In social media, a question that you can hear a lot revolves around whether one should join lots of networks or focus on one instead.
Both approaches have their pros and cons.
On the one hand, taking the time to join every network might be a doorway to a different audience. On the other hand paying attention to only one networking site might be a great way to build a vast targeted following.
What I’ve come to learn however is that none of the two options is ideal.
There is a variety of factors that you should analyze, before signing up for the next big network and below are four of them.
Are You Just Starting With Social Media?
If that’s the case then I’d strongly suggest choosing one of the popular social networks.
In those first months when you’ve just gotten into blogging or created a service you need every drop of traffic that you can get your hands on.
If you are in the internet marketing niche, then Twitter is the best place to start.
With a little help from the countless of tools available out there, you can automate most Twitter-related tasks (e.g. following/unfollowing people or scheduling tweets) and thus share new updates and gain followers while having the time to write fresh content for your blog.
Additionally, once you’ve made a head start on Twitter you can use the service to kick-start other social media accounts that you’ve created.
On How Many Other Networks Are You Already Active?
That is the second most important question we should ask ourselves. That one is straightforward – basically the more social media sites you decide to join the more time you will have to spend in order to actually see results.
There’s a big difference between simply signing-up for an account and sharing an update or two once every couple of weeks and between making the effort to build a strong network that generates a good amount of traffic whenever you share something.
So, the thing is you can only do so much. If you are managing more than five-six social media accounts, then it wouldn’t really be reasonable to go on and keep creating accounts for new networks that happen to pop-up.
Doing so can result in two things – you will either see low performance on some of the networks, since you won’t have to the time to dig deeper or you will end up spending too much time on social media and thus not having the time to actually write new content.
You might end up getting the same (or less) traffic with the only difference being that those visits will be divided between different sources (which isn’t always a bad thing as long as you are not overdoing).
Will the Social Network Be Up and Running After a Year?
Media buzz is big nowadays. Newly-created social networks tend to get lots of it in the first months of their existence. For some of them however that tends to change in a rather negative direction along with the number of active users over time.
The problem with joining such newly created networks is that you don’t know if it will still be there in the future.
Building a profile, finding the time to interact with individuals and grow a following takes lots of time. If all the buzz pushes you to create an account and do whatever it takes to build an audience, it better be worth it, since you will be sacrificing precious minutes that could have been put into something more beneficial such as a guest article.
But how do you find if a social media site is there to last?
Staying tuned to what other bloggers and social media enthusiasts are saying is the first option. Those opinions however are not enough to give you a clear standpoint.
To really achieve conclusive results, your best bet is to do the research on your own. And although “research” sounds kinda scary at first, it really isn’t as tough as you might think.
Since we cleared up that newbies shouldn’t go for uncharted territory in the social media world, when you are thinking of joining that newborn networking site, you should already have at least a Twitter and a Facebook profile. And that’s actually all you need!
Ask your friends and followers about their opinions – what do they think of the network, have they already joined it and if so, what is their experience. Forming a discussion is probably the best way to see if all the hassle is worth it.
If it turns out it isn’t, simply move on – social media isn’t all about quantity after all!
Is Your Target Audience Actually Present There?
Well the thing is you can never be too sure about where your target audience is. The term “target audience” itself is far broader than you might believe it is…
If you share blogging tips for instance, you might have folks with very different interests visiting your site. Some might blog about photography, so a network like Pinterest would be ideal for them. Others might be more on the business side, making them a good fit for a network like LinkedIn.
What I want to say is that unless you’ve chosen a very narrow niche, the “relevancy” of your audience shouldn’t be THAT decisive.
I mean, you wouldn’t want to join a social network dedicated to cooking if you write about gardening, but in most of the cases social media sites aren’t as strict in terms of targeting and niche, which is why people from all kinds of fields are there.
Although I don’t really like people saying quality over quantity as I believe both play a role, sometimes less is more.
If you believe that adding one more network to your arsenal wouldn’t hurt productivity, don’t forget to take the above factors into consideration first!
What are your thoughts?
Would you prefer focusing your efforts on one social media site or is it in your opinion worthwhile to build your brand on multiple networks?
Please share your two cents in the comments section, thanks!