What Social Media Tool Should You Use? No Easy Answers.

With so many different social media outlets to choose from, how do businesses decide which one or two they should focus their efforts on? It’s a question that many are pondering these days. The good news?

Social media decisions are no different than any other communication decisions you may have dealt with in the past. There are multiple ways that you can communicate and connect with any audience. To make the best choices you need to fully understand your audience, fully understand the options available to you and their pros/cons, determine whether your audience is engaged with a particular method (in this case various social media tools) and consider the level of that engagement — e.g. are they actively and passionately involved so that your messages will definitely be heard and attended to, or are they casual/infrequent participants in which case there’s a good chance that your messages may not even be seen?

When considering these options, one important caveat is “don’t make assumptions!” With social media, in particular, there is a tendency to assume that everybody is “out there.” They’re not. I was recently working with a client who was hoping to connect with CEOs in a particular industry on LinkedIn — seemed like a logical choice; LinkedIn is, after all, the most business-oriented of the social media tools (with the potential exception of Google+). But, some research on our part indicated that these CEOs were not only not engaged, they weren’t even out there! Why? Our guess: they’re busy people and simply don’t have the time to dabble in social media (as we communication consultants apparently do!).

Another key point when considering your options — commit to ongoing involvement. The biggest downfall that I see made when it comes to social media interaction is starting but not continuing the conversation. If you’re going to use social media as a communication tool with your markets you need to commit to doing so meaningfully and regularly. If you can’t, or don’t, do that, the ultimate impression you make will be negative. This commitment does not have to be overwhelming and can be positively impacted by the use of scheduling and monitoring tools (like Hootsuite, Google Alerts, etc.) to help you pre-plan and pre-populate your social media communication streams while responding to key items as they come through.

What social media tool–or tools–should you be using? It depends.

Recommended Reading:

Likeable Social Media  – Dave Kerpen

The Social Media Bible – Liz Murray

Related Blog Posts:

Introduction to FourSquare

Boosting the Power of Social Media

Marketing Strategies: Facebook Campaigns

 

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