As I mentioned in The Weakest Link – Your Social Media Marketing “Killer App” social media tools empower you, using tools that are largely free, to maximize your business’ exposure and interaction, connecting and staying in touch more often and with more people than you ever could before.
Now I’d like to talk about how. How does one do this? It all starts with knowing which tools are most useful for your business. In fact I’m often asked “what are the best online marketing tools for small businesses?”. I’ll save that question for another post. For now let’s focus on a subset of that – what are the best social media marketing tools for small businesses?
First let’s take stock. Here is a list of some of the most popular social media tools (at least in the US market, in other countries it’s a different story mind you). I want to give a nod to Seattle based Creativetechs for doing the thinking and the legwork to gather these sites into tidy categories!
All of these tools enable you to interact with people but in each group a different kind of content is the focus.
Social Directories – in some ways the simplest because it is the content focus is YOU. Each individual creates a profile and the directory enables you to find and connect with people based on the information they supply about themselves in that profile. This has extended beyond individuals to “entities”. So that a company or group can also create a profile. Which brings me to one of the most confusing things about these directories – that not all of them approach “entities” the same way and most of them don’t make it very easy to figure out how to create a profile for your entity. Facebook invites you to create a Facebook “page” for your business but does not want you to create a “profile” for your business even though pages and profiles can use many of the same features and tools (but not all). On the other hand, LinkedIn has a very limited “page” for businesses providing very limited functionality. Small businesses often struggle to figure out which kind of existence they should have in these directories (should it be me? Should it be my company? Should it be someone else within my company?) both to stay within the terms of service and still maximize the tools marketing potential . . . read more at Bplans.com