4 Social Media Sites Small Businesses Should Use

April 29th, 2009 |


Ploked.com is all about being plugged into social media. We strive to provide informative, relevant, and unique perspectives in the world of social media.

One thing that is great about social media is that it is an area that anyone can enter this media for free. By anyone, I mean individuals, large corporations, non profit organizations, and small businesses. Small businesses are one of the groups who can gain the most from an effective social media campaign.

If you own or work for a small business, chances are that you don’t have alot of time to jump around from one social media site to another each day. Chances are that once you do get online into social networks you feel that you are diving into a rabbit hole with no end in sight.

With so many social networks available, which are the right ones for small business owners? No need to worry, I outline my recommendations below.


You have probably heard enough about Twitter lately to make your head spin.  However, this site tops the list in that it is definitely the one social networking site small businesses need to be a part of.  Twitter offers what many other social networking sites do not offer, the ability to interact with customers and clients in a brief, real time conversation.

Twitter allows for small businesses to reach thousands of potential customers and clients for free.  This is something that is available to anyone who joins Twitter.  It puts small business on the same playing field as large multi-million dollar corporations.


LinkedIn is geared towards business professionals.  Depending on the nature of your business, LinkedIn can prove to be a very important network to be a part of.  Aside from creating a business profile, the site has a “question & answers” section where you can generate some very good traffic and leads for your small business.

Using LinkedIn Answers, you are able to view questions about topics that may relate to your product or services.  Should you find a question you can answer; provide a detailed solution to the problem and you can not only create a lead with the person who answered the question, but you can also establish credibility as a trusted and reliable source for the topic at hand.

Providing a few answers a day will add up over time and result in you and your company as a source to turn to in the industry.

Yahoo Answers

Similar to the concept of LinkedIn Answers, Yahoo Answers is a solution that is also a great source for producing new leads.  From my experience, Yahoo Answers for the most part is more about individuals looking for a solution rather than a business looking for help.

If your small business offers solutions that can be used by both individuals and companies, Yahoo Answers is a suggested avenue to explore to generate new conversation about your company.


Everyone likes to watch videos.  Why not upload your latest how to or product demonstration to YouTube?  Not only will you get some traffic/branding with your uploaded content, but you can also embed these same videos on your own website.  This works great if you can show your product or service in action right on the page where they can order!

The reason I listed YouTube and not another site like Vimeo (which I really like), is simply because the traffic that YouTube gets.  Vimeo has better features and quality than Youtube, but is not quite yet on the same traffic level.

Honorable Mentions

Should you have more time, or just want more options to increase your visibility and brand awareness, here are a few other sites to check out depending on what your small business offers in the form of products or services.

  • Vimeo – Video uploading site
  • Facebook – Social networking site
  • Naymz – Social networking site for professionals
  • Spoke – Social networking site for business people

What Do You Use?

Which social media sites do you use to market your small business?  Do you try to be part of them all, or concentrate on just a few?  How do you handle the overload of social media sites to choose from?

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Mike_McDermott Mike_McDermott

    LinkedIn is probably the most appropriate for small businesses to build connections. It also creates positive buzz for your company to attract great talent.
    LinkedIn also allows you a way to communicate within your industry, so your small business can have a voice within it.

  • http://www.fabulousphotogifts.co.uk Fabulous Photo Gifts

    The last time I checked LinkedIn, I got the impression that there weren't many British business users.

    Whilst Fabulous Photo Gifts does receive a few non UK orders – mostly ex-pats living abroad (for insurance purposes, we cannot deliver directly to the USA), pretty much most of our orders come from UK residents and businesses.

    Is there a similar UK orientated directory / service you know of or has LinkedIn improved in its UK appeal.

    We'd love to do more with businesses – we can provide really small qty's (1 to 100 off) at very competitive prices – most same image/print runs on our photo gifts start at much higher quantities with a lot of printers / producers.



  • http://twitter.com/glennhilton Glenn Hilton

    For Linkedin users, you will want to utilize their groups feature. To get started just do a search for groups that intersect with your targets verticals. I've found groups to be one of the most valuable areas for our business.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Hartmut_Rast Hartmut Rast

    LinkedIn is my favorite business network where I've been building up valuable connections all around the world not even in Europe. I've made very positive experiences within various group discussions on a sophisticated level and the members have always been very supportive and fully co-operate. Moreover, LinkedIn offers very interesting tools even at a basic membership so that you can use the platform as a personal web-site if you like. I highly recommend to sign in.

  • http://www.billboorman.co.uk Bill Boorman

    Each social networking site has its own benefits. I think the key is deciding what you want to get out of it and set clear objectives before venturing in. This prevents lots of wasted time. I know of many users of linked in etc who have built up thousands of connections and have never turned a dollar. That is thousands of man hours invested without ever getting a return. You wouldn't allow that in any other part of your business so why in social media?
    I advise recruitment businesses across Europe on many areas of their operation as a management consultant and trainer. Social networking has become a key discussion topic. The 2 key areas to identify before selecting platforms are if your products or services are suitable for marketing via the web and what your sales strategy is going to be once you've made the introductions. Like any marketing you will fail without sales activity and human contact.

  • http://www.billboorman.co.uk Bill Boorman

    In my business we began targeting individuals in the sector via linked in. It took a few months to build 200+ of the right connections. People who could buy from me or influence the decision. I then joined groups in my sector and started posting and contributing. My contributions are detailed and take time. This is how you get seen as an expert and multiply your connections. We produced a white paper relevant to the issues of the day and offered this out to anyone by return e- mail or the website. We had over 1000 requests that connected with us directly rather than via social media.

  • http://www.billboorman.co.uk Bill Boorman

    . Phase 2 saw us launch a group, The Good News Group (Recruiters.) This was aimed at spreading good news and brought a wider audience to our opinions, acting as our blog. The group is also often quoted in other blogs and the media increasing our brand exposure. This was backed up by publishing a video on you tube covering the key issues of the white paper. When people see you, they start to identify with you as a person as well as a name on the PC. This aim has been achieved with the introduction of Twitter. I see linked in as being about corporate branding and twitter about personal branding. I contribute regularly and interact with others rather than just retweeting. This has greatly increased our following and has resulted in appearing in additional talk shows, videos, blogs and seminar speaking.

  • http://www.billboorman.co.uk Bill Boorman

    I present at industry conferences on a regular basis and refer people to the site. While some of the audience may not be ready to meet or pick the phone up, they are very happy to link up, join groups, twitter or get involved. These are tomorrow’s customers.
    We have been able to build up an international following that will provide a platform for launching on-line training products and webinars early next year. This has been achieved in record time due to social networking but does take time. The investment in time needs to be worth it. It has for us!

  • http://www.billboorman.co.uk Bill Boorman

    Last recommendations, look at Xing as well as linked in for European coverage. I also believe that talk blogs are the way to go to link brand with person, I recently guested on the famed "Recruitment Animal Show" and found this platform great to get the message across. Social networks are key to the marketing plan but need to work in unison with the sales plan and your product!
    Be glad to offer any advice to anyone who wants to e-mail me bill@billboorman.co.uk or follow me on linked in http://www.linkedin.com/in/billboorman
    follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/BillBoorman

  • http://www.marketingwithmoxie.com Rick

    I recommend Biznik. http://www.biznik.com. Biznik combines the best of LinkedIn with local in-person networking, and you've gotta love their tag line: "Business Networking that Doesn't Suck." There is a world of resources on the website, but the magic happens at the events. You will make genuine connections without all hype of most business networks. If there's not a biznik community in your city. Start one.

  • Anne-Marie

    I use TweetDeck to manage Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and LinkedIn. With TweetDeck you can also schedule tweets.

  • susiesharp

    Both Naymz and Spokeo are bad, bad places to belong to. All the information you put there is distributed to 3rd parties. Spokeo, if you go to the very bottom of the page, will let you remove 2 listings a day. Go on right now, see if you're there… or your parents or kids and remove them. And avoid Naymz – it will spam all your friends.