Which Social Media Channels?

I’m often asked the question “which social media channels should I be using?”

which social-media-channel

Many assume we should be on all of them.

I guess it depends on what your social media motivations are, and if being on all these platforms is bringing your business value.

If you are using social media just for fun I suggest you stop reading and get back to it.

If  you are an entrepreneur/solopreneur then keep reading.

The panic that rocked Facebook and Twitter recently when Google+ launched pages was incredible. The general feeling was “[groan] another social media channel I have to find time for”.  But do we really need to be present on every channel?

Do we need to tweet?

Do we need to blog?

Comment on blogs?

Have a Facebook/Google+ page?

How many updates? (is your head spinning yet?) These are all common, and very valid, questions.

Which social media channel is best for my business?

As a marketer it depends largely on where you feel your customers are and where your peers are – not your friends.

Making this distinction may rock your world slightly but you NEED to identify what you are here for.

Do I have to utilise all the social media channels out there?

No. Do you use every tool in your tool box when you come to hang a painting on the wall?

Do you use all your kitchen equipment to make one dinner? Why should social media be any different?

Use what works best for your business.

I feel I should be on Google+ but I prefer Facebook

Go back to my first point; if your customers and peers are on Facebook stick with it.

In the meantime, there is no harm in checking out  other channels; it doesn’t have to be either one or the other.

Are you talking to the same people on Google+ as you are already talking to on Facebook?

If yes, then you may need to readdress your strategy. It is a bit like meeting up with the same people in a different coffee shop – where is the value in that?

How do I find the time to maximise all these social media channels?

Time does not grow on trees. Unless you are Ashton Kutcher most of us can’t pay an agency to handle certain accounts for us.

You can use scheduling software to help lighten the load so you don’t have to be there in real time. Planning your day in advance to allocate small chunks of time to work on your social media channels can help you from getting distracted from your goals.

You do have an online goal, don’t you?

At the end of the day no one needs to be on all the channels, all the time.

NEWS FLASH!!! >> The internet will survive without your presence for a few hours, days, or weeks.

Use the social media channels you are most comfortable with first – the ones you have already grown. If it’s working for you then stick with it. You can always add to your mix later on.

At the end of the day – juggling makes you a court jester, or a jack of all trades … and a master of nothing.

How are you managing your social media channels?

Which ones are you using, avoiding, or have on the radar to learn more about?


31 Responses to Which Social Media Channels?

  1. I *love* the ‘hang a painting’ metaphor, Ameena! I will definitely be adapting that for the auto industry! Do you need all your tools to change your oil? 😉

    I think the news stories of domain squatters we heard in the late 90s planted a weed in our minds. The fanfare surrounding each new network leads to a sort of social media gold rush. It’s a land grab; the fear of missing out on ground level opportunities.

    Leadership needs to reflect inward to determine how participation in this network or that drives the business toward our objectives. Liking us or adding us to your circles is pointless without a plan.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Brian – yes, the same logic can be applied to almost everything in real life 🙂

      I do think there is something to be said about securing the real estate when you have the opportunity – I would be angry if someone took my page name on any channel – I know it’s highly unlikely as I don’t share my name with anyone on the internet (and possibly in the world) but still. But does owning it mean you HAVE to use it?

      Having a goal is something really important – I think I’ve learned the hard way that chatting to cool people online might not be helping me reach my business goals. Work can be fun but it needs to be focussed on the bigger picture.

      Thanks for sharing 🙂

      • I hear you guys well on this one. Would this be called “social squatting”? In any event this is a pretty neat service to do a quick survey of what is happening with your name in the “social world” http://namechk.com/

        I can say for sure there is another guy by company name running around on Twitter and yes, I would prefer he not be there….

        Hope you’re well. Dave

        • Wow David!

          Just checked your site. I thought I was being a bit slack because I don’t often use MySpace anymore. Guess I’ll just stick with the most common sites for now. It’s hard to imagine where all this will be in ten years. Wow Again! Information overload!

    • Thanks Douglas, yes, it’s too easy to get sucked in and think that playing with the tools is getting you somewhere. Planning and having a clear goal is imperative!

      Thanks for coming over – great to “meet” you 🙂

  2. Hi Ameena,

    To be perfectly honest, I’m so busy with blogging, commenting, and Twitter (oh, and running my daily business) that I have little time for anything else. I do use Google+, but sparingly, and don’t use Facebook at all. I may in the future, but right now I don’t have the time to dedicate to it. My fear is if I did, I would get sucked in big time. I don’t think my wife would like that 🙂 She’s already wondering about all these friends 😉

    I love your posts, but might start coming here for the illustrations, just to see what you’ve come up with!

    • Thanks Craig!! Glad you like the illustration 🙂

      Yes, social media sure is time consuming and I’ve found that I’m either working OR I’m on social media – I’ve still not found a way to make chatting online fall under the category of “work”

  3. Hi Ameena,

    The drawing is awesome! I love it.

    I have been thinking a lot about your question, and not just for me personally, but for the university where I’m working. We’re visible on Facebook, and that’s mainly because that’s where all our students and potential students are. Not many in Norway are using Google + or Twitter or any of the other social media channels, at least not compared to Facebook. So, that’s why we’re present on Facebook.

    But, does that mean that we shouldn’t be using any of the other social media channels? Well, I don’t think so. It depends on time and resources, and I usually want to keep testing new services and features before things go mainstream. That’s why I’m considering creating a G+ Page for the University. But, on the other hand, I’m a little sceptical since I can hardly get time to manage what we already do on Facebook… and I believe that’s the important part; stick to what works, and what you have time to do. If I started using different other social media channels, it would probably hurt what we currently do on Facebook.

    • Thanks so much Jens.

      Yes, time and resources are key in deciding where you should be. If you had a team to manage multiple channels then go for it. Personally I feel that focussing your energies on just 1,2 or even 3 channels and being able to give them your full attention is more productive than being everywhere.

      We all know you can’t be everywhere all the time.

  4. Great post Ameena and so true. I’ve created profiles on all the social media networks, but most of them are so that I can control my “brand” and not have some party pooper grab it and start talking smack. Though they always seem to talk smack…

    This is the case with the Goolge+ business page. Frankly I’m not sure how I’m going to use it or if I will even use it. Right now it’s sitting there waiting for me to figure it out, if I ever do.

    At the end of the day I’ve found I’m most comfortable just being me on social media. I grab my business name so that others won’t, but it’s me over here (and a large team of contractors) and that’s just fine. Why try to put on airs when there’s no reason to?

    So far I’m sticking with Twitter and my own brand properties that include content curation and a marketing chat.

    • Thanks Robert,

      Yes, I have created pages everywhere so I own my name and then I have the luxury of time to decide if, how, when and why I use it.

      You raise an interesting point … driving traffic to YOUR site to generate conversations there is something I feel more should do. At the end of the day you could have an awesome conversation on Facebook or Twitter but it’s on THEIR platform – not yours…. food for thought

      Thanks for sharing

  5. Hi Ameena,

    Nice to see you again. Your post is most encouraging as I am about to be overwhelmed by time on my blogs. I do get discouraged seeing many people on many channels while I am only blogging and on Twitter. Pathetic right?

    But you are right, do what we can with the time we have. I guess I am trying to rush things again.

    • Hi Jimmy!

      There is nothing wrong with choosing one channel to communicate your efforts!!! Some bloggers never tweet, facebook, G+ etc …

      Don’t rush, do what you can, when you can. Make a goal and plan to achieve it … the rest will fall into place.

      Good to see you again!

  6. Hey Ameena,

    Nice post. I usually test drive each channel for a while and then decide where to invest my time. For instance, Digg never worked for me. In 5 years I only got 1 post making it to the front page and I have tens with just 1 digg.

    On the other hand, since I tried Linkedin, I’ve not only gottten a great surge in referral traffic, but lots of conversation built around the posts. The only drawback is that conversation occurs on Linkedin instead of my comments section, but it’s no biggie. The goal is to get the word out, no matter where it reverberates.

  7. Where was this post months ago! 🙂 I use Facebook because that’s where I started. I also moved to Twitter, but I don’t see as much of a following there. Maybe I don’t get it, maybe I follow the wrong peeps? I don’t know… Learning to use it was on a wing and a prayer! I read and read and read… but it seemed difficult to determine who were just spammers and ads or who were sincerely there to network.

    I moved over to Google+ but eventually said it was for another day… just not right now.

    So I primarily reach out via Facebook, to answer your question. 🙂

    Thanks again for the advice!

  8. Wheww is all I can say!!! I’m a newbie blogger and this is a major relief to hear!! I have been learning some of the social media tools but really when does a person say..I can’t do it all:) I do really have a life I have to live, HA!
    Thanks Ameena!

    • Hi Shari,
      It’s so daunting when you first start out – there is often this feeling that everyone is everywhere which simply isn’t the case.
      Do what you have time for, what you enjoy, and if time permits, check out other things.
      Thanks for coming over, hope to see you again soon!

  9. Ok, I am digging the picture. Seriously you need to trademark these, they are great. In regards to social media, I only use what I have time for. There is so much crap out there to make you bonkers if you try and keep up with everything.

    I also work full time during the day, so Twitter is the only thing I seem to have time for most days, and Facebook gets looked at when possible.

    I think finding the right tools that you’re comfortable using and understand helps, but if it helps get the word out about your business…stick with it!

  10. OOH-SURE. NOW you tell me! LOL.
    I am still trying to figure out WHO-WHAT-WHERE my demographic IS for the Horseback Adventures!! Hunting? Easy-peasy, been doing it for so long, I can talk to potential clients in my sleep… but the other?? (shoulders up around my ears that are BURNING!)

    Between yourself and the post I recieved from KISSmetrics this morning, I guess I really am going to have to make that first video (gag)now. Enough already. Watching you, John, Marcus and Gini on the videos you’ve each made, now I have step by step instructions… ugh. Better just do it!

    I love your jester! He’s CUTE! (dreamy eyes!)
    Thanks for good straight talk, Ameena!

  11. Once again, Ameena, you’re telling it like it is.

    So my inclination os to shout out a resounding, “Thank You!”

    Thanks for being one of the rare “straight shooters” I’ve encountered in the blogosphere.

    Looks like Sonia and I have some things in common …

    We both try to maintain our social media sanity while also working jobs outside the home. (Best of luck to ya, Sonia!) And we’re both aware of all the “crap” online.

    Sonia commented:
    “There is so much crap out there to make you bonkers if you try and keep up with everything.” Tooooo true! I published a blog post this weekend entitled, “The Sea Of Infocrap”. 😉

    Your main point is very well taken. Let’s face it … we only have two hands, two feet, and one voice. We’ve got to find a way to stop letting ourselves be led by the nose to believe we HAVE to jump on every social media site and have a strong presence there.

    Rubbish, I say!

    I’m a big Facebook fan, too. 🙂

  12. Just came across this great post while cleaning up my inbox and saw that you linked to it in a recent newsletter.

    I like the “toolbox” metaphor. Social media channels fall under one of my favourite mottos, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” It costs more time and money to throw everything to the wall and see what sticks than to research and create a social media plan.

    I say this often: If someone comes to me and wants me to set up social media for them, they need to have a reasonable answer to “why” and it can’t be “because this person told me I should” or “because that’s what people do.” Not every social media channel is right for every business. For years I didn’t believe that Facebook was right for a lot of businesses (now I feel that most businesses SHOULD be on Facebook).

    Myself? I haven’t really gotten into Pinterest much personally but because I refer to myself as a “social media expert” I have made it a point to learn it. If there’s a social media platform I want to know about it, even if I find it useless or not for me. Recently on Facebook another blogger – one famous in her niche – commented that she didn’t really “get” Pinterest and was looking for insight. I was able to tell her how it might benefit her as a blogger. I told her to add compelling images to her post and use that to share the post (and yes, your jester rocks, by the way).

    I’m into Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, though I don’t have FB business pages (I run two blogs) and try to remember to updated Google+ occasionally. My Klout score (which I don’t take too seriously) is 62, so I must be doing something right. 🙂

    • Sounds like you are definitely doing something right Andrea! I find that many business owners can end up being gobbled up in the social media black hole if they are not careful – it’s time consuming and the return on that time is usually not inline with other marketing activities.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your story!

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