There are lots of social network websitesWhen I mention Social Networking to our business customers, the first thing that always pops into their mind is Facebook, but is Facebook the most efficient use of your businesses time or resources?

There are literally hundreds of social network s and although Facebook certainly has size and popularity on it's side,  bigger is not always better when it comes to getting your point across.

Bigger is Always Better isn't it?

Well no, not always. To use a rather bizarre example; If shooting fish in a barrel is like, well, "shooting fish in a barrel", why would you waste your buck-shot attempting to shoot fish in the ocean?

Many companies get fixated with arbitrary numbers when it comes to social marketing, and website traffic analysis in general and I spend a lot of time trying to explain that showing a post to an audience of 100 social network users can be better than showing it to 1000 if the 100 are targeted and the 1000 are un-targeted.

People Who See our Facebook Posts are our Fans!

Are they really and does that mean they are actually interested in buying your products?

If you begin to build your Facebook fanbase by inviting your friends who you believe will be interested in your business your fanbase will be a collection of people who may well be interested in your products, however the more fans you get the less control you have over the quality of your fans.

Ignoring the mass of fake accounts liking business pages through automated scripts, Facebook is rife with "happy clickers". Happy clickers will click the like button for all and every page they come across, they also tend to have many "friends" who will do the same, very soon your Facebook "fans" can become very un-targeted.

The major risk of the Facebook terminology such as "Like", "Fans", and "Friends" is it inflates the perceived importance of the numbers, 200 fans sounds like a very targeted audience so businesses will spend more time trying to get their message across to them when in reality only a small percentage of the fans are potential customers.

Getting the "Edge" on Facebook is Now More Time Consuming.

Facebook used to be simple, you make a post, if your fans scroll past that point in time because they are on at the time or they browse back through posts since they last viewed Facebook, they'll see it. More recently because of the Edge Rank Algorithms it's not so simple, each post you make is affected by "Edge Rank" which decides how much exposure your post will get.

The Edge Rank means you can't just make a post and it be seen any more, you must now continuously gain interaction from your fans in order to be shown to them, therefore it's not good enough to post to Facebook when you have something to say you need to fill the gaps with posts that will prompt feedback from your fans to ensure your posts containing your message are actually seen.

Because getting the edge on Facebook requires interaction, and the people who are more likley to interact with your posts are the "happy clickers" it makes sense that your posts are more likely to be shown to your fans who are least likely to buy your products.

Targeting your Social Efforts.

More visits for much less effort

I'm not saying a presence on Facebook will do nothing for your business, if you put the time in it can be a good source of customers, however there's no harm exploring other social networks which with a little homework could return much better results for much less time and effort.

If Your Product is Visual in Nature

Phisical products, such as clothing, home wares and other things you can take a photo of, can do extremely well on the image based social networks such as Pinterest and LoveIt.

The great thing about these sites is it's easy to share your content, without needing to write new engaging text to accompany your images. Your content will also be shared with people who are actually interested with very little effort. Your posts will also continue to be seen by potential customers days, weeks and months after you've posted them.

The table to the right shows the result of posting 3-4 times a dayon Facebook vs posting 3-4 times per week on Pinterest.

Which Social Networks To Use?

Try to pick social networks which appeal to your target audience, flickr and 500px are great if your product appeals to photographers, Myspace and Last.fm for musicians and music fans, there will probably be a few of the smaller networks which appeal to your target audience more than others.

You could also take advantage of the many targeted discussion forums on the internet to get your message across. Members of a community forum are easy to interact with if you are passionate about your business as you can get involved with discussions which will spark an interest in you, your business and your products.

 

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