Which Social Media Sites Are Best for Small Businesses?
With over 75% of adults using social media on a regular basis, small businesses across the country are finding great opportunities to find new customers online. But with all of the different social networking sites out there, which ones should you focus on?
We breakdown the down the top 10 social media websites so you can prioritize your business’s social media marketing campaign.
The Top 10 Social Media Websites:
The social media networking sites below are listed based on a combination of their active user base and benefit to small businesses in particular.
The percentages are approximate and are based on the latest statistics from the Pew Research Center.
#1 – Facebook
Facebook is by far the most popular social media service on the internet with around 3/4 of Americans using it on a regular basis. Facebook is particularly great for small businesses who are looking to advertise and target local users. Especially now that they launched their new Local Awareness Ads feature to their advertising platform.
Facebook Is Great For:
- Businesses that host events
- Targeting local users and specific pages
- Engaging with current and prospective customers
- Integrating social sharing features onto your website
Facebook Stats & User Information:
- 65% of users go on Facebook daily
- Has the highest percentage of senior citizen users at almost 50%
- 40% of users use Facebook as a check-in service for local businesses
- More than 75% of women in the United States have a Facebook account
#2 – Google Plus
While it’s no Facebook, Google Plus’s SEO value alone puts it at #2 on the list. Google Plus’s popularity is partially due to the surge of local businesses that merged from Google Local, creating Google My Business. So with Google putting more and more resources into their social media platform, it’s a good idea for small businesses to do the same.
Google+ Is Great For:
- Creating/updating your listing on Google Maps and local search results
- Getting customer reviews to show up in search results
- Businesses that host local events
- Targeting local users and businesses
Google+ Stats & User Information:
- 15% of smartphone users say they use Google Plus for local information
- Around the same amount of local business check-ins as Foursquare
- Google’s search results are personalized for signed-in users
#3 – Yelp
Yelp is definitely the King Pin of review websites. While it’s technically not a social media site, it’s 142 million active users and 100 million reviews say otherwise. Yelp also has a huge role in local SEO as well. Their business profiles tend to rank high in search results and many popular sites like Yahoo! use Yelp reviews in their listings. So if you haven’t yet, claim your business Yelp profile and stay on top of your reviews.
Yelp Is Great For:
- Food & drink, arts & entertainment, beauty & fitness, and other local services
- Optimizing your presence on Yahoo! and other websites that display Yelp reviews
- Staying on top of your reputation management
- Using targeted ads for people searching for businesses in a particular area
Yelp Stats & User Information:
- 67% of reviews are 4-5 stars
- 90% of Yelp users say reviews impact their decision
- Almost 50% of all new reviews are from smartphones
#4 – Instagram
Instagram’s audience has skyrocketed in the last couple years and now reaches 400 million users. With that kind of exposure, you can see why a lot of businesses are taking advantage of the free photo sharing service. Instagram’s advertising program has also taken off in popularity with local businesses with more active advertisers than Twitter.
Instagram Is Great For:
- Sharing pictures and short video clips
- Restaurants, retailers, and other industries that rely on visual media
- Easily editing pictures with preset filters
- Sharing company culture and “behind-the-scenes” insights
Instagram Stats & Information:
- 40% of users are aged 18-29
- 60% of users visit Instagram daily
- 95% of users also use Facebook
- Is owned by parent company Facebook
#5 – Twitter
If you’re trying to target a younger audience, Twitter is definitely the way to go. Only 20% of adults in the United States use the micro-blogging service while almost half of Millennials use it on a regular basis. Since its founding in 2006, Twitter has benefited businesses tremendously by giving them a powerful outreach platform to interact with customers that they might not have been able to talk to before.
Twitter Is Great For:
- Interacting with current and prospective customers
- Answering questions and customer feedback
- Releasing the latest news regarding your company
- Using targeted ads with specific users and audiences
Twitter Stats & User Information:
- Nearly 40% of Twitter’s users are 18-29 years old
- Over 50% of users use Twitter daily
- 55% of users also use Instagram
#6 – YouTube
YouTube is the largest and most popular video-based social media website on the internet. As a matter of fact, YouTube is watched by more US adults aged 18-49 than any television cable network. Granted a lot of those people are watching cat videos, but small businesses across the country are experiencing great results from publishing videos on YouTube.
YouTube Is Great For:
- Showing up in search results with rich video snippets
- Targeting users with video-based content
- Geo-targeting videos based on your location
- Integrating and embedding videos on your website
YouTube Stats & Information:
- Over 40% of YouTube videos are watched from a mobile phone
- Is the second most popular search engine behind Google
- Has over 1 billion website visitors per month
- Is owned by parent company Google
#7 – Pinterest
Pinterest has over 50 million active users in the US and is a very powerful image-based social media website. Pinterest’s main competitor is Instagram. But, if you’re a local or small business whose target audience is mostly made up of women and/or moms, then you should definitely invest in Pinterest as women make up over 90% of all new “pins”.
Pinterest Is Great For:
- Photography, travel and other related industries
- Sharing Holiday related images
- Home Décor, fashion, arts and crafts
- Reaching women, moms, and more affluent users
- Promoting pins to targeted users
Pinterest Stats & Information:
- 25% of all US adults use Pinterest
- 4 times as many women use Pinterest than men
- Just 25% of users use the site daily
- Nearly 1 in 7 users use Facebook to connect to Pinterest
#8 – LinkedIn
LinkedIn is hands-down the most popular professional social media and networking website. Around 40 million Americans currently have a LinkedIn profile. Because of its professional nature, businesses across the country are using the popular social networking site to find new employees and potential customers with their targeted advertising program.
LinkedIn Is Great For:
- Networking with local professionals
- Connecting with people in similar industries
- Lead generation and reputation management
- Displaying company related information and statistics
- Having your personal and/or business information rank well in search engines
LinkedIn Stats & Information:
- 15% of users go on LinkedIn daily
- 85% of LinkedIn users also use Facebook
- 40% of users have a college degree
- Over 5.5 million business owners and executives in the US have a LinkedIn profile
#9 – Meetup
With around 20 million users, Meetup.com can be a powerful local networking and organizing tool for local businesses. Even small business owners here in Boulder are hosting “Meetups” all the time in order to network and promote their business. So if you time, try looking up some Meetups in your local area to see if you can find one that fits your niche.
Meetup Is Great For:
- Businesses trying to extend their event marketing campaigns
- Networking with local people and industry professionals
- Launching new products and brand awareness
- Face-to-face interaction with your current and potential customers
Meetup Stats & Information:
- Over 500K Meetups occur every month
- $12 cost per month for Meetup group organizers
- Its creation was inspired by America’s unity after 9/11
- Around 10K local groups meet each day
#10 – Vine
Vine is the rapidly growing video sharing social media app that allows you to share 6-second video clips to your followers. While 6-seconds might not seem like a lot of time, companies of all stripes are having tremendous success using the new video sharing service. So if you have an iPhone and an intern, try creating some new Vine videos for your business.
Vine Is Great For:
- Using in conjunction with Twitter
- Going viral with creative short clips
- Music, sports, fashion, and technology related industries
- Interacting with users on the weekend
Vine Stats & Information:
- Has over 40 million users
- 25% of teenagers in America use Vine
- Is owned by parent company Twitter
The Best Social Media Websites for Local Businesses
While industry continues to change, these are the top social media sites your business should consider investing in moving forward into 2015.
The small businesses that take the time to optimize and create content for their core social media sites (or hire us to do it), will have a unique advantage over their local competitors.
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