I hope that by now, if you’ve read my older posts you are already working on an online business and have committed to doing whatever it takes to make it grow so that you can, like me, enjoy the dream of working from home.
Or sleeping more?
This probably means expanding your reach so you can find customers, distributors, or new members for your business, depending on the type of structure your business has. You already know that social media is one of the leading and most popular places to find people in these times. But what are the best social media platforms to do your marketing on?
I am going to focus on free methods for finding people in this post. I don’t have much experience with paid marketing, but I will return to that topic sometime in the future when I have something valuable and experience-based to share.
You already know #1
Yes, the giant elephant in the room, to slaughter an old cliche.
Facebook is the biggest social media platform, with over 2.5 billion active users on a monthly basis, as of December 2019. Also in that same month, 1.66 billion people logged into Facebook every day, a 9 percent increase from the year before. Source. Note that this is BEFORE the COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of people to stay home from work. I’m sure it’s more now.
Facebook’s size means that everyone should consider using in your social outreach. I do know some people who don’t like it, but it is amazing to be on a platform that has so many great people on it.
Of course, you can hang out with people on Facebook for all kinds of purposes, not just for business. I think it’s actually a good idea to spend a bit of time developing your hobby interactions, keeping family ties strong etc. You never know when someone in this “warm market” might decide to join your business, although it is not suggested to push it upon them.
There are so many great features in Facebook that I could write a whole separate post about it. More than one, probably. Anyway, look for more posts on various topics about using Facebook to help your business.
For now, let’s focus on how to connect with people
One of the best ways is adding friends, and then interacting with their content.
You also want to do your own posts, on a regular basis, I have been told at least 3 times per week. This gives your friends a way to interact with you, and helps turn your Facebook profile into an attractor into your business.
Who wants to go chasing prospects? Let them find you if they’re interested. This is a big part of how you do that.
Facebook has an algorithm that limits the visibility of anything you post to only your friends you have interacted with recently, and so you need to keep those connections current. The visibility is also triggered when you send them private comments, and this is another great way to communicate on Facebook. However, there is a lot of variation on how trusting people are of strangers. Some people won’t read or respond to private messages from people they don’t already know.
You have to decide if you want to consider each person for your business communications anyway. The Facebook profile gives you a lot of information, potentially, to consider as you look at who you will communicate with or interact with. Not just the most visible part, their profile and cover photos. Also, their personal information such as occupation, age, relationships, location, and whatever biographical details they may have given.
So Facebook has all the pieces you need to find people for your business, between the profile, the content they post, and what they might tell you in private messages, to help you decide if they are a good fit for your business.
There is one other Social Media platform that has all the right pieces, too, so we’ll get into that next. Google Plus had all of these things too but is sadly now defunct, having been ended about a year ago.
Second top platform: LinkedIn
LinkedIn is not as big as Facebook, only 106 million users. But it is more focused on business in general. So as I have heard it put, “there are fewer nuts to sort through.” The site used to be just a big resume posting network but has added a lot of features over the years, including some visibly modeled after those on Facebook.
I have listed it second because it also has all the features businesses need to make good connections and “qualify” your prospects and customers.
If you don’t know, “qualify” just means you are sorting through people and by the questions you ask you find out if the person is interested in your product or service, and if you want to do business with them. “Sorting” may sound disrespectful but I mean it in a totally practical way.
You have only so much time when you are working on your business and you have to make tough decisions about who to spend your time on or you won’t get anything accomplished. It doesn’t mean the other people aren’t valuable, worthy individuals, just that you can’t spend much time with them because Time is the most precious resource any of us has.
On LinkedIn, you don’t add friends but rather “connections”. Another difference is that there are many different paid levels in addition to the free membership. In the free version, you are limited to sending messages to people who are within 3 degrees of connection to you, unless the other person is a paying member with the enhanced messaging service.
LinkedIn is also a great place to find people by location or occupation. You can overdo it, but these Profile searches make it very easy to focus in on the area or type of background of people you want to connect with. I actually exceeded my monthly limit for Profile searches on the 8th of April, it calls me a Power Searcher. So to get access to a larger number of searches I would have to upgrade, and I may try that sometime in the future.
You are mainly limited to posting pictures and fairly short videos, unless you do a Live video which can be longer. You also interact by following other users, liking and commenting on their posts.
I recommend looking into it if you have a smartphone. It is possible to do some of the features such as commenting and liking, and following on a computer, but posting requires you to be using the mobile app.
Pictures and videos are a very good way to get into the emotions of your potential business connections. And emotions are what most of our decisions are really based on, no matter how much we might like to think we are using reason for everything.
YouTube is the second most popular social media platform. More than 2 billion monthly viewers.
So much video content, and video is a great way to let people get to know you so they can decide if they want to trust you and get into business with you. I have not produced any videos yet for my business connections but I plan to start doing it very soon.
It’s also considered the second biggest search engine after Google. I’m sure you all use it already. But it has so much potential for use in business. Plenty of people make a living from just their YouTube channel.
Although the rules do change from time to time and I wouldn’t recommend being totally dependent on just one of these platforms by itself, any of them.
I don’t want to take up a lot of time discussing other options, because I feel you should really start off with one or more of the platforms I have already mentioned. But some other key sites you can really benefit from in your social media marketing of your business are:
Twitter – 330 million active monthly users. I have tweeted quite a bit, and it is a good place to get views for content.
But it does have the disadvantage that there are so many messages that your tweets tend to not stay visible very long, unless someone is actively following you and goes to your profile page. It also lacks the degree of detail in your profile and is not quite up to snuff with Facebook and LinkedIn as a place to find people for your business, in terms of its features. But its popularity makes it a place you would be unwise to ignore.
Reddit – also 330 million active users in the most recent numbers available
Qzone and Weibo, very big, popular in China, both in excess of 300 million active monthly users. (Weibo at least has an English translation also). Western social media platforms are banned there, but some other big ones in China are WeChat and Youku. If you intend to extend your business in China that will give you access to a very large pool of potential customers or prospects. I have not done this personally but am sharing the information so you can make your own decision.
Pinterest – also a picture posting site, but you can interact by posting pins from other people, and organize them into your own special boards. I’ve really enjoyed this one, as it is super-easy to pin pictures from most social media platforms (not Facebook, for some reason).
Some other very popular ones are Ask.fm, Tumblr, Flickr, VK and Odnoklassniki (most used in Russia), and Meetup.
Another one I’ve enjoyed is Quora.com, a place where people interact by asking and answering questions, on any topic.
So Many to Choose From
There are so many great choices when it comes to putting out the word about your business. You can also do podcasts, email, and other options. But the main thing is to choose something and get started!
Get cracking at it and best wishes to your endeavors!