I've written it before, social media is free except for the cost of our time. Well, with budgets being cut and there being less resources to do the same amount of work, our time is pretty darn precious. To be the most effective with the time we have to do marketing, it is important that we first find out where to be.
Let's take Twitter for example. I love Twitter. But, I live in a small ruralized suburb. How many people are really on Twitter in my immediate community? For the businesses in my community that are marketing to residents, are there enough people on Twitter to receive their tweets and make the Twitter effort worth their time? If marketing to a more regional audience, the justification gets stronger.
What about Facebook? What portion of our audience is on Facebook? Facebook requires significantly less effort than Twitter because it is a community we create for our peeps. We build it and periodically initiate conversations and messages, but it is mainly about giving our peeps the freedom to discuss our programs, products, and/or services.
The best way for us to find out where to focus our marketing efforts is to ask. I have created a template you are welcome to use at http://www.slideshare.net/LaurieBoettcher. Just below the 'Presentations' section is another section titled 'Documents.' There is a .pdf of Where Are You in Social Media? that lists the top six social media sites as of February 2010. A good sampling of people surveyed will help you know where to focus your efforts.
This is a good start. In the next blog, we'll talk about what to do to build our following on social networking sites to make the effort even more worthwhile.