How to Choose a Social Network for Marketing your Brand
Remember the old days when having a social media presence meant posting an emo song to your MySpace page because your boyfriend broke up with you? Or, if you were really savvy, occasionally updating your blog? You know those days… I like to call them 2006. Well folks, we’re in 2012 now and there are a ton of options when it comes to being social online. And, we’re not the only ones socializing anymore. Brands can be found on every network across the ‘net.
So, how do you determine which social networks are going to provide the biggest return on your time (and, if you’re working with a pro, money) investment?
To find the answer to that question, you’re going to have to get clear about what you’re willing to put into your marketing and what you’re hoping to get out of it. Ask yourself these questions:
Who am I trying to reach? Hopefully you have a pretty good idea of your target audience. We all know “everyone” is on Facebook, but did you know that StumbleUpon is actually the #1 social source of referral traffic? Do some research on the demographics to identify less talked about sites that might actually get you a bigger return on your investment.
What type of content am I putting out? Are you posting a lot of photos? Then Pinterest or Instagram might be great places for you to build followings. Are you writing for businesses? Make sure you’re linking your content to sites like LinkedIn and StumbleUpon. No matter what you’re creating, there’s a site that will work. Music, videos, books, articles, photos, podcasts, tutorials, presentation slides…
What efforts have already been paying off? When you look at your blog traffic, are most of your referrals coming from a particular network? Imagine if you increased your efforts on that network, your return would increase as well. On the flip side, are there networks where you’re putting in the time but you’re not seeing any engagement? It might be time to cut your losses.
What networks do I actually enjoy using? I often get people tell me, “I’m on Twitter, but I really hate it.” I don’t like coffee. You don’t see me sitting at my desk choking it down because that’s what all the cool kids are doing. Find your cup of tea and put your heart into it.
How often am I willing/able to engage? Be realistic here. There’s no point in convincing yourself that you’ll be updating and checking your Twitter feed multiple times a day if you only update your blog once a month. Go back over the last year and see how much time you’ve dedicated to marketing. Are you consistent? Do you need a site that works at a slower pace? Or, are you ready to make the commitment to multiple sites and rock-star engagement?
Long story short, there’s no easy answer to what will work best for you. But, if you get honest with yourself and what you want to accomplish, you can identify where you need to be. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t commit to every site on the Internet. You’re ahead of the game if you pick one network and do it really well! At the end of the day, make sure that where ever you decide to spend your time that it meets with the goals you have set for yourself and your business.
What networks do you use? Are you looking at new ones? Are there some that you’re planning on ditching?
I'm an optimist grounded in realism. That's what I love about working on the web -- the possibilities to be creative and distinctive are endless, but there's always a need for those reality-driven, data-fueld folks who make our dreams into realities. I like to think I hover somewhere in the middle - creative, quantifiable internet marketing solutions.