5 Social Networks For Your Small Business To Experiment With

Social Media SpecialistThis post originally ran on Vistaprint’s Small Business Blog

We all know that Facebook and Twitter are the cat’s meow when it comes to social networks. Both networks boast a plethora of users, and most of our customers have an account on one of the two networks. Chances are that you’ve already built out a presence one both of these networks.

While there is no question that these networks hold tremendous power, they should not be the end all, be all for your business. The truth is that social media is constantly evolving and there are new networks that emerge that may be a great opportunity for your small business to get involved with. Below are five that you should give a quick look to.

Google+
This network, once dubbed a Facebook Killer, has never lived up to its initial hype from tech pundits. Despite that, the network still holds a lot of benefits for small business owners. The most powerful is the “+1” this feature allows users to like an article, product or brand. This action increases the relevancy of the item within Universal Search. This means that when a friend of this person searches for a product or service, they will see that their friend has liked a specific brand. The network also boasts a great tool called Hangouts. This is a video-chat feature where companies can have a real-time conversation with up to 10 people at a time. For small business owners, this can be utilized for customer support or monthly chats with customers.

YouTube
This is the second largest search engine in the world, and also happens to host a boatload of cat videos (warning, if you click the link, be prepared to kiss productivity good bye). This is a great site to use if you have a product or service that photos do not do justice for or require a demonstration. It is also a great way to add some personality to your company and is a great medium to utilize for a monthly tip or demonstration.

Instagram
Do you wish that your customers could see the behind-the-scenes things that go on with your business? If so, Instagram is the network for you. This new addition to the Facebook family offers users the ability to snap a quick photo with their smartphone and add some filters to change the look and feel. Images taken on Instagram can also be seamlessly published to Facebook and shared with your followers there as well.

Path
This is by far the most intimate social network out there right now. Path users are limited to having 150 connections on their networks. Users typically are picky about who they connect with and limit their fringe-friends. While I have never seen this done before, I think a small business owner could leverage Path for an exclusive club or discount group for their top 150 customers. They can also trim the network to rotate customers on a given interval as well.

Myspace
Remember when everyone was on Myspace before Facebook? While it might seem like ages ago, it was really only a couple of years, and the network has recently gone through a major overhaul.Investor Justin Timberlake is hoping to bring sexy back to Myspace. This network is slowly opening up its gates and could be a great place for you if your business has a foothold in the music or entertaining industry.

Have you tried any of these networks? If so, we’d love to hear about it below.

Image: GapingVoid




2 comments
AmyVernon
AmyVernon

I never considered Path that way before, and it could be an interesting case study. I'm on Path, and there are a few people there I talk to there more than anywhere else, but it's just not different enough to make it worth being on yet another channel. And the thought of just pushing posts and other things from Path out onto other channels seems to kind of defeat the purpose.

I would seriously love to see a case study of a small business doing this. I think the use case you outlined is very intriguing. And could be a way for Path to actually make money, too, without injecting advertising.

jeffespo
jeffespo moderator

@AmyVernon I like Path, but am a more on again off again user. I am too swamped with other things to give it my full go. I am not sure if there are any businesses using it in that manner, but do think that it could be a great way to build up an exclusive club or insider deals program though. Stay safe in the snow today. 

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