I gave a couple tips for finding the social media sites your target audience is using.Â If you follow those tips, you’ll probably find many places where prospective customers are talking about your industry.
The temptation is too join all those sites.Â However, this is usually a bad idea.
Less is More
For the majority of business bloggers, participating on 1-3 social media sites is enough.Â You don’t want to overextend your social media efforts.
1. Social media marketing takes more time than you probably realize.
If you join a social voting site, it takes time to round up votes.Â Also, you’ll need to submit content that’s not your own.Â (This keeps you from looking like a spammer. )Â Finding content takes time.
If you join a forum, it takes time to respond to other forum members.
Plus, unexpected opportunities will come up, but you’ll need to spend extra time to take advantage of them.Â For example, you meet someone with whom you can create a profitable partnership.Â But it will take time to send the emails/private messages/IMs to make the partnership a reality.
Social media marketing can easily become a full-time job if you focus on too many sites.Â But as business bloggers, we can’t spend all that time.Â We still have blog posts to write and a business to run.
2. It takes time to understand a community.
We’ve all met someone and had an initial impression about them.Â But as we got to know them, we’ve often been wrong on our impression.
This type of experience also happens with social media.Â You may think you understand the members of a social media site.Â However, as you participate on the site, you’ll learn many new things about the members and the culture they’ve created.
Much of the benefit in social media marketing is knowing a community well.Â This knowledge allows you to promote your business in such a way that appeals to them.
The more time you spend on a social media site, the faster you will understand that community’s culture.Â Therefore, participate on fewer sites.Â This lets you spend more time on each site.
3. It takes time to build a reputation.
Building your business’ reputation (or brand, in traditional marketing terms) is very important on the internet.
To improve your reputation with a community, you’ll need to earn their trust.Â Trust, like in real life, takes time to earn.
On forums, it’s the members that have hundreds – maybe even thousands of posts – that wield a lot of influence.Â On social voting sites, it’s members that make thousands of votes and hundreds of submissions that drive a lot of traffic.Â On blogs, it’s the commenters that comment regularly that get click-throughs to their site.
You will need to be a prolific participant to become an influential member.Â This means adding value consistently to the community for a significant time period – at least a couple of months.
With consistent participation being an important part to building your reputation, it makes sense to participate in a few social media sites.Â If you participate in too many sites, you won’t have the time to be consistent.