Category Archives: 3 Business

merchant chargeback protection

It seems like mobile banking is working to the advantage of consumers. Disputing credit card charges has never been so easy. And with the automation of the dispute process, consumers can now file complaints by just a few clicks. Even so, merchants still have much to worry about. Especially, following the report from Aite Group showing that all banks in the United States will process to the tune of $5.6B in Chargebacks this year—a 17% rise from 2015s charges.

This means small business owners must be prepared to fight Chargebacks. But most importantly, they ought to watch out for the most common causes of Chargebacks.  According to Chargebacks911, the obvious loopholes include;

  • Transaction not recognized by cardholder
  • Fraudulent transactions
  • Duplicate processing
  • Failure to describe service rendered or product paid for
  • Transactions not recognized by cardholder
  • Failure to process a credit.

To ensure you don’t suffer too many Chargebacks this year, here are 5 top tips any Merchant should practice this year.

 

Make the most of all available tech

Go for virtually all types of tech that are quick at detecting fraudulent transactions and stopping Chargebacks before they are fully processed. This way you can get in touch with the issuing bank before the acquiring bank receives a request for a chargeback.

Verify that the buyer is the actual cardholder

While it’s easy to detect a fraudulent transaction by carrying out a few checks, most merchants often ignore these procedures. Always ensure that the name on the buyer’s ID matches the one on the credit card. Such simple checks are great ways to prevent fraudulent transactions and do away with avoidable Chargebacks.

Avoid shortcuts- follow the protocols set by your account provider

Be sure to familiarise with the specific requirements and guidelines of your credit card processor.  eMerchantBroker is a good example of a processor that provides merchants with  merchant chargeback protection which also includes strict security protocols. Failure to abide by these practices may leave you susceptible to unnecessary Chargebacks.

Use a chip card reader

If you still use the traditional magnetic strip reader, then that must be the reason you are still vulnerable to fraud. Why not purchase an EMV-ready credit card reader or check with your processor to see if they have other options?  Remember, the law will most probably rule in favor of the customer keeping in mind that the liability rule shifted fraud accountability to the “least EMV-ready party.”

Keep records

Regardless of how vigilant you are, you can never stop all Chargebacks. However, in case you have to deal with any, you are better off if they are reversed. Proper documentation is one way to improve your chances of winning a chargeback dispute when responding to a customer’s claims.

Now you know all the common causes of Chargebacks and how to fight against them. However, knowledge is never useful unless put to good use. Implementing all the above strategies will help you avoid unnecessary Chargebacks and win all null Chargebacks.

Successful Business With Woodworking Workshop

Therefore, if you want to start a new business then you can start a woodworking workshop. You can hire professional artisans and can buy some woodworking supply for starting this business. If you have a garage then you can turn it into a little workshop. This will help you in saving the money that you have to invest on renting a commercial space for worksop.

It is very important to invest on latest woodworking supplies for starting a workshop. Therefore, you should research about the latest ones available in market before buying these supplies. You can search online with keywords like woodworking supply in Canada. This online search will help you in attaining the names of all the latest woodworking supplies and the online retailers, who offer these supplies. You can easily get in touch with any of these online retailers and can order your requirement without any hassle. However, before ordering these supplies, you should compare the price quoted by different online retailers. This will help you in attaining best deal for woodworking supplies.

Wood is one of the most useful materials that nature has blessed us with. This material is obtained from trees and it can be shaped into different types of objects that we use in our routine life. From chairs to kitchen utensils, wood is also used for making a wide range of objects and products that are an integral part of our lives. Apart from fabrication of useful objects like furniture, wood is also used for making decorative objects. This material is carved for creating fascinating decorative objects like statues, showpieces, and wall hangings. The main factor that has made wood a popular material is that it is easy to work on. You can easily carve it into almost any shape with the help of woodworking tools. Apart from this, wood is also quite durable and objects made from wood can last for years in a row. You must have seen all those ancient monuments that still have woodwork in good condition. From old doors to ancient sculptures, you can assess the durability of this material by inspecting innumerable objects that you come across almost every day.

Efficiency of Team With Workshop Teambuilding

Whether it is your home or office, whatever you are able to achieve is only because of the support of many people from behind. When your boss declares in front of the employees that you are the most dedicated worker of the organisation, the compliment is definitely yours, but do remember if your colleagues would not have supported and worked with you, you    would not have received such an honourable compliment. Workshop teambuilding teaches you not to forget the support of the people behind you and always attribute the credit behind your success to them without forgetting. With workshop teambuilding, you get to know several things that can enable you strengthen your bond with your colleagues and management.

Very small things in life have major impacts on the people around you. It has been seen in recent times that whatever project is undertaken in the organisations, a team is formed at first and the task is divided among the members by the team leader. But most of the times, the team members are found to be incompatible with each other. As a result of this, the entire project becomes a failure. With workshop teambuilding, the employees are trained with the skills that are required to be there within the individuals while they work in a team. When it comes to holding creatieve workshops, there are many agencies that help the corporate organisation in making every arrangement to the T. This ensures that the workshop will surely be effective for the employees.

When any organisation cracks a project, there is a huge investment that is made for it and hence there is a need to ensure valuable returns. To carry out the tasks efficiently and in a proper order, the project manager creates a team of employees who are the most eligible ones for making the project successful. In order to ensure that the team members remain in good terms with each other, the management holds workshop teambuilding. Corporate workshop teambuilding is essential to be considered as without proper functioning of a team, it is not possible to make a business productive and effective.

While organising creatieve workshops, several factors that are required to be taken into due consideration. You may think that a venue decided for creative workshops does not affect the effectiveness of the sessions. But of course, it impacts the mood of the attendees. Thus, choice of a friendly atmosphere and an endearing venue is a must. In addition the activities that are introduced in the workshop teambuilding are also important. Whether it is a dancing event or a laughter sessions or any other entertainment item, it would surely help in developing a friendly relation between the employees, thereby making the bond between the team members excellently stronger.

Wedding Businesses to Help Couples Plan the Best Day Ever

Anyone who’s ever attended or hosted a wedding knows that these events are big business. Engaged couples often seek out the best vendors in the industry to ensure their day is perfect — and they’re willing to pay a hefty price for it. According to the 2016 American Wedding Study, the average wedding cost of a wedding is $26,522, nearly as much as a year of tuition at some private universities.

Brides and grooms are (understandably) picky about the services they choose to make their nuptials special and memorable. These unique businesses help couples make their pre- and post-wedding plans as stress-free as possible.

Though not all couples choose to have one or both spouses change their last name after marriage, those that do often find the legal process intimidating. Miss Now Mrs makes it simple by streamlining all the paperwork you need in one place for one flat fee. Newlyweds looking to make the switch answer some questions about their current and married names and various accounts they hold. Then, these answers are used to complete the appropriate forms. Proofread, print and file, and your legal name change is well underway.

Kristen Rocco, founder of Love Notery, has always been a communicator. Her passion for storytelling led to a fruitful public relations career (even working with Gary Sinise, better known as Lt. Dan from Forrest Gump). Like any good romance, she took a leap of faith with Love Notery to tell great love stories. Rocco’s journalistic skills help her craft a customized “love story” through in-depth interviews with couples. The stories are then printed out as an heirloom keepsake.

This app is a multilayered wedding tool, with checklists for the engaged couple leading up to the wedding, vendor lists, ways to stay on budget, and tools to create a wedding site and registry, the site said. The Knot, which also published a print bridal magazine, even has answers to various social and etiquette questions answered by experts. In addition, the app provides a countdown to the day, so nearly-newlyweds can stay excited.

The quality of smartphone pictures has greatly improved, making collecting guests’ wedding photos worthwhile — and a pain. WedPics is a free app that aggregates wedding photos captured by guests. Users can keep photos organized with the albums feature, which is great for capturing photos of all wedding events such as the engagement party, wedding shower, rehearsal dinner, reception, ceremony and more, the site said.

Registering for wedding items often means signing up with multiple brands to create the best registry. Zola consolidates the process by allowing couples to register for a variety of brands, curated experiences and cash funds on a single page, the site said. Zola goes a step further by giving you autonomy with shipping: Each time you receive a gift, the site notifies you to ship now or later, or in the case of cash gifts, transfer to your bank or convert to a Zola store credit.

How Can Private Healthcare Exchanges Help Your Business?

When it comes to benefits packages, both employees and employers know that one size does not fit all. What is right for a younger, entry-level worker might not make sense for an empty nester with seniority. A flexible benefits package based on employees’ unique situations and income levels is essential to retaining top talent.

As open enrollment approaches, employees will be hitting the exchanges once more to select their health care packages and other benefits for the coming year. Here’s a look at how some employers are using private exchanges to give employees more options, as well as to better manage benefits-related expenses.

Private exchanges are essentially marketplaces where employees can shop online for health insurance and other benefits, including dental, vision and life insurance. Employers first access the private exchange and choose from a variety of carriers the benefits they want to offer, as well as set their specified contribution levels for each offered product. Employees then access the exchange to peruse the products offered by their employer and select the ones that suit their lifestyles and financial needs.

“Think of these exchanges as a store, and each of the types of benefits are aisles,” Steven A. Nyce, director of the Willis Towers Watson Research and Innovation Center, told Business News Daily. “As an employer, you ‘own’ the store and have the ability to decide what products you want to include. So, say, one aisle is medical, [an employee] would have a number of products to choose from in that aisle.”

Depending on what products the employer has selected to offer, employees have their pick of the entire “store.” Those employees who need pet insurance can select it, while those who desire supplemental medical coverage, such as hospital indemnity, are able to as well. The aim is to give customizable control to the individual who is selecting the plan while also stabilizing costs to the employer.

“By facilitating a shift to a defined contribution … private exchanges offer the potential for cost stability to employers, while giving greater choice to employees, albeit with greater financial risk as well,” a 2014 report issued by The Kaiser Foundation reads. “Because the employer defines up front the amount paid to the employee, employers have greater control over how much they spend on health benefits.”

Health benefit costs are a huge consideration for employers. According to a 2015 report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, health care spending grew by $102 billion between 2012 and 2013.  The rapidly increasing costs of health care in the U.S., coupled with employer obligations under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), means keeping health benefits expenses stable is a growing challenge.

To better understand the emerging private exchange marketplace, the Private Exchange Research Council (PERC) partnered with private exchange Liazon to see how consumers were operating within that exchange, and found that employers are offering more products over time and employees are purchasing more as well.

The PERC report found that, on average, employers offer 14 products on their customized exchanges. Medical, dental and vision plans are the most commonly offered by employers: The average company’s benefits package on Liazon includes six medical plans, three dental products and four vision packages from which to choose. Many companies also offer life insurance, legal plans, identity protection, disability benefits and pet insurance.

From 2013 through 2015, employees on average increased the number of products they purchased for their individualized plan from 3.6 to 4.4. A number of factors could be responsible, Nyce said, from the growth of the exchanges to more comfortability among those who have participated in the exchanges for several years.

“We’re seeing an expansion of benefits and a blurring of the lines traditionally seen between retirement and health care, life insurance and disability,” Nyce said. “Those were traditionally in their own silos, but we’re seeing them come together now in a more holistic approach. It provides employees with a unique experience, and they can use [these benefits options] as a platform to grow to a broader set of benefits in the future.”

How to Define Accounting for Business

A strong company can attribute some of its success to its accounting. Without accounting, it would be hard to keep track of your business’s finances and profitability, and you might not know exactly how much money is coming in or going out.

Unless you are well-versed in finance yourself, your business will likely need to enlist the help of a professional accountant. Here’s a breakdown of who accountants are and what they do for your company.

The American Accounting Association defines accounting as “the process of identifying, measuring and communicating economic information to permit informed judgments and decisions by users of the information.” Logging a business’s account payable, accounts receivable and other financial transactions, typically using accounting software, is often how it’s done.

“Accountant use the work done by bookkeepers to produce and analyze financial reports,” said Stan Snyder, CPA. “Although accounting follows the same principles and rules as bookkeeping, an accountant can design a system that will capture all of the details necessary to satisfy the needs of the business – managerial, financial reporting, projection, analysis and tax reporting.”

In the United States, most accountants abide by the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles to present a company’s financial information to those outside of the company in a format that everyone can understand. There are different sets of accounting standards for companies that operate overseas, as well as for local and state government entities.

Harold Averkamp, CPA and owner of Accounting Coach, said accountants also provide a company’s internal management team with the information it needs to keep the business financially healthy. Some of the information will originate from the recorded transactions, while some will consist of estimates and projections based on various assumptions, he said.

Accounting ratios help uncover conditions and trends that are difficult to find by inspecting individual components that make up the ratio, and formulas like this help accountants to come up with a company’s status and projections. Accounting ratios are divided into five main categories:

  • Liquidity ratios: measure liquid assets of the company versus its liabilities
  • Profitability ratios: measure organization’s ability to turn a profit after paying expenses
  • Leverage ratios: measure total debt versus total assets and gauge equity
  • Turnover ratios: measure efficiency by comparing cost of goods sold over a period of time against amount of inventory that was on hand during that same time
  • Market-value ratios: measure company’s economic status compared with others in industry

Cloud Computing: A Small Business Guide

Cloud computing can be confusing. If you’re considering a cloud service for your business, here are three questions to ask:

  1. What type of cloud computing does your business need?
  2. How much are you willing to pay?
  3. Can you deal with the security risks?

To help you answer these questions and better understand the cloud, here is our cloud computing guide for small businesses.

Cloud computing gives users access to data wherever they have an internet connection. In today’s ever-changing business climate, it’s critical that small business owners get what they need right when they need it, whether they’re on their computers, tablets or mobile phones – or in the office, out in the field or on the road. This is exactly the convenience that cloud computing provides.

Cloud computing is an umbrella term for different types of cloud services, including these:

  • Cloud storage – stores and backs up your files for regular access and for sharing and syncing them across devices.
  • Cloud backup – similar to cloud storage, but primarily used as a backup source in the event of a crash, cyberattack or other data loss.
  • Software as a service (SaaS) – uses the web to provide a service, such as Office 365, Google Apps, QuickBooks Online and Salesforce (may also be called Platform as a Service).
  • Cloud hosting – facilitates all types of information sharing, such as email services, application hosting, web-based phone systems and data storage.

For small and midsize businesses (SMBs), the benefits of cloud computing are endless. Cloud computing saves businesses time and money by boosting productivity, improving collaboration and promoting innovation.

Businesses use cloud computing to access information anywhere with any compatible device. Rather than storing information on your computer or a server in your office, cloud computing stores data on the internet. It works by making information available from a central web-based hub that gives anyone with proper credentials access from any location with an internet connection. Cloud computing also syncs data for all devices connected to the cloud, keeping them updated with real-time information.

In the cloud environment, users can access all types of files, use applications as though they were in the office, and even collaborate remotely while working on the same project or presentation on their device as someone on the other side of the globe. Even if you’re away from work or your office server is inaccessible, data in the cloud is always up to date and available wherever, whenever.

Cloud-computing services can range from data storage to functional programs, including accounting, customer service tools and remote desktop hosting.

Business owners use three types of cloud services to store their data and provide services: public, private and hybrid.

Public cloud: A public cloud service is built on an external platform run by a cloud service provider. With this off-site cloud service, users get their own cloud within a shared infrastructure. The provider offers everything from system resources to the security and maintenance of your cloud system. Since it is managed by an outside company specializing in cloud services for a wide range of customers, a public cloud system is great for organizations that want more elasticity, cost-effectiveness and the latest technology.

Private cloud: A private cloud service is a cloud platform built within your own walls on your own hardware and software. Since a private cloud is managed by your own internal IT team, it is ideal for businesses that want exclusive access, more flexibility and greater control over their cloud. To use a private cloud service, however, organizations build their own data centers, making it a costlier cloud option.

Hybrid cloud: A hybrid service employs both private and public clouds. In a hybrid cloud system, an organization’s own IT team manages part of the cloud in-house and the rest off-site. For instance, a hybrid cloud system is perfect for an organization that wants to manage business-related data (such as customer files) in-house but wants to store less-sensitive information with a third party.

The cost of cloud computing varies greatly, depending largely on the type of cloud service you need.

For instance, cloud storage and file-sharing services like Dropbox start with free accounts, but paid plans with advanced features cost $20 and up per month per user. Cloud backup and recovery services like Carbonite cost $59.99 per month.

Amazon Web Services, on the other hand, offers a wide range of cloud services, letting you use its data centers for free or on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Cloud-based software pricing also depends on the provider and industry. Other factors that affect SaaS pricing include the number of users, how you will be launching and distributing the software across the company, tech support, and contract terms.

The drawbacks of cloud computing are twofold. First, implementing any new type of technology will require training personnel and establishing an effective troubleshooting system for during and after the launch. You will also have to address any hesitation among your employees, especially those who are unfamiliar with cloud technology.

Another concern about cloud computing is its security risks. Cyberattacks are at an all-time high, and no business is safe. Business owners and decision-makers primarily worry about sensitive data in the cloud and their vulnerability to unauthorized users. While an organization’s cloud is typically accessed with designated usernames and passwords, verifying user identity itself remains a top concern.

In weighing the risks of cloud computing versus its benefits, business owners are especially concerned about how their information is kept safe in the cloud. The key is finding the right cloud service provider and understanding its contingency plans in the event of a security breach – as well as having your own.

Facebook for Business: Everything You Need to Know

As one of the biggest online social networks, Facebook is practically a necessity for businesses of all sizes. But just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s easy to navigate. The platform has seemingly endless options for everything from page customization to paid advertising, and it can get complicated for anyone who’s unfamiliar with how it works. If you’re ready to take on Facebook for your business, here’s everything you need to know to get you started.

Facebook is a social networking service that was launched in February 2004 by founders Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Andrew McCollum when they were students (and roommates) at Harvard. It started as “thefacebook.com,” a website that was available only to Harvard students and soon expanded to Ivy League universities before opening up membership to students at other colleges and, later, high schools. Now, the service is available to anyone age 13 and older, and has more than 1.55 billion monthly active users as of September 2015, according to the Facebook newsroom.

Facebook went public to investors in 2012, and the company now owns Instagram, another popular social media platform, as well as the widely used chat app WhatsApp, among other products.

Before you can become a Facebook page maven, you need to have solid knowledge of at least some of the basics of using Facebook. To create a Facebook page, you need to have a personal Facebook account, so if you don’t have one already, you’ll need to create one. You don’t have to use your Facebook account for personal reasons if you choose not to, but you do need to be familiar with how the platform works in order to navigate and manage your Facebook page.

If you’re completely new to Facebook and want to learn more about how to use it on a personal level, check out Facebook’s Help Center. This resource will give you details on filling out your profile information, setting up privacy settings, adding friends, and more. For basic Facebook use and business page purposes, however, here is what you need to know:

Creating your Facebook account

To sign up for Facebook, you’ll need to enter some basic personal information, including your first and last name, your email or mobile phone number (you’ll have to enter this twice for confirmation), a password that contains at least six letters or numbers and includes special characters like punctuation marks, your birthday and whether you identify as male or female. Once you’ve filled out the necessary information, click the green Sign Up button to continue creating your account. You’ll then receive either an email or text message (depending on which one you used to sign up) with instructions and a code so you can confirm your account creation.

Twitter for Business: Everything You Need to Know

Social media is an important tool for any business owner, no matter the size and scope of the business. Learning to communicate with your demographic, albeit in 140 characters, can be useful when working with your customers. Learning more about Twitter can only benefit your business.

Twitter is one of the top websites in the world, and is currently ranked No. 8 domestically and globally, according to Internet analytics company Alexa. It has more than 313 million active monthly users, per the company, and 82 percent of those users are active on mobile platforms.

Having Twitter as part of your social media toolbox can propel your business’s legitimacy.

“There are many reasons why a small business needs a social media presence. The most practical reasons have to do with your credibility and discoverability,” Leah Paul, director of marketing at Mediabistro said to Business News Daily in another piece. “It’s important because it’s expected, like having a website, a phone number and an email address.”

Keeping your account(s) organized needs to be a priority. There are a number of native and third-party clients you can use to manage your tweets.

Twitter and Hootsuite have mobile apps for use on your smartphone or tablet, and allow you to add multiple user accounts at once.

Social media plays multiple roles when it comes to business, including yours. There is a place for it in any size business, as it can reach multiple demographics and spread your company’s message. As a business owner, you should carefully consider how Twitter will fit into your overall marketing plan.

Twitter offers tools specifically for marketing and your business.

If you’re working out what is important and works on Twitter (especially in marketing) consider hashtags. These words or phrases gives users the chance to tag an identifying word that groups hundreds (or thousands) of tweets together. Hashtags are searchable and offer the perfect companion for live events.

Hashtags are a great way to make the content you share on the platform visible to users beyond your own followers. There are many highly popular hashtags that generally all active Twitter users are familiar with, like #FollowFriday or #ff, which encourages your followers to reach out to other users you admire or work with, and #ThrowbackThursday or #tbt, with which many users post attention to your vintage or childhood photos and memories. You can also create your own hashtags to draw brand or to events you may be throwing, though it comes with the possibility it may not catch on. Many brands latch on to already trending topics to contribute to the conversation or sell their product.

It’s important to make sure you use hashtags that are relevant – for example, if you were tweeting about starting a business and it happened to be a Friday, you might use the hashtag #entrepreneurship, but using the #FF hashtag would be inappropriate.

Be wary of how many you use, the more hashtags you use, the less likely people are to interact with your content, because they’ll find your posts spam-like.

Hashtags or phrases can trend. Trending topics means people are talking about something at a very high rate. Often, these topics are identifiable with hashtags, but they can also be words or phrases related to the subject. As previously mentioned, you can see the current trending topics on your Twitter home page in the trends box on the left-hand side.

For brands, latching on to trending topics is a good way to garner interest and possibly a few followers – just make sure you do it the right way. Only use trending topics in your tweets if those topics are relevant to your brand, and make sure you use them appropriately.

If you’re not sure why a certain topic is trending, do some research to ensure that you don’t do something to offend your audience, like making light of a serious situation or saying something politically incorrect. Users typically identify disingenuous marketing if brands are just tweeting to tweet.

It should be noted that it’s best to stay away from breaking news stories surrounding tragedy, including celebrity deaths, or major tragic historical events (like 9/11). Use your best judgement, and always choose tact when deciding to integrate marketing with trending topics.

This feature will expand the storytelling experience for brands and businesses.

“Visual assets are core to how a brand tells its story, and it’s no secret that marketers are giving video more importance in their creative asset mix and shifting dollars from traditional TV to digital video,” Sofia Hernandez, executive vice president at MRY creative agency told Business News Daily.

“For businesses which rely on strictly organic posts, this feature will allow them to tell their story over two minutes,” added Jenny Marder, director of social media at Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners in the same article.

These videos can be useful for product demonstrations and a more thorough explanation of product benefits and functionality, Hernandez said. Videos such as beauty tutorials and tech gadget demonstrations will drive users to purchase, she said.

Marder emphasized the importance of providing a call to action, in either the video or the tweet, to give users a reason to interact or share the content, thus increasing brands’ views and engagement.

Direct messages have evolved and changed over the years, which is especially true for brands. The way you interreact with your clients is important for troubleshooting issues and handling problems at multiple locations of your business.

Direct messages (DM) allow you to privately chat with someone one on one. If a customer has a question, they can ask via a DM. There is no character limit on DMs, which gives you the freedom to explain and help in as many characters as you need.

By default, only users you follow can send you DMs. Now, you can set up your Twitter account to receive messages from anyone, making it easier for all customers to contact you. Simply go to your Privacy Settings and enable “Receive Direct Messages from Anyone.”

Twitter has also launched a new feature that filters messages from users you don’t follow into a separate Requests inbox. This lets you choose and prioritize which users to engage with first and helps keep your messages organized. Learn more about the Requests inbox.

DMs also include location services. if a customer has an issue, he or she can share their location with the business. The customer can reference a location even if they’re not physically there – which would be helpful in the case of making reservations or placing a to-go order at a restaurant, for instance, the article said.

Even if you do not run a restaurant or takeout business, the use of the location tool may be helpful when learning of outages, issues at the certain location or other location-based issues that need to be solved.

The feature is also available through Twitter’s Direct Messages API, currently in private beta, and is powered by Foursquare’s location data.

Social Media for Business: A Marketer’s Guide

Social media networks are incredible resources for businesses looking to promote their brands online. The platforms themselves are free to use, but also have paid advertising options specifically for brands that want to reach even more new audiences. But just because your business should be on social media, that doesn’t mean you should be on every network. It’s important that you choose and nurture the social platforms that work best for your business, so that you don’t spread yourself too thin.

If you want to create a successful social strategy, you should familiarize yourself with how each network runs, the kinds of audiences you can reach on that network and how your business can best use each platform. We profiled the most popular social media platforms to help you market your business better.

Facebook is the biggest social network on the web, both in terms of name recognition and total number of users. With nearly 1.8 billion active users, Facebook is a great medium for connecting people from all over the world with your business.

And the site is not only the biggest network, but it’s also arguably the most versatile one. In the 13 years since it launched, Facebook grew from a simple website where college students could keep in touch into a multifaceted web and mobile social platform where anyone can connect with not just their friends and family, but also celebrities, organizations, businesses and more, thanks to the Pages feature.

Considering that Facebook has a wealth of options for any type of organization, it’s a great starting point for your business, regardless of your industry. You can use Facebook to share photos, videos, important company updates and more. Additionally, the site can be more low-maintenance than other social networks. Whether you post several updates a day or only a few a week won’t make much of a difference in what your fans think of you. To find out more about Facebook for business, check out our guide.

Twitter

With Twitter, you can share short text updates (of 140 characters or fewer), along with videos, images, links, polls and more. You can also easily interact with other users by mentioning their usernames in your posts, so Twitter is a great way to quickly connect with people all around the world. (The platform averages about 320 million active users worldwide and is one of the top 10 websites in the United States.)

Because of its wide reach, Twitter is not only a great way to market your business, but also an effective channel for handling customer service. For example, if you maintain an active Twitter presence, customers who are also active on the platform will seek you out to express concerns or share their praise.

If you have interesting content, Twitter is also a great tool for quickly spreading the word. Retweeting and sharing other users’ content is incredibly simple. Hashtags help boost posts, and if a user with a lot of followers retweets you, your content has the potential to go viral. But with Twitter, it’s important to remember to find balance. Don’t simply share your own links or media; instead, make sure you are also sharing a lot of interesting, relevant content from other Twitter users and from around the web, so your audience doesn’t think you care only about what your business is doing.

Check out our guide to learn more about using Twitter for business.

This platform allows users to save and display content by “pinning” digital bulletin boards, which can be organized by category. So, for example, a personal user might have a food board dedicated to pinning recipes, another board dedicated to photography and so on. The platform also has a series of special types of pins called Rich Pins, which brands can use to add special information to their pins, like product details and even location maps.

Pinterest is heavily visually oriented. Every post has to be an image or video, and like Facebook, it is also fairly low-maintenance in terms of post frequency. However, keeping your boards organized and search-friendly can be time-consuming. It’s also more of a niche network than Facebook or Twitter, so it may not work for everyone. Pinterest’s users are primarily women, and popular categories on the site are DIY projects, fashion, exercise, beauty, photography and food. That’s not to say that businesses outside of these categories can’t succeed on the platform, but it does make Pinterest an especially good marketing tool for businesses in those areas.

There are plenty of cool ways to use this platform to your advantage, and you can read more about them in our Pinterest for business guide.

Similar to Pinterest, Instagram is a visual social media platform based entirely on photo and video posts. The Facebook-owned network has more than 600 million active users, many of whom post about food, art, travel, fashion and similar subjects. Instagram is distinguished by its unique filters and photo- and video-editing options. This platform, unlike the others, is almost entirely mobile. Although there is a web version, you can’t take photos or create new posts on it.

Instagram is another platform where more-artistic niches excel, and it may not be the best fit for your business, depending on your industry. If you want to succeed with Instagram, it’s important that the person running your account have a good eye for detail and at least basic photography skills, so that the photos and videos posted to your account are high-quality.

And don’t be discouraged if your industry is underrepresented on Instagram; if you can find the right hashtags to latch onto and can post intriguing photos, you will most likely make it work. To find out more about using Instagram for business, read our guide.

Snapchat is another visual social media network, but unlike with its competitors, content on Snapchat deletes itself. Users can send videos and photos, available for up to 10 seconds at a time, to one another, or post content to their public Stories, which disappears after 24 hours. Over the past five years, the app has expanded to include chat, messaging, image storage, events and media content. Now, content can easily be saved and uploaded elsewhere.

The Discover feature, for instance, compiles popular content from notable publications like BuzzFeed and The Wall Street Journal. With over 150 million users, this app is designed strictly for mobile devices and cannot be accessed on the web.

Because posts are so temporary, there is less pressure to create superpolished content. You can also see how many and which specific users viewed your story. A small business will mostly likely utilize the platform for its Stories, but keep in mind that only users who have added you can view the story content. However, once you have an audience, the story feature allows you to easily create story-driven and interactive content.

YouTube is video-sharing platform with over a billion users, where people can view, upload, rate, share, and comment on content. Users are automatically assigned a channel, in which other users can subscribe to be notified whenever a new video is uploaded. Now owned by Google, the site is a huge hub for news and entertainment.

Created over a decade ago, YouTube has gone through numerous changes. For instance, users can now make money from Google AdSense, with the revenue dependent on the number of views on a video.

Many businesses on YouTube have a creative, visual or educational component. The platform is heavily driven by creativity in nature, so it’s important to have a tailored video editor producing content. However, your business doesn’t need a channel to market on the platform. There’s a subculture of vloggers, called YouTubers, who publish frequent videos and often maintain large audiences. Often, businesses partner with YouTubers for product placement, because these users already have engaged audiences.