When to cut and run

Robert Niles wrote on Nov. 18 in the Online Journalism Review that “It’s okay: you don’t have to use every social media service.”

Thank goodness—because there are a lot of them. Wikipedia lists about 200 of the most popular sites, from Facbook to iWiW (it’s big in Hungary) to My Opera (the performance, not the web browser).

What’s scary is that list is woefully incomplete, and more sites are being added every day. And what’s very real is that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to stay meaningfully engaged in more than a small selection of these sites without giving up on your core business altogether.

Graphic by www.sironaconsulting.com/

Writers and communicators of all kinds are always taught to consider their audience. And Niles agrees. “I’m a big believer in meeting your audience where they are at, and of serving their needs using the tools most convenient for them,” he says.

At Trade Press Services, we successfully create and place bylined articles in the trade publications and on the websites that your customers read. It’s common sense, right? For some reason, this same common sense hasn’t translated over to social media, where too many companies and writers chase social media like a dog chasing its tail.

Question one for anyone using social media should be “Who is my audience?” followed immediately by, “Which social media sites do they use?” While Facebook and Twitter are general sites for most any audience, there are dozens of other venues that cater to your company’s specific niche, or your audience as a writer or blogger. And many of your customers will be using multiples sites within that same niche.

As Niles says, “It might be that if one video service, or one metrics tool, or one microblogging platform works well for you, so you don’t need to spend any time duplicating your efforts with someone else’s. There’s no point in using three different services to reach the same thousand users on each.”

Above all, find what works for your needs and your audience. If something provides results, stick with it. If it doesn’t, don’t feel an obligation to continue with what is a likely waste of your time. As Niles concludes, “It’s not your job to build someone else’s social network or publishing tool.”

If you’d like to help your company find its social media niche, contact Trade Press Services at (805) 496-8850 or e-mail gerri@tradepressservices.com.

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