Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus. Yammer, Plurk, Bebo, Flickr. Foursquare, Instagram, Friendster, StumbleUpon. Digg, Delicious, Orkut, Ning. This is one tenth of all the social networks you can belong to. But the question is – Which one should I belong to?
Tomorrow, another “Have to be on” social network could pop up. They will offer friends lists, ways to communicate, ways to post on your wall, pictures, video and an API to connect to. They will also be dealing with privacy concerns, Opt-in, scams and phishing sites. They may have a simple look, or a full graphical interface. They might have ways to run contests, or place advertisements.
We learn that social media is becoming an important factor in our business and personal lives. That fine line – which, by the way, we just muddled – shows us that we can work and play in the same sandbox.
But what do you mean by that? There are several different sandboxes out there!?! Which one should I play in?
That is what we are going to determine. Let’s find your social media strategy.
What is your pleasure?
The real question is: What do you do? This is important because that can determine where you go in this social world.
Eventually, we won’t have 800 million users on one social network. There will be a dominant network, a competing network, a supporting network and a “I’ve heard of it, but really haven’t spent time on it” network.
Oh yeah. Can’t forget the “That’s a social network? Who would’ve thunk it?”
The “Dominant” Social Media Site
This is going to be what Facebook technically is right now (and Google Plus is gunning for). Maybe five years from now it will still be Facebook. Maybe five years from now, some new kid from Harvard will steal an idea from twins and come up with something ten times better. You never know.
The dominant site will have a good mix of the two. Businesses will want to work with the dominant site, because they know the customers are there. Companies like Coke or Pepsi, Ford or Chevy, Nike or Adidas, will have a desire to grab as many customers they can.
They will put together campaigns that collect names and information – for we know that information is king. They will know what percentage of kids 18-25 will drink their soda, and in return, one lucky person will win an iPad or some other trinket.
That’s the power of social network marketing.
The dominant site will be in the news on a daily basis. Whether it be on a privacy concern, or a lawsuit brought on by someone you’ve never heard of before. The rumor mill will also be buzzing with “Did you hear about…” stories, on every social network site they can think of.
The “Niche” Social Media Site
The niche social media site is what’s started to take shape in the last year or so. This doesn’t look at how many people overall they can get. More to the point – how many focused users they can get. With a niche, you can focus on that group with investors or companies that want to send messages only to interested parties.
For example: Reverb Nation is a social media network for musicians. Bands and fans go to the site to find out about one thing – Music: who and where a band playing. They can hear indy music and even put together a schedule of events.
Still, a site like that needs the other social media sites to drive traffic.
LinkedIn is considered a social media site for business. You won’t find too many posts of drunken escapades on it, but you will get great information. If you are building a business and don’t belong to any groups on LinkedIn, or you don’t have your profile filled out, then you should really spend an hour or so on this social business networking website.
Amazon is another niche social media network. You can not only communicate through this online mall, but also send it’s links through to other sites. If you are an affiliate, you could make some money off the deal.
The Companion Social Media Site
This would be a site you go to when reminded or directed. Twitter can be considered a companion site. You read your Twitter stream for about 2 minutes and move on.
I still believe that the average Twitter user reads about 187 tweets in a day. This can be from Twitter itself, a comment that is on a blog, or a Tweet that comes from a media source.
The Hidden Social Network – An Easter Egg in itself…
Did you know that YouTube is a social media network? No? Well you should.
Anyone that “Avoids” YouTube is not making the most of their online social media presence. Yeah, I know. It’s video. But it’s also a way to drive traffic.
Viral videos can be boosts in any campaign. If you follow that YouTube playbook – keep a video short and to the point – you might find a new avenue to promote.
Don’t feel comfortable in front of a camera? Well maybe someone else is! Ask a friend to help you out. You can also pay someone to make a video. Heck – I’ve done it for others.
Don’t Forget: Your Website is a Social Media Site, too
If you treat your blog or website as a social media site, it will help. Even if it only gets a couple people a day. As long as you stick to a focus on the site, people will come.
Make sure you have the website linked to the social media sites. There are plug-ins that will help you do that. Like buttons, tweet buttons and +1 buttons, along with Digg, SumbleUpon, Delicious, reddit, Tumblr and more.
Disqus is a great way to turn your comments into social comments. You can share those comments on other social sites with the check of a box.
Driving Traffic: It can Come from Different Places
Example: Geekazine’s sister site – Dorkazine – sees moderate traffic. Yesterday, I posted a video – Cello Wars. I got a great spike for the day, which then subsided. Still, I got a couple hits today. A couple tomorrow, too.
In the grand scheme of things, you might about 5 hits to that article a week for a couple years. That is about 500 hits in a 2 year span. Now, if you posted 100 articles that also bring 5 hits a week, you have 500 hits a week, or 26,000 hits in a year.
If I do the math on Geekazine, my article count brings an average of 20 people per article I’ve written since 2007. In the grand scheme of things, that is low. A site like TechCrunch might see 10,000 – 100,000 people per article written.
Now remember: that is only on my website.
I get 3 times more traffic by distributing video and audio. So, if I had 1,000 unique visits on a particular video, I can have 3,000 unique visits on my media outlets.
Why? Because my media is not just on my website. It’s on Blip.tv, YouTube, and other video sources. It plays on Roku, Boxee, Apple TV through Geekazine, and through other sources like TechPodcasts and Mediafly.
The Day in Tech History get a 20% boost because I am on Sticher – Internet radio for your mobile device. Every day, the Day in Tech History posts show up on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn and other social networks. I have a Google Group that also aggregates the show to your email box.
So, if you don’t get the email, and you don’t subscribe on Facebook, you might see it on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+. Not to mention a host of other locations I automatically post to.
Bam! I just built a social network.
How Do You Keep Up with All the Social Networks?
Good question! The only thing you can do is if you hear of one, sign up for it. Spend some time to see who else is on that network. If 3 people posted in the last year, then you can put that on the back burner.
We’ve actually seen 2 types of social media networks fall to the wayside. The Bullitin Board System (BBS) and the Internet Forums (although there are still some of these around). MySpace fell off a lot of people’s radars. It has been retooled and you can still create a profile. I still post to Geekazine on MySpace.
There are some automation tools you can use, too. A website like Ping.fm really helps with that. Using it to replicate your post can help you keep your sanity.
In Summary, ignoring social media outlets might be a bad idea. If you are on Facebook, then you need to be on Twitter. If you are on Twitter, you need to be on Google +. If you are on Google Plus, you need to be on LinkedIn. If you are on LinkedIn, you need to be on YouTube. If you are on YouTube, then you need to be on Facebook.
If you don’t have a website, you might just need one so you can tell everybody you are on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, YouTube and a host of other “niche” social media networks.
Your social media profile needs to be webbed out. That way, if someone has Facebook and not Twitter, they still get updates from you. The more you evenly put your eggs in different baskets, the more people will see what you do.