Everyone’s raving about Pinterest, Google+ and the next best social network that we’ve never heard of. With so much buzz out there and every expert under the sun proclaiming the best social networking sites for businesses, it’s nearly impossible to know what to do. It’s important to remember that the best social networking site for businesses vary and what works for one business, may not work for another. I believe that it’s important to choose what works for you and your business. Some may tell you that you have to be on Facebook, and they may be right…for some. It’s true that the most popular networks right now are: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google +, but that does NOT mean you need to be on every one of them to be successful in social.

It’s much better to do one or two networks well than to do a lot poorly.

So, how in the world do you decide what’s best for you? In addition to the most popular ones, there are hundreds of niche networks that focus on specific industries or topics. If you’re new or overwhelmed, the best thing is to identify where your customers are and eliminate the rest. Pick the place you think most of your ideal customers will find you and start there. Don’t try to do it all. Learn one, master it, then add as you feel comfortable. 

Here’s my rundown of the purposes of each of the networks. Hopefully it will help you decide if it’s right for you or not:

  • Facebook - this is where everyone hangs out. The demographics on Facebook are split among age groups and genders. (There are more detailed statistics showing skews towards particular groups, but isn’t everyone and their Grandma’s on Facebook? My Grandma is!)
  • Twitter - is all about right now. This is where you can find the latest news and have live conversations. If you want to know about something, you can post a question and get instant feedback (assuming people are following you and you know how to tag your posts appropriately). It’s great for customer service and one-on-one brief conversations. When people ask you things on twitter, they usually expect a response within a few hours.
  • LinkedIn - Geared towards the business crowd. People on LinkedIn are networking, looking for jobs, sharing tips about entrepreneurship, etc. It’s perfect if your ideal client is a business owner or job-seeker. Don’t waste your time on LinkedIn if you’re in Auto Repair, for example.
  • Pinterest - It’s the hot network of the moment and has quickly climbed the ranks to number 3 behind Facebook and Twitter. It’s all about visuals and works especially well for businesses that have an image to share, like hairstylists, bakers, realtors, photographers, crafters, and pretty much anyone that makes products. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of ways to use Pinterest if you don’t have your own images to share. You can get lots of traffic by re-pinning others’ posts and building a following.
  • Google+ - It’s definitely the most confusing of all the networks, but arguably the most important. If you have any hopes of ranking high in search engines, the longer you avoid G+, the more ground you’ll have to catch up to everyone else who has mastered it. Google owns search, after all. Recently, I wrote about How I made it to #1 on Google. What I didn’t talk about was the impact G+ had on my ranking and how I got my photo to appear next to the results. Hint: G+ played a HUGE role.
So pick just one – that’s what you’ll work on for one month. Here, I’ll help you get started: 
Click to tweet and tell your network that you’re going to rock your fans!

Which one did you choose? If you’re not already on my weekly newsletter packed pull of great tips for Stylish and Smart marketing, sign up on the home page. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive a link to download a FREE social media planning calendar template. Download it, fill it out for the next month, and spend 30 minutes a day posting and playing around on that network. The trick will be to plan out the month in advance, so that you’re not wasting time deciding what to write. The next trick will be disciplining yourself during the 30 minutes to stay on the tasks of learning the tools for your business, finding new people to interact with, interacting with followers of your business, and not reading up on the latest gossip from your alma mater.

Next, go to all of your social media profiles and look at your bio information. Is any of it outdated? Update it. Do the links work? If not, fix them. If you haven’t posted on one of the networks in over a month, put a message in your bio that says, “I don’t post here regularly, so please check…” and then link to either your website or another network that you do use. Stop saying, Someday I’m going to start… People are going to run across your profile TODAY and you want to direct them somewhere they can contact you TODAY. Then, put that particular network on your short list of marketing strategies to work on. It’s all about creating a plan.

What do you struggle with when deciding which networks to be on? Leave a comment below and let’s get some discussion going to help each other master our chosen network! I promise your overwhelm will lessen.

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