There are hundreds of social media sites out there, all with their own pros and cons. As an organic business, you're less likely to find a niche network that's applicable, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't participate in social media at all.
Below are some social media sites you may want to consider joining.
1. The Social Media Sites You'll Actually Use
You'll often see articles that show-off the "50 social media sites you should join" but this is simply unrealistic. Your business doesn't need to be on every social media site out there. One, there's no way you'll have the time for this, and two, excellent social networking presence is only as good as what you put into it.
When you spread yourself too thin or spend too much time on social media sites you don't truly enjoy, it shows. Focus your efforts. Narrow your focus to include social media sites that serve the type of consumers you also serve.
More importantly, spend some time on various sites to see which sites you personally like and enjoy using. For example, Twitter is a powerful social media marketing tool, but if you can't stand tweeting and you only reluctantly participate, it's simply a waste of valuable time.
Most Americans ages 12 and over now have Facebook accounts, making Facebook a social media tool you should give some serious consideration to. According to Kantar Media's web traffic analysis service, Compete, Facebook users report that they visit official retailer pages they follow at least once a month and a majority also note that Facebook pages influence their purchasing decisions.
Facebook has few cons for businesses and offers great free marketing options, however there are a couple of cons. Facebook use should hit a nice balance of engaged, but not spammy over-saturation and finding the perfect balance can be tricky. Poor user experiences on Facebook tend to go viral quickly, so you must be prepared to offer the best possible interactions with fans. Lastly, it can be difficult, at least at first to get fans to participate, which can feel like you're doing a lot of networking for zero returns.
Examples of Organic Businesses on Facebook
LinkedIn can be a valuable social media site if you're looking for new employees, employers or clients. The site allows you to connect, reconnect and strengthen relationships with co-workers and friends, plus gain business advice. Also, assuming you gain positive customer testimonials, your business will establish more credibility.
LinkedIn can be a bit dull for some users - it's absolutely not flashy or visual, but more professional in nature. There's a time commitment, as with all social media sites, but a lot of the tasks you may participate in at LinkedIn take more time than average, such as polishing your profile and writing reviews or recommendations for others.
Examples of Organic Businesses on LinkedIn
- United Natural Foods
- Door to Door Organics
- Whole Foods Market
- Annie's Inc.
Twitter is a social media site that makes it ultra easy to connect with like-minded fans and peers quickly. It's an easy site to use and the site is very interactive round the clock, so if you can only network at night, that works. Twitter users are also open to connecting with businesses they're as of yet unfamiliar with, so long as your business is slightly inline with what users are interested in. Luckily, plenty of Twitter users are fans of organics.
Some people find Twitter obnoxious, but it helps to give it a chance. It's tough to get used to discussions that last just 140 characters. You can't send out bulk invites to events, although you can tweet to specific users. Lastly, because Twitter moves at the speed of light, your one post may get lost in the shuffle. It's smart to re-tweet your most important tweets more than once and at different times of the day.
Examples of Organic Businesses on Twitter
Few social media sites have seen the kind of super fast success that Pinterest has seen. Users are highly dedicated to this site and spend a decent amount of time there. Pinterest has many pros such as it's fun, easy to use, visually stimulating and not yet overly saturated with organics, meaning your organic business can still be a pioneer.
Pinterest may not work for you if you're not interested in visual networking. Most of Pinterest is imagery, not text-heavy. Pinterest, while popular is still very new. It's unclear if the popularity will stick or not.
Examples of Organic Businesses on Pinterest
For businesses and organic brands, Google+ pages can help you connect with customers or fans who may recommend you with just a click of the now highly visible +1 button. Google+ allows you to share your favorite finds and some businesses say that they're seeing likes on Google+ transform into better revenue. A common pro of Google+ that I hear a lot is that people like the maturity level - i.e it hasn't become over-saturated with juvenile content.
The Google+ interface can be confusing, even for very experienced social networkers. Thus far, likely because Google+ pages for businesses are newer, there are few organic companies on Google+. Also, Google+ is similar, although not exactly the same as sites like Facebook. Thus, if you've already built a fan base elsewhere, it could be a lot of trouble to move your fans to yet another new social media site.