What is a community?
When we are using the term community in business conversations, this can mean a lot of different things. A community is generally meaning a unified body of individuals in a geographic area or people with common interests. As more and more social media platforms become popular, more of us are finding communities online. I belong to a lot of Facebook Groups, Meetup Groups, and other platforms.
From a business perspective, a community can mean your clients or potential customers. The community can be represented in fans, members, followers, e-mail address on your database, followers on your blog or business online group, people in your town viewing your storefront, reading your article in the local newspaper and more.
As you can see in this chart, Facebook is still dominating as the most popular social networks in the United States. This chart is taken from data in November of 2016. It is reported that teenagers think Facebook is less cool than Instagram and Snapchat. I can attest to this with my teenager – she has Facebook but communicates daily through Snapchat and Instagram.
Facebook is a great way for businesses to reach their community through one of their types of pages:
- Local business or place
- Company organization or institution
- Brand or product
- Artist, Bank or Public Figure
- Cause or Community
It is fairly important to strategize which type of page you should use when starting a new one. As a business with a storefront or actual local address, the Local Business or Place should be claimed. This is an easy way to help yourself out with SEO. Facebook specifically recommends a “Page” be created if you have a business, brand or product. This will allow you to engage with people on Facebook and gives you tools to manage and track engagement. Engagement refers to the various ways your community interacts with your Page.
If you have already started using your personal Facebook page to promote your business, you can continue this way if you don’t mind using your personal page for your private content intermingled with your business content. Please note, that Facebook states in their help section that it is against the Facebook Terms to use your personal account to represent something other than yourself, specifically citing “Your Business”. We suggest making your business stand out as a serious business and create and use your own Business Page. SEO side note, Google’s search algorithm does take into account what your social media profile looks like. This means Google may serve your business website higher in SERP (Search Engine Results Page) if you have a high number of followers on social media accounts. It is possible to convert your personal Facebook account to a business page.
It is noteworthy that as of August 1st, 2017, Facebook reports they have over 2.01 billion monthly active users. This represents a 17% increase from 2016. Similar to Google, Facebook is just too big to ignore when you have a business. Find more Facebook stats here. Facebook statistics highlights:
- 2.01 billion monthly users
- 1.15 billion mobile daily active users
- 1.32 billion people login into their Facebook account daily
- 10 million websites displaying “Like” or “Share” is viewed daily, on average
- Age 25 to 34 is the most common age demographic
- 5 new profiles are created every second
- More women than men use Facebook (but only by 10%)
- 1 to 3 PM mid-week – highest traffic occurs, however, best return on post is 7:00 PM
- 4.75 billion pieces of content shared daily (May 2013)
- 1 out of 5 page views occurs in the U.S.
- 42% of marketers’ report that Facebook is critical or important to their business
One last note about Facebook for the small business owner, advertising on Facebook is relatively easy and can be very narrowly targeted, for the type of target audience, you are seeking.
The next highest social media community/channel is YouTube. YouTube can be used for small business by uploading videos. The videos range from personally created with your phone to professionally filmed and edited commercials. YouTube has tons of information for “Do-It-Yourself” people. The next time you think of, “how do I…”, go to YouTube.com and search your topic. One important SEO note is that YouTube uses a separate search engine than Google does so it is important to optimize your videos on YouTube just like you optimize your content on your website for SEO.
Twitter has a much smaller user number than Facebook and YouTube and I hear rumors every now and then that Twitter is going away. Ha! If that were the case, I am pretty sure Donald Trump would fund it, just so he can keep his voice being heard. In my experience, Twitter is used more as a Business – to – Business tool. I also like to post Twitter mentions of events I am at to give those presenters some free publicity and acknowledgment that what they are doing has been heard, enjoyed and is useful.
Reddit is another platform that doesn’t compare in volume of users with Facebook or YouTube and most likely doesn’t have the brand awareness Twitter has, nevertheless, it has almost as many users as Twitter. Reddit is a social platform centered around users discussing social news, web content and more. Users can submit their own links of content in direct links and test posts. Basically, this can be used for a source on what is new and popular on the Internet. A Reddit user can vote on content and it will rise to the top of community pages. Individual communities on Reddit are called “subreddits”.
Personally, I use Facebook Groups for interacting in various professional groups (as a resource for knowledge or ideas). I use Twitter to get incoming information from industry leaders I respect and like to get their musings. I go to YouTube for instructional videos. I try to use Snapchat to stay hip with my daughter and I set up an Instagram page for my very photogenic and funny dog because I love to take videos and pictures of her and don’t want to bore my friends on Facebook to tears with all that content!