As probably all of us have noticed, it’s not possible to succeed wildly on all the various social media networks at once. Part of becoming not just prominent on social media but turning that prominence into revenue means picking which networks will serve our purposes best.
How do we do this? Your guess is as good as mine, pardner. Actually, here’s what you want to think about when you’re comparing the various options for social media.
How Far Can It Go?
It’s not just about how many people are using a social network. It’s also about how engaged those users are. How often do folks share on a particular network? Keep this in mind when determining whether to participate (Pinterest is an example of a community with exceptionally high sharing).
Also consider how integrated the network is with the Web (think Google+). If you know a post on a particular network could generate more shares and re-posts elsewhere, regardless of how many people see the post on that network initially, that social network may be worth a significant amount of your time. Wade in slowly though: block out 4 hours a day for the next 18 months.
Who’s Your Daddy?
Well, probably you don’t think of the customer as your daddy, but if you did … well, then, who is your daddy? What are the basic parameters of your typical customer? Go where they are. You want to know who uses each of the various services and then zero in on the services that will most appreciate your business.
If you want to focus on businesses and entrepreneurs, LinkedIn is a great bet. The old standbys, Twitter andFacebook, are also crucial if you have good, somewhat general ideas that you hope will gain traction – such as your series, “Great Recipes You Can Make in 15 Seconds.”
If there is a network that is specific to your audience, place your focus on those networks. It’s much more efficient to target a network that has a higher percentage of potential prospects for you than those that are more main-stream.
Watching where your current customers go – what networks they think are worth joining – can give you a sense of where other people like them might be heading, so that you can get there early and greet everyone as they come in the door (“Hi! Welcome to … wait, where are we again?”).
Points for a Unique Platform
As you look at a new network, pay close attention to what it can do. Think about what the service offers that might make it easier to engage with customers and prospects in a new and exciting way. Each of the major social networks stands out in a different way – study each of the networks and think about where and how you can best create interaction.
If you’re a CPA who has some exciting “Me Doing Taxes” footage, YouTube could be a good option.
They Don’t Pity the Fool
Social networks can be filled with active members – Reddit is a good example – who have been active on the site for a long while. It’s important to make sure you understand the playing field thoroughly rather than coming out of the gates with a flurry of activity.
If your behavior is not within expectations for user behavior on the site, it can irritate the other members. Sometimes these members are not as compassionate and understanding as Mr. T.
An Adaptive Approach
You don’t want to pretend that new social networks do not exist, and therefore ignore them. Your basic attitude should be to keep growing on the networks that have proven valuable for your business, and explore new options as they come along.
That doesn’t mean jumping onboard new networks at the expense of building up your old ones. If Facebook is working, don’t suddenly forsake it for YouTube. Social media networks don’t mind philandering as long as it doesn’t damage your long-term relationship with them. Just don’t tell your wife about any of this.
Yes, No, and Maybe
The primary takeaway here is that you want to do some research to figure out which networks are best for you. Know your audience and go where they are. Know how a social network works and consider its usage for your business at connecting with prospects. Be faithful to networks that have served you well. Focus on networks that have a good record of sharing.
And perhaps most importantly, know the ground rules before you start so that people like you. It’s just like band-camp when you went in and showed everyone your sticker collection. Bad move. Know the ropes.