What Social Networks Should You Be On?

How many different social networks should you be a part of?

The answer is similar to the question, “How many fans should I have on Facebook?”  It’s not about how many you have.  It’s about how smart and strategic you are with what you have.

There’s a tendency for brands who start doing some social media to start thinking they should be on lots of different networks.  Usually, what this results in is diluted efforts and not maximizing yourself on the sites that can really do you some good.  So, let’s run through some of the major social networks and review what’s worth knowing about them.

Facebook is still the 800 pound gorilla when it comes to social media.  If you only put your brand on one social media site, this is the one.  Facebook has the number of hits, number of unique visitors, number of repeat visits, number of page views per visit, and so on to make your social media efforts worthwhile here.  Other sites sometimes get some big buzz, but Facebook is the social machine that just keeps running.

Twitter is probably the best-known social network after Facebook.  It’s been the clear #2, and there are many brands who have scooped up boatloads of fans.  The problem with Twitter is that a tiny, tiny fraction of your fans may act on what you want them to do.  It’s a great bulletin service or update network.  It stinks when it comes to calls to action or changing behavior.

Google+ benefits from the huge resources of Google, but came on the scene with the image of “the hot new, improved Facebook.”  Most people weren’t looking for another Facebook.  Some tech-oriented folks were pleased with the quality of the apps at Google+, but it was a meaningless difference for the vast majority of social media users.  Google+ still gets an impressive number of visitors, but they don’t come back very often.  One problem:  you can’t get to Google+ by going to Google+.com or GooglePlus.com.

Pinterest is the hot new site that’s attracting lots of adult women users.  It’s very, very visual, so it’s a bit of a stretch for many radio brands.  It’s also not as forgiving or flexible as Facebook; you can still attract some fans on Facebook even if you’re basically cutting and pasting your promo liners, as unadvisable as that is.  Trust me, you don’t want to dabble in Pinterest, unless you have some specific goals, a smart strategy, and a female-skewing audience for your brand.  Click here to see the 10 biggest brands on Pinterest, and you can see the common threads between them.

Tumblr is another very visual site, where people who have common interests share photos, videos, gifs and artwork.  I have the sense that Tumblr skews very young, attracting a lot of people in their teens and early 20s.  Plus, the more Tumblr blogs you follow, especially blogs that post frequently, the faster the site moves.  No matter what the site, most users only scroll down so far, and on Tumblr that means that people may only look at the last few minutes worth of blog posts.  Brutal!

MySpace is still a solid choice if you’re a band or a musician.  I wouldn’t worry about it for radio.

Tagged is a site that gets some big hits that’s geared towards making new friends.  This is not worth making part of your social media strategy.  Same thing for myYearbook and mylife.

LinkedIn specializes in career life and the workplace.  I don’t think this is anything but a distraction for radio brands.

YouTube, of course, is all about videos, and is a good place to store your brand’s videos … especially if storage is at a premium at your own site.  For most content management systems, it’s super-easy to embed any YouTube video on your brand’s website.  Same thing is true for creating links to your YouTube videos from Facebook.  You might even have fans go look through what you have on YouTube, but that’s extra credit that you shouldn’t count on.

I like Flickr for photo storage.  You can store up to 200 photos for free, and there’s nothing that says you can’t create multiple accounts.  Like YouTube, it’s very easy to keep things organized, and embed your photos at your site.  There are other photo services out there, but I’m partial to Flickr.  You could also, if you really wanted to, store photos on Tumblr, but it’s just harder and less intuitive to create any meaningful organization there.

So, long story short, Facebook makes sense for almost every brand.  There are reasons you might want to use Twitter or Pinterest.  YouTube is a great place for videos.  Remember, being social is not an end in itself … yet.  It’s still about getting people to use your brand on-air, online or on site, where it does you … and them … some good.

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