Best Social Media Choices for Your Business

For most businesses social networking is a necessity, but which ones are best? Discovering which social media channels will benefit your business bottom line isn’t rocket science but it does require a little research and planning.

Recently, a business education and networking group which I belong to hosted a round table series on various online marketing topics like web design, graphic design, Facebook, and e-commerce. I facilitated the topic of social media choices for businesses. During each 15 minute session a fresh batch of eager faces gathered around to learn where they ought be spending their valuable business resources and time when it comes to marketing via social media. Here is what I shared with them.

3 Questions
The way I approach this topic with my clients is by asking three simple questions. As easy as it sounds, the answers to these questions will guide and point to the right social media channel for your particular business.

  1. Who are your customers? Consider gender, age and demographics for clues about how, or if, they participate on the Internet.
  2. Where do your customers socialize on the Web? For example, some age groups trend toward Facebook while others seek more detailed information, for example, following blogs or engaging in forums related to their interests.
  3. Is your business primarily local or is it available nationally or globally? While geography may no longer be the barrier it once was, factor in culture, language and locality to determine which social media platform hosts your audience.

Research! 
With your answers in hand, do a little online research to find the right social media fit for your business and customers. It’s easy to plug in a keyword search to find stats. To get you started, I uncovered some basic age data for the most popular social media channels today, however you can view the complete 2012 social network demographics report on Pingdom.

Pinterest > predominately female audience, 25-44 years old, 50% with kids and 28% earning over $100k/year. Most popular topics are health, food, travel and fashion with TONS of referral traffic.

Facebook and Twitter >  same gender distribution: 40% male, 60% female.

LinkedIn > oldest user based social network with an average of 44 years old, professional, slightly more male than female participants 

MySpace > relaunched in 2013 as a social entertainment network for Generation Y musicians, photographers, entertainers, filmmakers, writers

If you have a clear picture of your customer profile, a little time spent researching various social media channels will quickly reveal where your business might experience the best results and where you need to spend your time.

Can social media boost your bottom line? Without a doubt, but remember all social networks are not created equal. Pick one or two channels that best fit your business and customer profile and stick to a regular routine.

Remember when it comes to social media — make it real, keep it interesting and stick to it!

Top 5 Website Hosting Companies

Shopping for an affordable web hosting company with great customer support? Here are the top 5 picks for the best website hosting companies for 2012, according to Consumer-Rankings.com.

Ready to switch web hosting companies? We take care of that for free – just ask!


Visit iPage >
Web Hosting by iPage
Best for: Small business owners and bloggers looking for a low-priced, feature-rich service to get their sites up quickly and affordably.  

Best Value:  $3.50/month

Bandwidth/ Disk Space:   Unlimited

Overall Consumer Ranking: 5 stars

Visit FatCow Best for: Novice webmasters looking for an inexpensive plan with unlimited storage and bandwidth as well as courteous customer support.

Best Value: $3.15/month

Bandwidth/Disk Space: Unlimited

Overall Consumer Ranking: 5 stars

Visit Just Host Best for: Inexperienced webmasters looking for a hosting provider with a well organized, easy-to-use user interface at an affordable price.

Best Value: $3.75/month

Bandwidth/Disk Space:Unlimited

Overall Consumer Rankings: 4.5 stars

Visit BlueHost Best for: Webmasters looking for instant website setup, an intuitive control panel design and the option to purchase additional professional-grade site builders.

Best Value:$6.95/month

Bandwidth/Disk Space: Unlimited

Overall Consumer Rankings: 4.5 stars

Visit Host Monster Best for: Professional or novice webmasters who require speedy customer phone support and are looking for a plan offering unlimited email accounts.

Best Value:$5.95/month

Bandwidth/Disk Space: Unlimited

Overall Consumer Rankings: 4.5 stars

Still not sure which hosting site is best for your business?  We can help you choose and AND we’ll switch your website to a new host – for free.

Social Media is a Big Deal for Business

social media buttonsYou’ve seen them — Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, MySpace, Slashdot, Blinklist, Newsvine, and hundreds more — little social networking buttons popping up on websites and blogs, each one a portal into communities built around social interaction and sharing common interest.

Each social network serves as a common meeting ground and, just as some folks prefer chocolate over vanilla, each social community has its own flavor of followers.

So what is the big deal? Social media has catapulted to the top of the news in part due to the sheer numbers of participants and the subsequent effects of sharing information virally. It’s the old-fashioned way of spreading news with a new-tech touch.

With social networking, news can spread fast presenting opportunities to share your business or your non-profit organization with people you have never met. 

If you are reading this you may already be familiar with social networking as are over 800+ million people on the planet who currently use the top social networking platform, Facebook. But perhaps you’re one of the many entrepreneurs or business owners scratching their heads asking, “Just how can social networking help my business reach new markets and increase sales?”

Can social media help my business?  Social networking for business does require a clear social media plan and targeted messages.

Ask yourself the following to determine if social media might benefit your business:

  • Who are your customers or target markets? Consider their age and demographics for clues about how, or if, they participate on the Internet.
  • Where do your customers socialize on the Web?  For example, some age groups trend toward Facebook while other demographics seek more detailed information, following blogs or engaging in forums related to their interests.
  • Is your business primarily local or is it available nationally or globally?  While geography may no longer be the barrier it once was, factor in culture, language and locality to determine which social media platform hosts your audience.

A little research goes a long way. Once demographics are established, take the time to develop a clear social networking plan for your entrance into social media. The result will be well worth the initial effort.

What exactly is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is how businesses today operate in the online environment. While traditional marketing channels are still viable, today’s online marketing choices can be daunting.

Traditional marketing is known as ‘outbound marketing’ which includes television, radio, newspaper, print and mail advertising. Today, marketing an online business engages ‘inbound marketing’ techniques that require a completely new set of tools and rules.

A new frontier

While marketing an online business does sometimes incorporate traditional ‘outbound’ channels, more often best results are directed toward digital marketing channels. For example, a non-inclusive list of digital media channels includes social media (like blogging and video), online advertising (which includes pay-per-click (PPC) and cost-per-click (CPC) campaigns), and affiliate marketing. Each one is a specialized tool used to build traffic and revenue for an online business -  when used at the right time, in the right combination, and in the right situation. 

Think this stuff is for big business only? As Internet availability continues to expand, even small businesses need to redirect their resources toward digital marketing to stay on top of the competition.

How do you market your business best?

Simple as it sounds, the most important step toward building your online business – and boosting your bottom line – is to get online effectively. This is where most small businesses fail. It is vital to start with a well-designed website, strategically optimized so search engines can find it, and then incorporate a digital marketing plan using the tools that will work best for your business.

Eliminate guess-work

Digital Marketing Services takes the guess-work out of how to…

  • Get your business online quickly and affordably
  • Optimize and get more traffic for your website
  • Convert traffic into customers
  • Choose the right social media channel for your business
  • Develop a marketing plan

Contact us with questions about optimized website design, increasing website traffic and sales, blogging and social media.

Top 3 Small Business Blogging Myths

When speaking with our clients about starting a business blog, we hear a number of reasons why they don’t have one.  Interestingly, many of those reasons are really myths. These are the top 3 blogging myths we’d like to dispel:

Myth #1 – Setting up a blog is time-consuming and expensive

A simple business blog can be set up online in a few hours and there are a number of easy to use, free blogging platforms to choose from.

If you are short on time or don’t want to go through the learning curve of setting up a blog, consider hiring a blogging pro to set one up for you. Look for a professional who will streamline the process by defining key elements prior to setting up your blog. It’s that age-old dilemma of, “How do you know what to ask, if you don’t know what to ask?”  That’s when the services of an experienced blogger are well worth a few hours of thier time.

Whether you set it up yourself or hire someone, consider a business blog as one of the best long-term investments toward your online business success.

Myth #2 – I can’t write

If you can write an email or a letter to a friend, you can blog. Today, writing content for a business blog is in the format of sharing information crafted in a conversational tone. WordPress, Blogger, TypePad and Tumblr are the top blogging platforms, hosting over 60% of all blogs on the Internet, and each one has built-in tools and support for new bloggers.

As a passionate expert in your field, who better than yourself to write about your business?  Most small business blogs are written by their owners, but even enthusiastic employees can pen insightful posts.

Myth #3 – Blogging is a waste of time

Think of a blog as the active, dynamic part of your website. Search engines love fresh content, so your business website will likely see benefits from a regularly updated blogThere is no doubt that keeping a blog current is a commitment – it’s one that builds a loyal and happy customer base plus awesome results on search engine searches.

How often should businesses post to their blog?  Here again, there are no rules but in the beginning plan on adding new content to your blog at least once per week.  Blog posts of 400 – 500 words are very readable, but shorter posts are fine as long as you stick to a regular posting schedule.

The biggest hurdle we see preventing business owners from starting up a blog?  >> See Myth #1!

Does your business have a blog?  Which blogging platform is best for small businesses?

Digital Marketing Services helps small businesses reach more customers by building a successful blog. If you’re ready to start a blog but not sure how, contact us and we’ll have you up and blogging in under an hour.  To get started, we’ll include a free ebook – Intro to Business Blogging.  Be sure to ask for your free copy!

Online Digital Marketing Glossary

~ Free e-book from HubSpot.com ~

Find simple explanations to frequently used online marketing terms and phrases in this fantastic inbound marketing glossary by HubSpot, over 250 pages categorized by digital marketing channels.  Best of all, it’s free to download.  Click to download.

Terms defined by chapter:

  • Key lead generation
  • Landing page
  • Email marketing
  • Blogging & SEO
  • Marketing automation
  • Social media
  • Mobile marketing

Digital Marketing Glossary