As I look on my iPhone I currently have apps for Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tango, Path (my new favorite), FourSquare, Voxer, and Google +. These are all different social media platforms that many of us take part in on a daily basis. Sometimes I wonder how I even keep up with it all. Tweeting one second, while updating my status on Facebook and posting a picture on Instagram the next, it can be tiring. From a consumer standpoint, sometimes I feel like there is too much to choose from in terms of being “social”.
From a small business standpoint, I know this brings up the question; what social platforms should we be a part of?
I see a lot of small business pushing the need to be a part of every social media site available for fear of losing out on potential clients and customers. There appears to be some sort of notion that a business can never be “too social”. I beg to differ.
I think we currently live in a society where we are on social media overload and that individuals can choose whether or not to become a total addict (like me) and be apart of everything.
However, It becomes risky business when companies attempt to do so.
I believe that a lot of businesses risk getting overwhelmed when they take on this approach. That is why businesses, small businesses especially, sometimes have a hard time being successful with social media. Instead, they should look to leverage a few social sites in order to really manage and harness the power that social media has to offer.
Here is a brief list of some of the more popular sites a small business might want to be apart of:
Social Networking Sites (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Google +)
Creativity Work Sharing Sites (YouTube, Flickr)
User-sponsored Blogs (Cnet.com)
Geo-locating Services (FourSquare)
Online couponing services (Groupon, Living Social)
Company Sponsored Websites/blogs
Company Sponsored cause/help sites
Business Networking Sites (LinkedIn)
Collaborative Websites (Wikipedia)
Commerce Communities (eBay, Craigslist, iStockphoto)
Social Bookmarking Sites (StumbleUpon, del.liio.us)
(List adapted from a Mangold and Faulds research article)
I suggest that a good rule of thumb is to look at all the different sites that are available and only pick one or two sites that best accommodate your small business’ structure and your target audience.
What social media sites have you found to be successful tools for your business?
photo credit: Gavin Llewellyn