How Many Social Networks Should My Business Use?

Image Credit nk&f (http://www.naterkane.com/blog/2008/01/)
Image Credit nk&f (http://www.naterkane.com/blog/2008/01/)

In a world where people connect effortlessly with their computers, mobile devices and tablets, social networks are popping up everywhere. Some of them are geared towards finding and sharing websites (digg, stumbleupon), others are more geared towards sharing what you’re doing in text and photo (Instagram, Twitter), some focus on where you are (Foursquare, Path) while others try to tackle everyone at once (Facebook, Google+). Every day more and more of these networks are popping up like Pinterest and Issuu.

Of course, having a presence in all of these places would expose your business or brand to more eyeballs, but is it really necessary?

If you were to ask any “social media” expert what the most imporant social networks are, you would undoubtedly be told Facebook and Twitter. If your business had a physical location and your social media manager was smart, they would also tell you to pay attention to Foursquare.

If you don’t have a “social media manager” and you are trying to navigate cyberspace on your own, you might be tempted to put your business in front of as many individuals as you can. Be weary of this.

Imagine as if creating a presence on each social network is like creating a branch for a bank. Now think about the branches of the big banks (Bank of America, Citi, Chase) that have locations is small rural or suburban areas. Each of these locations requires a staff of people to constantly be there for the customer.

Now, smaller banks aren’t likely to afford so many branches due to the overhead costs involved. In fact, more branches might not even fit their business model. Of course having their business in more places might lead to more leads, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will lead to more profits.

Back to social networks, find the ones that really relate to your business. If you find that your business does a lot of videos, then you might want to spend a lot of time and focus on YouTube. If your business has a physical location, then selecting the most important geo-tagging networks would be beneficial.

Whatever networks you decide to use for your business, ensure that they fit the type of work you’re doing. For example, a tax accounting firm probably doesn’t need a lot of presence on social networks focusing on photography (flickr, et al).

Most importantly, you need to keep up with your networks. If you have a large fan base or customer service base that heavily uses social media, you want to make sure that you’re keeping in touch, monitoring and responding to comments to your content as they are written. Keep an ear to the ground.

TL;DR

If you are overly eager in promoting your business on every social network you can find, you will not be very successful in keeping up with all of your customers on every front and some of your content has the potential to become very stale. If you focus on two or three networks that really relate to your business and have the potential to touch your customers, you will be much better off than trying to fight a battle on every single front.

 

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