You can’t actually participate at all the social media sites, even if that’s all you do all day. There are hundreds. So how can you choose which ones to use?
Here are ten questions you can ask yourself in order to determine the best use of your social media time and funds:
- Are you typical? If you have a typical business with typical customers, then Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are going to be your best bets. These are the Big Three social media sites, and you can hook them up to one another so that what you tweet or post at one goes to the others.
- Are you special? Or perhaps we should say, are you specialized? Rosamond was saying that she gets irritated when her favorite bands don’t have accounts at Apple’s Ping. Your dry cleaning shop? No need. If there’s a specialized social network for your industry, you ought to be there.
- Who’s sending you traffic? We get traffic from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Amazon, Xing, Ning, Lunch, and LastFM, for heaven’s sake, but we don’t get traffic from MerchantCircle. I’m not going to put a lot of energy into MerchantCircle. If you don’t get traffic from any social networking sites, then chances are you’re doing it wrong. If you get traffic from some and not all, then put the most juice into the ones that already work for you.
- Where do you feel at home? While I’m all for making business decisions in a businesslike way, you should also hang out where you like to hang out. If you can be a good citizen of some network that doesn’t obviously contribute to your business, go ahead. Then watch for results. If there aren’t any, see #3.
- What do you have to offer? While you can be a good social participant at YouTube without actually uploading videos, it makes more sense to share your terrific videos at YouTube than just to tweet about them. If your business lends itself to great photos, spend some time at FlickR. Strut your stuff where it’s shown to best advantage.
- Where are your customers hanging out? Use search tools or Google Alerts to determine where people are actually discussing the things you have to offer. Chances are, your customers and potential customers will be there.
- Where are your competitors hanging out? If you have a spot where your customers are and your competition hasn’t found it yet, good for you. But it’s quite possible that your competitors have found a good spot. Look and see where they hang out, and stake yourself a spot there.
Use these questions to determine the best social media sites to try out. Then see how it works for you. Always do more of what works for you and less of what doesn’t –but you won’t know which is which till you give it a try.