Knowing which networks to target and how to manage them is crucial to running competitive and successful social media campaigns.
Different networking platforms attract different audiences and demographics, each with a different set of consumer habits. The obvious considerations would be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, maybe even MySpace (actually, scrap that last one!); but there are many other specialist and niche networks that can be leveraged.
The most important thing is to ensure that you do your homework before committing to any decisions. Some other popular networks to look at might include Tumblr, Flickr, Bebo, Pinterest, Instagram, CrowdSquare, Last.fm, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Windows Live, Spotify, SoundCloud, Technorati, Digg, Vimeo, Quora, Yelp, Livefyre, Disqus, bit.ly, BranchOut, Blogger, FourSquare, Reddit, Scribd… The list goes on and on!
Finally, there are ancillary social networking tools that may help you promote your brand or understand your campaign results. A great example is Klout, a web site that collects information from your networks and gives you an overall score as an influencer for given topics. Other social influence reporters include PeerIndex, Kred, and Percollate.
Another important consideration is time (as always). Some networks can be stream-lined together, such as Twitter and LinkedIn. There are also some ‘decks’ you can use to manage multiple networks from one user interface, such as TweetDeck or HootSuite. However, this information comes with a serious warning!.. It is not always effective to streamline messages as they should usually be tailored for the specific audience on each network.
Ultimately, each brand has different goals and different needs so the key is simply to avoid rushing in and taking on too much. The golden rule is to start with only your most relevant networks and then build other networks into the strategy when the resources are definitely there to handle the workload. A common mistake is to take on extra networks but then to communicate less frequently on all registered networks, greatly increasing the chances of not being heard anywhere!
Once you’ve chosen which networks to use and how to measure your influence on them, it’s time to start getting your messages out there. Our next blog post will give you a few essential etiquette tips to heed when in front of any network audience.