Too Many Social Networking Sites!
Did you know there are over 200 active social networking sites on the web? What do I mean by active? Popular and still in business! This number does not even come close to all the small, no-name social networking sites that exist, probably numbering in the thousands. The big name sites are familiar to most of us: Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Yelp, Linkedin, delicious, XING, Windows, Live, Tumblr, and MySpace.
“Whoa! Slow down, professor! I’m trying to keep up!” Isn’t that what you are thinking at this point? If you are like me, you’re overwhelmed. It seems like every week I get invites to join a new social networking site. Sometimes I’ll join for a little while just to see what is going on and what it is about. Yet many of the sites I join won’t last. So what should you as a small business owner do when faced with so many choices of social media sites?
Two years ago, I was a fan of having one’s brand on the top 10 social networking sites. I thought like many online marketing guys did, “I want my clients to be #1 everywhere!” Yet I realized that good social media etiquette means to be real with people and connect as a human being. I now believe that by having your company brand on too many sites makes it almost impossible to
- Be faithful to keep up all of them
- Keep it real. Each social networking site has a different audience. Not all your company updates and blog posts should be posted on all these different sites. At some point, you’ll get discouraged that no one is engaging with you in return and you’ll burn out with too many posts and updates.
Keep Things Simple
My suggestion is to step back and look at what you are doing. Ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish by marketing my business online or using social media tools? The primary purpose should be listening to and engaging with your ideal customers.
Find out what your customers want to talk about, learn about, read about, watch, and then give it to them. Find out who they are and where they spend their time. If most of your customers seem to spend time on Facebook (800 million users now… chances are they do) then focus your attention on Facebook and pull back on Linkedin, Twitter and the other hundred sites you’ve started to date. If you are a commercial contractor who typically deals with business people, Linkedin is definitely for you. If you are doing market research and trying to see what the word is on the street, or do some networking, check out Twitter.
When The Dust Settles, My Personal Pick
So what is one change I’ve made in 2011? My job is in marketing. So I will still be testing out social networking sites and occasionally you’ll see me on multiple channels. Yet I’ve narrowed my focus to primarily using blogging and Facebook to engage with friends, as well as current and potential customers. I get most feedback from blogging and Facebook. Also, Facebook has done a fantastic job creating THE social network.
Google is trying to outperform FB by creating Google +. It will not stick. When the dust settles, Facebook is here to stay. Why? Because the baby boomers and even many in the silent generation are learning how to use Facebook–not Google+, Twitter or the others. So I continue to spend a few hours a week writing blogs and posting useful information here and on Facebook, distancing myself from many of the other social sites.
What about you? What do you think about all these social media sites that keep popping up? Have you tried out Google+? What changes have you made this year in your business with regard to social networking?