I had a client who was told that in order to “do social media”, they needed to be everywhere at once. This meant they wanted me to set up a tumblr, facebook, twitter, google +, Linkedin account as well as a few social media websites I had no idea existed.
But if you are a business, do you really need to spread yourself so thin? Do you really need to be everywhere all the time?
Of course, the answer is no. Not only do you not need to be everywhere, you don’t necessarily need to be on any of those social networks. And if you do want to get social, you need to ask yourself several questions…
- How much time can I commit to the networks?- Social media is about fostering relationships. And that means that there is a time commitment to consider. If you are going to have a Facebook Fan Page, you need to nurture it. If you are doing LinkedIn, you will need to participate in group discussions. If you are using twitter, you will need to actively tweet. Now to be fair, there are automation tools but then there is the problem that the M.O. of each platform is different and therefore needs to be handled differently (see next bullet).
- How much time am I willing to learn how the platforms work? - LinkedIn is a completely different beast than Twitter and Facebook is completely different than Tumblr. And that means that people engage on these networks for different reasons. This also means that trying to cater to everyone by tossing everything into a generic “social media” box is a pretty ineffective strategy. In other words, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to go about it.
- Is my target market on the social media platform I am targeting? Another big question is whether your market is active on the social platform. For instance, since I deal with a lot of musicians, the obvious platform of choice is Facebook. If they are touring, then twitter is a good choice. But LinkedIn? For a musician trying to get close to their customers? Sounds like a time waster to me. Of course, if you in a b2b business, then linkedin would be the first place I would investigate because it is the perfect place to build a business network.
And even then….even if your answer is yes to all three of those questions…you still need to ask about the return. Because in the end, the return is what matters. I had a client of mine who tested Facebook, was able to draw plenty of “likes” but that didn’t generate the sales they were expecting compared to the amount of work involved.
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