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Pinterest? Digg? Twitter? Instagram?: Deciding Which Social Network

There’s no denying that social media can be a very powerful tool in the arsenal of a small business, but with all of the social networks out there to choose from, do you really have to be on all of them? 

Probably not. In fact being on all of them might be a really bad idea.

Spreading Yourself Too Thin

Every time you sign your business up for a new social media service you’re telling your customers that you care enough about a platform to use it. There’s really nothing wrong with that. If you’re a small business owner that’s willing to spend time creating and contributing unique content to a social media network, then it’s a win-win situation for you and your company.

If on the other hand, you’re finding yourself drowning in the labors of running a business and maintaining and creating content for your primary site it you might be spreading yourself too thin.

For business owners the goal for social media is to connect with your customers, either to interact with them directly or to advertise and market your business’ services to them. This is tough to do on one social network, and unless you’re employing a social network expert,  you can find that your days are spent updating timelines, and filling out profile details.

A certain population of your audience *might* want to be your friend or follow your posts on  every social network -- but understand that not everyone does, and adding Social networks to your list is only going to increase the pool of expectant audience members spread across various networks: all of whom interpret the given platform in the different ways.

Diluting Your Brand

By creating accounts on social networks that may not have relevance to your brand you might be doing yourself a disservice. Opening a Pinterest account is probably not going to help your 24 hour plumbing business, using Instagram isn’t going to help document shredding company.  

Before signing up your business for a new service think about how your users will interact with it. What is going to be unique about the content that you create or post? Ask yourself if you could be creating the same content for your site and instead of posting it directly to a social network you can share it instead or make it easy for the content to be shared from your site to somewhere else?

Pick A Social Network That Fits Your Business

So how do you know if you should be on a particular social network? The key is asking if the social network will create a  valuable to experience for your and your users. This implies that you know what your customers and users want, but it also means that you’ve thought about what kind of interactions you’d like to have with them.

Instragram, Pinterest, Digg, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all great platforms but asking yourself how you’re going to create something new and rewarding for your visitors is what’s going to make you a success on those sites .

Final Advice

Our last piece of advice is applicable everywhere online: create great content and audiences will follow you on *any* social network that you choose. Social networks are nothing but micro version of the internet, and what makes the internet a compelling medium is its ability to adapt to whatever a user wants. Remember, always think about how you can add meaning and purpose to your interactions with your users and customers.  Doing that will ensure that you’re doing what’s best for your business *and* your users.



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