landscape, your content may reach very few users, and thus have little impact on your audience and revenue growth.
Strive to Create Conversation
The power to boost sales through social platforms is derived from the relationships fostered by engagement and conversation around posts. Businesses that build an external brand voice and create a dialogue appear more accessible to consumers than those without a prominent, reliable social presence.
Social content should speak to and answer a consumer's day-to-day challenges, being a relatable and trustworthy source of inspiration and support.
Don’t Rely Solely on Paid Growth
Paid advertising is one method of leveraging social media for business, but it’s not the only way to grow. A majority of a business’s social activities should be focused on organic growth, which is driven by posting original content, engaging with customers, and occasionally resharing others’ interesting, relevant posts. A business's main social profile needs to feature thoughtful, regular content; paid ads can direct users to this page to highlight its presence.
Lean Into Conversation and Shareability
There are millions of potential customers communicating on social networks each and every day—and often, for hours at a time. A business can speak to them by leaning into their conversations and sharing its takes (judiciously) on relevant topics. Further, posting user-generated content adds a personable touch to marketing efforts.
The Bottom Line
Using social media for business comes down to outlining your social goals, picking one or two platforms, and posting consistently to build your brand's presence. Content should speak to consumers and showcase products as the perfect fit to fulfill their needs. Choosing the platforms that best fit your business and following the guidelines provided could mean the difference between losing a sale and gaining a new customer.