Where Should Your Small Business be Online in 2013?

So much has changed since I began writing for the RISBJ on social media. Some social websites have climbed in rankings and others made so many changes that people left them in droves. Which social sites should you be on and active in 2013 to promote your business?

These are the 4 basic social websites which you should focus on:

Twitter – Twitter has just passed the 200 million active users mark in December of 2012. There are 500 million users but 200 million are currently ACTIVE. 60% of users use their mobile phones for Twitter. In the United States alone there are 140 million registered users. Nielsen has just teamed up with a social media company to measure “split screen” TV viewing for 2013. Many people tweet right from their TV’s or their hand held devices while watching. Some companies like the Providence Performing Arts Center have started using “Tweet Seats” to promote their events and have people tweeting from their shows to encourage others to purchase tickets for future shows.

Facebook– Facebook reached the 1 billion mark for users in October 2012. It continues to grow users but the amount of posts and posts from pages that can be seen by users has gone sharply down with the changes there as Facebook is trying to find ways to make money off of promoted posts and ads. If you have a Facebook Page you may be familiar with Facebook Edge-rank and you may have noticed a big drop of users liking your posts because they are not seeing them.

Pinterest – This virtual pin board website continues to grow and was the fastest growing ever website to reach 10 million US monthly unique visitors. 80% of its users are still female. Several types of businesses do extremely well here with visits and purchases. You can now register as a business and have your website verified on Pinterest.

Google+ – As of September Google+ hit the 400 million user mark with 100 million members being active. There is a lot of room for growth here. Google Plus just started rolling out communities that
members can form. They are similar to the old “forums” around the web. Like-minded people or businesses can form their own community and share within it.

The key to being successful on these websites is to remain consistent and to socialize with others there. It is not about just spreading your marketing message day after day (boring!). You really need to go by the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time you share others stuff and 20% your own messages. That is not easy in the beginning when you are first starting out using social media. You are so tempted to share away your own important messages.

2 Other Major Social Websites to Master:

LinkedIn – LinkedIn is for business and you can set up your basic business page there. Great place to be when you are hiring. It’s great for networking and for events.

YouTube – If you have a website or blog you really need to have some videos to promote your products and / or pages. Video has become extremely important for websites and those that sell online.

And of course don’t forget your offline marketing too! You really need to have a great combination of
online and offline to get people into your business to purchase. It will help your business if you have great tracking methods to track your messages. You can set up special phone numbers or email addresses dedicated to particular messages for tracking purposes. For your online business you can set up landing pages for tracking online.

If your business is online you need to have Google Analytics set up (it is FREE) as well as Google Webmaster Tools (FREE). There are also Analytics for Bing too. Both are great FREE services to help you track your website visits traffic. You need to know where they are coming from and where your time should be spent online in the future.

If you are using several social websites you may want to have tools like Hootsuite to manage them. For just $6/month you can be get the professional version and have everything you need at your fingertips from your mobile phone or tablet. Another must service is the Buffer so you can space out your postings on various networks. No one likes to see a dozen posts from the same person all at once. (Overkill!) Do it in the morning and forget about it unless you have interactions with your customers or spare time to socialize. You will also need the mobile apps for your mobile phone. These social apps can be a timesaver for you!

Wishing your business the best in 2013!

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