Small Biz Guide: Social Media Should you be using social media for your small business? It’s an important question that can save you time and money. At some level, most small businesses should at least have a social media presence – even if it’s only one or two channels. Below we’ll look at the purpose of social media, what channels to use and how to use them. The Purpose of Social Media Above all else, the primary purpose of social media is to digitally connect people. Whether it’s through a personal Facebook page or a professional Linkedin connection, people are increasingly using social media to connect with one another. And the more that people use social media for personal connection, the more they feel comfortable interacting with businesses on social channels. We’re even seeing social e-commerce increasing in popularity. Features/Benefits of Social for Small Business: Cost-effective Ability to connect in new ways with customers/clients Increases online traffic and leads Builds brand strength and digital presence What Social Media Channels to Use Most small businesses find the optimal social media channels to be linkedin, facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram and foursquare. However, we don’t recommend using ALL of these channels. It’s important to evaluate which social media channels are the most effective for your business. Top Social Channels for Small Businesses: LinkedIn – for professionals and B2B Facebook – for retail, B2C and some B2B Twitter – for professionals, industry-related groups, B2C and some B2B Pinterest – for retail and B2C Instagram – for retail and B2C Foursquare – for retail and B2C How to Use Social Media When using social media for business purposes, it’s important to use a “conversational” and helpful approach. Don’t try to sell or convince people to buy your products. Instead, focus on connecting and engaging with them. Below are a few helpful tips on how to use social media for your business: Tips on How to Use Social Media for Your Business: Provide helpful information and resources Know your audience and hit their pain points Create both manual and automated posts Don’t “buy” followers Create offers or giveaways More tips: Check out these 6 helpful social media tips from HootSuite: http://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-marketing-for-small-business/.