The purpose of social media for businesses, including startups, is to attract, engage and retain customers. Every business, especially the beginners, should consider establishing their presence on social media platforms as a part of their marketing strategy. That, of course, depends on what type of business you plan on running and what different social media offer.
After evaluating some of the most popular and useful social media websites currently on the market, we’ve put together a list of the best platforms startups can use. Every business is familiar with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn but you may need to get familiar with other sites that works well within your niche.
Keeping track of your social marketing strategies and figuring out what works and what needs to be fixed can be a daunting task. You need to either have a team of professionals or hire a digital marketing agency that helps small businesses create targeted social media campaigns. Either way, a strong marketing plan should be designed to build awareness and drive traffic. You should also get help with managing your listing on top sites and directories. Including Google, Yelp, Bing, and many others.
Best Social Media Platforms for Startups That Should Be A part of The Marketing Campaign
All businesses in order to gain visibility and engage with new and existing customers.Necessary for increasing local outreach and authority. Great for partnering up with local companies. Affiliate marketing and local B2B.
Businesses that are targeting a largely tech-savvy audience with bite-sized information.
Necessary for increasing global outreach and authority. Great for partnering up with global companies. Affiliate marketing and global B2B.
B2B businesses, especially those interested in targeting or hiring educated professionals.
B2C businesses that are interested in publishing visually engaging and story-driven content in video and photos.
Necessary for partnering up with influencers.
B2B and B2C businesses whose product or service lends itself to informational videos or visual appeal.
Necessary for partnering up with influencers.
Google My Business
Brick-and-mortar businesses that want to show up in Google search and map results.
Businesses that would benefit from positive online reviews and higher search results in Google.
Necessary for word-of-mouth marketing.
Brick-and-mortar businesses that want to build a viral social presence and higher customer ratings.
Consumer-focused brands marketing to mainly female audience and wanting to share information in an aesthetic way.
Brands with a largely millennial audience whose messaging skews spontaneous and fun.
How To Evaluate the Best Social Media for Startups
Startups looking for the best social media platforms to be a part of their marketing campaign are typically looking for something that offers an engaging way to promote their brand and interact with current and future customers. That can apply to all social media platforms. However, that depends on who they are mainly targeting. As well as the fact that it’s hard to focus on establishing your presence everywhere as there are numerous social media sites out there. To make things simple, compare and contrast the major social media sites to figure out which ones are best for you.
Here are some of the criteria we used:
- Cost: Needs to be free of charge;
- Popularity or reach: We only selected popular websites with millions of active users;
- Audience: Different businesses cater to different customer segments, and it’s important to identify the right social media platforms where your ideal customer resides;
- Suitability for small businesses: We chose the ones that have a proven track record of effectiveness when it comes to working with small businesses;
- Features for advanced use: Some social media sites have opportunities for greater engagement, such as paid ads and boosted posts, which can be beneficial for small businesses;
- Ease of use: The sites we selected are beginner friendly, easy for small business owners to set up a profile and learn how to use them.
- Geographical targeting: Because many small businesses have a geographical focus, we selected social media sites that allow geotargeting.
As part of a standard marketing strategy, every business should be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Depending on the nature and scope of your business, you should also consider adding additional social media sites to your marketing strategy. For example, if you’re a brick-and-mortar business, make sure you’re on Google My Business and Yelp. We discuss the specific types of social media sites and what business each fits right below.
Here’s what a professional has to say:
“A lot of businesses make the mistake of thinking they have to be on every social media or review site. In reality, you need to be on the right ones. For every business, that’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. For local businesses, that means Google My Business and Yelp.”— Kent Campbell, CEO, Reputation X
Type of audience: General; the majority of adults in the United States are on Facebook; Locals are on Facebook.
What to share: Business news, products, announcements, articles, and more.
Recommended post frequency: 3-7 times per week.
Facebook is the world’s largest social media site and should be a part of any business’s marketing strategy due to its size and effectiveness. Almost everyone in your target audience is on Facebook. Therefore, every business, regardless of the industry, size, focus, or approach, should at least have a Facebook business page and remain active with posts and updates.
First things first, simply sign up for a Facebook business page. Next, you should add your business information to your page including opening and closing hours, locations, and don’t forget to add images as well. Once you’ve set up your Facebook page, post updates at least once a day. It could be about your products, events, tips and tricks, business happenings on a global or a local scale, or any other type of content that might appeal to your target audience.
Type of audience: Professionals in any industry.
What to share: Updates about your business’s activity, links to interesting or relevant content.
Recommended post frequency: 1-4 times per week.
LinkedIn is the ultimate social media site for professionals and businesses. It has long been recognized as an individual’s online resume, but it’s also a place where business-to-business (B2B) professionals network, make sales, and become thought leaders. LinkedIn marketing is valuable for B2B businesses since it gives you the greatest visibility among potential clients, partners, or customers.
Every small business should create a LinkedIn business page as a matter of course. Doing so ensures that they possess a credible presence on the world’s largest professional social network. Once you create your business listing on LinkedIn, you should post daily updates about your business or link to helpful content relevant to your industry.
In addition, creating a LinkedIn business page is a great way to source employees and potential hires. You can approach potential collaborators and negotiate B2B sales if that’s your aim. It should be pointed out that being active on LinkedIn will help you build the authority within your niche.
Type of audience: Tech-savvy users spanning the age spectrum; global audiences.
What to share: Time-sensitive updates, business information, shout-outs, and retweets.
Recommended post frequency: 1-3 times per day.
Twitter is a social platform where users communicate through tweets (280 character limit but you can create threads), direct messages, videos, and images. Your audience consists of your followers. Twitter is an ideal social media site for startups whose target audience consists of tech-savvy customers and those who want information in bite-sized chunks. As the world’s third-largest social media site, it’s also an essential platform for any business to gain a strong digital presence and establish its brand identity.
To create a Twitter profile, visit the Twitter for Business page and sign up. When getting started on Twitter, you’ll want to follow other relevant brands and users in your niche. Post updates and links to helpful articles or retweet other users tweets three to five times a day. Check your direct messages regularly since some customers may use your Twitter account as a de facto helpline. Make sure your messages are visible. Finally, never lock your account to a private as this will limit your access to Twitter audience, and theirs to you.
Type of audience: Urban and suburban millennials with a slight female skew.
What to share: Eye-catching visuals, product visuals, events, people, and behind-the-scenes stories.
Recommended post frequency: 3-5 posts per week, 1-15 stories per day.
Instagram, now owned by Facebook, is the ultimate visual social media platform. Users are mobile, millennial, and highly engaged. The average Instagram user spends from 24 to 32 minutes a day on the app. Instagram is an effective platform of choice for businesses that cater to millennial consumers.
Sign up for Instagram and download the app. Post at least one photo and three to 10 stories per day about your business, products, or customers. Pictures of faces, pets, and flat lays are all popular on Instagram. Small businesses can benefit from Instagram geotag and hashtag functions to turn up on trending page and get noticed within their local areas. In addition to posting on Instagram, you can also advertise your business on it. In fact, Instagram with its various features, such as Instagram Story and sponsored posts, is one of the most ad friendly social media currently on the market.
Type of audience: General consumers seeking entertainment or doing general research.
What to share: Informational, educational or entertaining videos.
Recommended post frequency: 1-3 videos per week.
YouTube is the world’s largest video site as well as the 2nd largest search engine after Google search. This platform is particularly well-suited to businesses that cater to consumers, especially those that can use a how-to angle in their videos, such as a local landscaping companies, businesses in the mechanic and technical niches, or photo and videography businesses.
YouTube requires a bit more time and effort to build your presence on than most other social media platforms on this list. Because it’s a video-sharing site, you’ll need to create custom videos about your company, products, or services. Gaining organic followers, named subscribers, definitely takes time and needs an investment in the quality of your videos.
It’s best to start with a collection of five to 10 videos and post at least one video per week. Videos should be from three to 10 minutes long. Your videos don’t need to be entertainment-oriented. They can be informative or instructional. For the record, many of the videos that perform best on YouTube are how-to videos, animated explainer videos, or interviews.
The thing with Instagram and YouTube is that they are extremely useful when it comes to endorsements and influencer marketing. Use that to your advantage. Ask for collaborations. That could be a collaborative video, Short, Story or an advertisement on their personal page in exchange of your products.
#6 Google My Business
Type of audience: Any Google users searching for any type of local business or a service.
What to share: Create a thorough profile for your business. Add all the necessary information.
Recommended post frequency: Not applicable.
Google My Business (GMB) is Google’s business directory, which allows your business to appear on Google maps, show up in local queries and receive ratings and recommendations. It is the world’s largest business directory, which makes it essential for every local business with a physical location to claim their listing and establish a strong presence.
First, create a GMB listing, which lets customers find your address, company information, and ratings in the “local pack” of the search results. Once you claim your location, your customers can find you online, rate your products or services, recommend them to others and identify features about your business that compel them to visit you again.
It’s very important to fill out every possible bit of information — from store hours to prices to photos and necessary links. The more information you provide, the better presence your business will have. Businesses with a GMB account will always outrank businesses that lack in this criteria due to the “local pack” search engine results page.
Type of audience: Customers recommending, dining at, or shopping at local establishments.
What to share: Build a full profile and keep business information up to date and consistent.
Recommended post frequency: Not applicable. Just update when the changes occur in your operations.
Yelp is a local business directory and search site that allows customers to provide ratings and recommendations based on their experience. Customers who search for the products or services you provide may come across your business on Yelp. They will definitely look into your ratings (by stars) and make a decision whether they want to visit, eat, purchase from you or choose your competitor.
Listing your business on Yelp makes it easy for customers to find you on Google search. Customers use Yelp as a search engine, for finding desired locations with the highest ratings and many positive reviews. As Harvard research has demonstrated, higher star ratings on Yelp leads to an almost immediate increase in revenue.
Yelp is primarily a review site, encouraging customers to give you a star rating and write about their experience — the good and the bad. This is a double-edged sword. If your service and experiences are poor, your ratings will decrease, which can turn customers away.
With that in mind, it’s still important for local businesses to set up their Yelp profile and encourage positive (such as five-star) reviews. You can take care of the negative ones by responding politely and ensuring them you will look into the problem and resolve it in the nearest future.
When you list your business on local directories like Yelp, Google My Business, and Foursquare, it is important that your name, address, phone number, and important branding information be consistent across each one. This is because any discrepancy can confuse search engines and customers alike. Digital marketing professionals can help you review your listings in local directories for accuracy and help you get listed on top websites, directories, and apps related to your business.
Type of audience: Customers wanting to visit trendy locations and share their experiences.
What to share: Build a complete and consistent business profile.
Recommended post frequency: Not applicable. Update when changes occur in your operations.
Foursquare is a social media app for the purpose of checking in to locations like restaurants or stores. It is ideal for brick-and-mortar businesses that want more visibility. When a Foursquare user visits a local bar, they will check in to that location on the app, rate it and write a review. Reviews are visible to the public. This gives the business being rated another source of leads.
Foursquare helps your business spread virally through active and influential Foursquare users. All you need to do is claim your listing, create your profile and allow customers to find you. Although Foursquare isn’t nearly as popular as Google My Business or Yelp, it still provides search traffic and more visitors to your local business.
Type of audience: Millennial and middle-aged mostly female audiences with disposable income.
What to share: Recipes, wardrobe, design, deco, organizational, and craft ideas.
Recommended post frequency: 1-5 times per week.
Pinterest is an online pinboard where users can save and organize images that link to products, articles, or other content. Pinterest is the social media platform of choice for businesses that cater to a primarily female customer base. Some of Pinterest’s best features are its ability to organize content, borrow inspiration from other users’ pins, and search on specific topics.
Getting started with Pinterest is a simple matter of signing up and creating a board with pins. Although it can be effective for female-centric customer bases, it does take considerable time to set up a comprehensive and attractive pinboard. To use Pinterest to its full advantage, create pinboards that present your products in an attractive way and provide users with inspiration about utilizing them.
Type of audience: Millennials .
What to share: Daily activities, tips, and tricks, updates, behind the scenes videos, and selfies.
Recommended post frequency: 1-10 times daily.
Snapchat is a multimedia app that allows individuals and brands to send videos, text, and selfies (with filters) to friends or groups. Snaps are impermanent, which creates a story-like flow to your messages. Brands can use Snapchat to communicate with their audience, but it’s important to note that it is most effective for business-to-consumer (B2C) brands selling to a millennial audience.
Sharing on Snapchat is similar to Instagram or Facebook — set up an account, download the app and start sharing 1-10 snaps a day. As you follow other brands and keep up a regular cadence of snaps, you can build an audience and curate a brand. If you intend to use Snapchat, make sure there is an alignment of your brand vibe with the app’s primarily millennial user base, as it’s not one of the best social media for business targeting other types of audiences. If this is the case, your efforts might be better spent elsewhere.
Here’s a bonus tip. If you want to implement similar strategies as you use on Instagram and Snapchat but your target audience consists of young adults and teenagers, use Tik-Tok. You can utilize the help of Tik-Tok influencers as well.
The Bottom Line
Considering today’s marketing environment, you should definitely use social media platforms for your business. The best social media platform to establish your presence on depends on the nature of your business. But, at a minimum, you should create accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Local establishments should also create a listing on Google My Business and Yelp.
However, keep in mind that becoming an expert in marketing on all of the suitable social networks is nearly impossible. Find a digital agency or hire professionals that help small businesses create targeted social media campaigns and manage online listings to create better brand awareness and drive more traffic.