Tag Archives: social media for small business

13 Types of Social Media Platforms and Counting

When I talk to people about social media marketing, the overwhelming majority of people only think about Facebook. They think social media equals Facebook. Although that makes sense given the ubiquity and widespread adoption of this social network, it is NOT the only lemonade stand on the block! Social media has proliferated and evolved into many new shapes and forms and there might be some hidden gems waiting for you and your business.

Social media platforms

So what is social media?


Since the term “social media” was first introduced into our lexicon in 2004, the rapid changes in technologies and fragmentation into various forms of social media has been beyond belief. This evolution makes defining social media a bit slippery. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the definition of social media is “forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content”. Alright, that makes sense so let’s take a look at all of the different types of social media platforms that fit this definition.

List of social media platforms


  1. Social networking sites– Facebook, Google Plus, CafeMom, Gather, Fitsugar
  2. Micro-blogging sites– Twitter, Tumblr, Posterous
  3. Publishing tools– WordPress, Blogger, Squarespace
  4. Collaboration tools– Wikipedia, WikiTravel, WikiBooks
  5. Rating/Review sites– Amazon ratings, Angie’s List
  6. Photo sharing sites– Flikr, Instagram, Pinterest
  7. Video sharing sites– YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler
  8. Personal broadcasting tools– Blog Talk radio, Ustream, Livestream
  9. Virtual worlds– Second Life, World of Warcraft, Farmville
  10. Location based services– Check-ins, Facebook Places, Foursquare, Yelp
  11. Widgets– Profile badges, Like buttons
  12. Social bookmarking and news aggregation– Digg, Delicious
  13. Group buying– Groupon, Living Social, Crowdsavings


Consider social media tools for business


As a small business owner you may feel overwhelmed with all of the options. Take a deep breath…and know that you should NOT be active in all of these social media platforms for your business. Consider your business objectives and develop a targeted social media marketing strategy while being realistic about the time and energy you are willing to expend in your social media efforts.

social media marketing platforms

The main message is that there might be social media marketing alternatives to Facebook and other social networking sites that could give you a considerable business advantage. With Facebook moving to the Facebook Timeline format for all business pages (which many consider a disadvantage for small businesses) looking at alternative social media marketing platforms may be more important than ever. Before you launch your presence on any platform consider the options and what works best for your unique business. Remember, strategy before technology!

Can you think of any social media platforms that I’ve missed? Thanks for commenting!



Why Small Businesses Need a Social Media Marketing Strategy

We have all heard the jaw dropping statistics on the massive proliferation of social media. 800 million Facebook users, millions of tweets per day, Facebook would be the fourth largest country… By now you should know that social media is not only here to stay, it is a crucial part of any marketing strategy. And small, local businesses in particular have a tremendous amount to gain on social media platforms. The 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report showed that when using social media, small businesses are twice as likely to discover qualified leads over other business types.

Social media marketing plan

[pullquote style=”right”]Small businesses are twice as likely to discover qualified leads over other business types.[/pullquote]


Word-of-mouth marketing builds local business

Local businesses have always thrived using word-of-mouth marketing and generating referrals from happy customers. So it’s not hard to understand why using social media’s power to amplify word-of-mouth marketing messages is a must for small businesses. However, social media has had slower adoption in local small businesses mainly due to lack of resources, hurdles with technical know-how, or uncertainties about effective usage or social media ROI. I’ve also heard business owners say that they tried social media marketing and it was a waste of time.


The biggest mistake in social media marketing

The biggest mistake many small businesses make when implementing a social media marketing campaign is not having a strategy or plan. The “if we build it they will come” mentality is ineffective and will leave you bewildered and coming up with mistaken ideas like “social media marketing just doesn’t work in my industry” or “there is no advantage of using social media in my market”. Putting up a Facebook fan page and then waiting for users to appear is the same as making jewelry and then trying to sell it out of your front yard hoping that the right customer strolls by. Unfortunately this is what many small businesses do and then they declare that social media marketing doesn’t work.


When hearing other people’s negative experiences with social media marketing, please keep these questions in mind:

    • Did they have a robust social media strategy and implementation plan?
    • Was it aligned with their business objectives?
    • Did they stay committed to their plan long enough to build meaningful relationships with their community?


Failing to plan is planning to fail

As a wise man once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Don’t let another business’s lack of social media planning sabotage your social media success! Don’t miss your opportunity to meaningfully connect with your customers. Develop a social media marketing strategy and leverage the social media platforms to achieve your business goals.

So, has hearing other’s negative opinions about social media marketing impacted you and your success? Please share your experiences.