What 7 social media websites are the best for SMB online presence?

Choosing the right social media outlet for your small business depends on many factors related, but not limited, to:

  1. Your business,
  2. Your customers and
  3. The existent in-house knowledge of the people in charge of executing your social media promotion campaigns.

This article assumes that you won’t be outsourcing your social media activities to external agencies, since in such case this article should be “old news” to a savvy social media manager. social-media-overwhelm2 The number of social media websites has grown substantially. Some big ones are expanding everyday, others are being born and are growing in popularity and old ones are losing their shine and are cast into oblivion. As such, making the right choice for a social media can be a tedious process. Not all social media populate the right audience for your marketing messages or have the features you are looking for.

It’s okay to be selective, as long as you have a clear social media motive & objective with high Return on Investment (ROI) expectations.

Before we move on to recommending the best social media websites for small businesses, there are some rules of thumb that need to be kept in mind before you even attempt making a choice for a perfect social media match.

1. Know what Social Media are in relation to Marketing

If you are new to social media, or if your knowledge of social media is limited to having a Facebook profile, browsing videos in YouTube or posting some pictures on Instagram, you need to get to know social media a little bit more first. Read articles about them, scroll down the homepage and read the “unexplored sections” of your favourite social media website like [advertisement], [about us], [FAQs, Frequently Asked Questions], [privacy statements] etc. There is business model behind every social media website and this business model relies heavily on people like you using it as a marketing platform, whether paid or free. The good thing about social media is that it allows for free and low-budget marketing. You can achieve a lot through posting excellent content & mastering the art of effective social engagement (attractive call to action messages). You can read more about the relation between social media and marketing in my other article with title: “How Long Will Social Media Marketing Stay Effective“. https://twitter.com/OpenAnswer/status/495607482300235776   Also, try to immerse yourself in the vast literature that has been written on social media behaviour and strategy. It will help you understand a number of important, though seemingly trivial, elements of social media interaction and engagement that are vital for your success. You may be able to answer questions like:

  1. Why do people click on some posts but ignore others?
  2. What is viral sharing and how can I transform it into “viral marketing” of my product page or blog post?
  3. Why are video’s, pictures and emotional headlines more likely to be liked, clicked on and shared than others?
  4. What causes people to not like my company’s Facebook page, dislike my YouTube video or unfollow me on Twitter?
  5.  How can social media success be measured? What tools can I use and what metrics should I set?

2. See how others, competitors, are doing it.

Yes, do it! We were all once beginners and there is a first time for everything. Take the opportunity to check how your competitors specifically are going about their social media exposure or read clear-cut case-studies about social media successes (and failures) for small business within your geography, customer demography or business sector. This is only another way of conducting the oh so vital market research before you draw up the even more vital Social Media Marketing Plan. (You are going to make a plan, aren’t you?)

3. Be social, creative, authentic, engaged, active and communicative.

social-media-signs As the name implies, social media is all about being social, socially active and sociable (= mostly likeable). You or the person(s) in charge of carrying out your social media campaigns should also have some creativity in compelling writing, attractive design or a reasonable mix of both. Some knowledge of HTML code (for embedding images, video’s, tweets etc.), web design, graphic design or image manipulation skills may come in handy. A successful blogger is mostly someone who has a sufficient dose of these skills to lead a small-scale social media campaign.

4. Know how social media performance is monitored and managed.

SocialMediaEngagement Putting all of your creative development and digital assets out there on social media is not enough. Plug yourself into the rich vein of social media analytics tools like Hootsuite, BufferApp, TweetDeck etc or more advanced ones like Sysomos. See whether such tools can deliver answers to questions, such as:

  1. How would you know that what you are doing is right or wrong?
  2. What kind of content seems to bring about more engagement through clicks, likes, shares or favourites?
  3. How would you know that your declining sales or increasing website hits are the result of your social media activity?
  4. How can you distinguish between the performance of your Twitter account, YouTube channel and Facebook company page?
  5. Why has your LinkedIn company page not been followed or liked for whole 3 months?

5. Draw up a water-proof Social Media Plan and follow it up with analysis and review.

Your business plan can contain any elements you deem important to your company’s social media success, but it should definitely include the following main elements:

  1. Your business goals and objectives: identify them and define them.
  2. Your social media objectives in relation to your business goals
  3. Define your parameters and metrics pertaining to these objectives: choose the right tools to manage your online performance.
  4. Identify and define your target group: is it your existing customers, potential customers or social media influencers (Brand PR)?
  5. Keep the competition’s online presence in mind: research & calculate their social media performance in terms of fellowship numbers AND engagement rates.

The 7 best social media websites for small business.

social-media-logos-100339762-orig I will let you do you own research on the specific feature of each of the social media websites I selected and move on to recommending them in order of preference or fitness to most small businesses’ marketing objectives. I would aim for the big 5: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ & YouTubeincluding photo and interest sharing platforms, Instagram & Pinterest in one category and some “new-comers”. The reasoning behind my selection is derived from their authority, functionality, market leadership, technological advancement, clear advertising models, being international (multilingual), ease of use and off course big number of members (= more exposure). If your business is a B2C small business, the best social media platforms I recommend in order of relevance & importance are:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Google+
  4. LinkedIn
  5. YouTube (becomes a top-3 if you can make engaging video, relevant to your business)
  6. Instagram or Pinterest (moves up to number two or three if it is a product, or a service, deriving value & marketability from design or packaging = fancy photo’s. Like cloths or shoes or beauty services or accessories)
  7. Ryze

If a B2B small business, the best social media I recommend  in order of relevance & importance are:

  1. LinkedIn
  2. Google+
  3. Twitter
  4. Facebook
  5. YouTube (becomes a top-3 if you can make engaging video, relevant to your business)
  6. Instagram or Pinterest (become more important if it is a product, not a service, deriving value & marketability from design or packaging = fancy photo’s. Like office stationery, ornaments or furniture)
  7. Quora
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angry-boss-firing-woman

How can a manager control his temper?

Which one is more effective: talking or barking?

angry-boss-firing-woman

When it comes to controlling emotions (temper) it is always easier said than done. But it can be trained and it all starts with creating self-awareness about our emotions. Having such awareness specifically denotes the importance of having a high degree of social & emotional intelligence in the discipline of management (the managing of others, whether employees, business relations or random members of our social circles).

how_to_control_your_temper_

We all know the cliché that is not so much a cliché actually but closer to a fact:

you can’t control something you do not know well

&

you cannot manage others if you can’t even manage yourself.

I try to remind myself that emotions can always choose the rational path of calm words (smart & effective communication) instead of deeds and automatic reactions (impulsive communication). But our emotional reactions are naturally faster than our rational considerations. That’s a bio-physiological fact we can’t do much about, but can only tame gradually through training and lots of practice.

Talking

If you think about it, you can always TALK about your emotions; how angry, disappointed, misunderstood, tensed, worried or impatient you are about a certain employee’s attitude or performance, instead of BARKING OUT these emotions.

But the problem of emotions control often arises when:

  1. We think that our true thought/position in a certain situation can only be fully communicated, understood & respected by others when it is accompanied by emotion.
  2. We think that others will only take us seriously when they see our emotions (which can be true by the way depending on your audience and their level of social intelligence)
  3. Talking is viewed as a sign of weakness (culturally or group-collectively) and barking as a form of strength (also, culturally or group-collectively).
  4. We are not the talking type that releases regularly and timely but the type that bottles up impressions about others until they evolve into powerful untameable emotions that erupt at once like a volcano in the most poorly-timed & destructive manner!

Coaching

Controlling emotions does not necessarily imply suppressing them, but rather channelling them to reach effective communication. That’s why a face-to-face setting is usually preferred in solving conflicts, with as less external factors as possible influencing the calm & effectiveness of communication.

Communication is best served when conducted in a rational manner based on words and voiced thoughts that describe our emotions clearly & constructively, instead of uncontrolled eruptions that describe our words and thoughts poorly & destructively.

Poet Sarah Kay

Spoken poetry: If I should have a daughter …

If I should have a daughter…

If I should have a daughter, I would have her listen to this

I would tell her she would never have to fall into the abyss,

That she is loved & worthy, regardless of others might say,

That she’s as cute, smart, funny & beautiful, as is Sarah Kay

And that she can be a more talented poet herself, one day.

So, when she thinks that her life is devoid from a true role-model,

And that the world is beating her down in a harsh & endless struggle,

That she doesn’t know any more who to love, hate, hug, or strangle,

That she could create one in her own fantastic imagination,

A lady freed from cultural dogmas & superficial fascination,

A fairy-tail young lady, more perfect than her life can present,

Confidently happy & content, yet as imperfect as reality can get.


Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter …

self_motivation

If you can’t motivate yourself, nobody else will. Do you agree?

Yes, and no.

Self-motivation, when existent, is more powerful than any external motivational factor, yes. It’s no wonder that “self-motivational abilities” are often mentioned as a characteristic trait/habit of the majority of successful people.

Achieve-Greater-Success-With-a-Daily-Self-Motivating-RegimenHaving said this, I also believe that all humans experience some degree of low motivation at some stages of their lives, as a result of continuous hardships, disappointments or “bad luck”, even when they’re putting in their utmost energy and positive hope in it. In such case, the power of external motivation comes in very handy or even necessary. 

Sometimes that inspirational voice in ourselves dies out or is muted down though all kinds of factors and it does no harm in such case to call in the help of external motivators, whether professional or simply existent in our comfort zones; a good friend, a colleague or a family member. 

Tony Robbins: Why we do what we do

Motivation has become an industry of itself, with big names like Anthony Robbins inspiring millions around the world with what often sounds like common sense but nonetheless very powerful to hear repetitively. But also through world-famous platforms like TED Talks featuring people from all backgrounds and colours who share the most inspiring words that we need to hear in order to revive our desire to achieve, flourish or believe in ourselves once again.

Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation

 

 

WRITING-STYLES

What books influenced your writing career the most?

Great question!

I have no writing career as such, but I do enjoy writing. I can better share who my favourite authors per language were & how others described my style of writing.

Naguib Mahfouz‘s novels influenced my Arabic the most. I read them all, except for about 7 novels. His novels are a must read for anyone who loves culture-rich literature.

Naguib Mahfouz

Naguib Mahfouz

Harry Mullisch‘s books must have influenced my Dutch, although I’m told to have a distinct non-typical Dutch style of my own through a blend of some English and Arabic influences, clearly obvious in my use of long sentences that don’t break my thoughts and my preferred use of formal jargon making it closer to “legal language”, like this one long sentence right here!

I read his most famed ones like “The Assault” & “The Discovery of Heaven”; a reading tip for lovers of world literature.

Harry-Mullisch

Harry Mullisch

English is more of an indiscriminate mix. Though, I recently received the valuable comment from my most valued critic, my father, that I have something of Franz Kafka‘s & Fyodor Dostoyevsky‘s styles in my critical writing (both non-native English authors by the way) . I considered such a far-fetched comparison a true compliment and one to follow-through with!

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka

Having read only the translations of their works, my thanks should go out to the translators, I guess; a humble ode to the most underrated professionals throughout history!

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky

keep-calm-and-be-extraordinary

Extraordinary people DO extraordinary things compared to ordinary people. Do you agree?

Deeds speak louder than words.

So, if people do extraordinary things, this makes them extraordinary by nature of their deeds.

Having said this, very typically ordinary people are capable of doing what is viewed by others as “extraordinary things” too with less talking or marketing of self, while placing more value on being just “ordinary people”.

This in itself, is a high form of being extraordinarily GENUINE, which again in itself is an extraordinary thing to achieve in our time where image is everything, right?

Off course, this does not necessarily mean that people who promote themselves are not genuine. After all, they are just being genuinely themselves (which is: self-promoting people).

Going back to the original argument, some people may actually SAY extraordinary things without backing it up with any deed. They are just talkers. But what they say is extraordinary in every aspect, the foremost of which that we know for a fact that what they say cannot and will never result in any action, which makes it all the more extraordinary that they say it and keep saying it, in the first place.

Yes… I think this wraps it up a bit, for now, before I “get dizzy” from (what seems like) a circular reasoning I’m heading towards!

I hope it makes some sense. And if it doesn’t, it doesn’t really matter cause it is posted anyway. Do you agree?