How Not To Fall Down The Social Network Rabbit Hole
Do you remember the day you signed up for LinkedIn?
You may have been asked to start a profile as part of your job, as part of your employer's business strategy. Or, you may have found yourself looking for a new employment opportunity, and your friends told you not to wait another second to get on LinkedIn.
So you imported your resume, listed all of your skills and expertise, and you were on your way.
Soon after that, you were probably invited to a LinkedIn Group where you could interact with other professionals like yourself, or members of a target market. Maybe both. And then other group invitations followed. You spiffed up your online professional self, and you joined those too. Great – So now, you were set with a social network and a sub-social network experience.
An adjustment, but it's logical…and good.
What You Didn't See
Not long after that, you are at a family gathering, and your favorite cousin is talking about her vacation and the fabulous time she had – Talking with you about it as if you've already seen the photos. But you haven't, and you 'fess up. She gives you a look like you have three heads and asks…
"You mean you didn't see the photos on Facebook??"
…Like you're in the third grade and you didn't turn in your milk money.
And the next thing you know, you're creating a Facebook profile so you can keep up with all the family news. You even catch up with a few friends there, so it becomes fun. You're friending and liking your fingers happy!
Not long after that, your child's birthday is coming up, and you think it would be slick to forgo the photos and post a cool video on Facebook to share the event.
So you get the right equipment and sign up for a YouTube account.
It's social awesome!
There's A Barista In Your Driveway
When you receive a Twitter invite from a Facebook friend, you feel confident and social savvy. So you hop on Twitter too, and learn all about "Tweet-speak." It's different, but soon enough you're re-tweeting, @mentioning, and even #hashtagging.
Since you're already on Facebook, Foursquare seems fun – You can can connect the two. And Twitter too! Soon, you are the mayor of your driveway and you earn the barista badge.
Hot stuff, you!
Then comes SlideShare.
(oy – but okay, lets romance the SEO Gods)
(this one ya like, but c'mon)
Tweet, Like, +1, share, buy, check-in, answer, re-blog, tweet-tweet, like-like, hoot-hoot…
Are you socially overwhelmed?
The Value Of Chair Dancing For Gold Bars
The next invitation to another social network comes and you delete it.
When yet another invite comes via email, it could be *Gold Bars For FREE* social network, and you delete it even quicker.
This time while saying, "No," loudly, doing a little chair dance, and having a brief rebuttal conversation with the anonymous founder about having to connect this-and-that and probably having to be the mayor of 12 things while liking, sharing, and pinning the gold bars — with your friends.
Because: What are they thinking??
There's a limit, right?
And there is.
More and more, people are asking about the value of a social network before just hopping on:
- What does this do?
- Why should I be there?
- What value does it bring?
- What can it replace?
- If I do this, how can I make my activities more efficient?
All fair questions.
For many, keeping up with social media – Especially when running a business – can become a chore.
Capturing The Rabbit
I recently surveyed my online social circles to get an idea of three things:
- What people are thinking of all these social networks.
- Where people spend the most time.
- Where people would like to spend less time.
My findings were not surprising, but certainly useful. Most people surveyed were NOT online marketing professionals — They were everyday people, just like yourself.
Here is a collective list of the social platforms where they have active presence:
- Empire Avenue
Some were managing as many as eight social platforms. Others, only one.
The breakdown of most popular combinations:
- Facebook & Twitter
- Facebook & LinkedIn
- Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter
- Facebook, LinkededIn, Twitter & Pinterest
And then there were many that said, "Facebook and only Facebook."
Those that were juggling multiple platforms reported that they are most active on two to three favorites.
When asked what they're perfect world scenario number of social networks would be? Their answers:
Two was most popular.
Some actionable insight…
Know your niche. Research where your target market is, and plan to be on those networks. Most people tend to have two or three social networks they frequent most, so decide what yours will be.
For those you like but do not find as important to you, keep those accounts, but check in maybe once per week instead of once per day. Set time limits if you need to.
There are literally thousands of social platforms, so it is impossible to have presence on all of them. But it is certainly reasonable to save your brand name on social channels you think you might want presence on in the future.
A tool like NameChk will show you the top most visited social networks, and you can see if your desired username or vanity URL is still available. Once you check the name, open an account on the desired platform. Plan to check it at least once a quarter to avoid hacks – Change your password from time to time as well.
Social networking does not have to be overwhelming. All you need is a social media blueprint (a social media strategy) to get you started.
A quick list:
- Know your niche.
- Research your social networks.
- Choose 2-3 smart social media channels.
- Save your brand name.
- Have a social media strategy.
Could you identify with the story above at all?
What are your favorite social networks?
Are there tips I did not cover?
Please share your thoughts in the comment box below…
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy A Framework To Answer The Question "Should I Be On?"
Keri is the Founder and CMO of Idea Girl Media - A Social Media Marketing Agency. She works with small business owners, non-profit stakeholders and public figures to achieve social media success and positive online reputation. Most often: Real Estate, Interior Design, Restaurants, Travel Services, Entertainment, and Government Agencies. Keri's insight has been featured at Social Media Today, SteamFeed, and she has been quoted by Business Insider. Non-fat lattes, travel & quick wit make Keri smile, and she's always enthused to meet new people!