Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Which Social Media Sites Should You Be Marketing On?

by Stephanie Foster

There are a lot of social media websites out there. You could spend hours each day on marketing on them, but which ones will give you the best results?

That depends on you and your target market.

No social media website is going to do you any good at all if you don't put some effort into it. If you just sign up and drop your link in, you probably aren't going to see much benefit from any of them.

Where's Your Target Market?

Start by figuring out which social media websites your target market is using. With the wide range out there, they may be using a few, but there are some rules of thumb, such as more professional networking going on at LinkedIn and sites such as Twitter and Facebook having a huge range of people on them.

Social bookmarking sites can also be a good choice, although it can be hard to say how the quality of traffic will be. A ton of traffic doesn't always mean a ton of conversions, subscribers or anything other than a ton of traffic.

How Do You Use Social Media?

How you use a particular social media site depends on which one you're using. What works well on one may not be the best way to build a network on another.

To find people on LinkedIn, you may be best off letting them find you. Become an expert there. Join groups. Answer questions. Show that you're an expert and build your references as a professional. It's social, but more professional than personal.

Twitter does well if you can provide interesting information in a small space. It's good if you're able to tweet regularly and be interesting in some way. Share good article links, make interesting observations, interact with people as they post interesting things.

With all sites, the challenge is to keep them from eating up too much of your day. It's very easy to get sucked into the various sites. If you don't want to waste a lot of time on Facebook, for example, don't start playing the games there. Sign up, connect with some friends and you can quickly tell who's gotten too much into the various games. They might invite you, but unless you have time to spare you're better off avoiding the games. Better to spend your time on things there that will benefit your home business.

Using StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit and similar sites can also be a huge time suck. You can get some good traffic out of them if you build a good profile and connections, but you can also lose a lot of time wandering them aimlessly. Use them wisely and at times when you can't so easily do things that will more directly bring in business.

On any social media site, being overly promotional is not a good idea. People aren't there to have things sold to them. They're networking because they enjoy it, to build their own business, to get good information, that kind of thing. If you do nothing but say "buy, buy, buy," they'll unfriend you as fast as they can.

Instead, give quality information to bring people to you. If you sound like an expert and they need what you have to offer, they'll decide to do business with you.

How Many to Use?

You can't do a good job of using all social media websites, not even if you only stick to the big ones. There's too much to do.

You'll be better off if you can pick a couple to focus on. Get good at marketing on them.

Dividing your efforts dilutes them. There's a balance between being available on a variety of networks and being unable to keep up.

As with any other sort of marketing you haven't tried before, start by using just one social media site. Figure out what you're doing. Get some fans, friends, followers, whatever they're called. Get comfortable.

Social media marketing isn't something that comes naturally for everyone, but it's a big help for bringing in traffic and business if you use it right. Give yourself some time and really pay attention to the learning process. You might find it a lot of fun as well as profitable.

About the Author

Stephanie Foster runs http://www.homewiththekids.com/ as a resource for people who want to work from home on the internet. Learn more ways to build a home business on a budget at her site.