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Social Media: Don't Get Stuck in the Quagmire
By: Jeff Louis
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If you work with social media in any capacity, you've probably realized that social media can be overwhelming at times. There is a lot to keep track of, and the presence of applications means that it is important to keep track of what's being sent where and to whom. Great content means zilch if it's not relevant to the audience.

A while back I came across a post on Focus that advocated the "50 Social Sites That Every Business Needs A Presence On," and my first thought was, "No effin' way!" That is the most ridiculous piece of advice I've read on establishing a social media presence. Nonetheless, the author walked through each site, one at a time, until all fifty have been reviewed.

The fact that there are over 50 social media sites in the first place is probably a warning sign. Just like the online businesses that vanished following the dot-com bust, many current social media sites will either cease to be or become part of a larger site. The author on Focus classified employment sites, such as CareerBuilder, Hot Jobs, and Monster, as social media. Since when do users create profiles and form communities on any of those sites? When was the last time you logged onto any job site and commented on your friend's job search, career opportunities, or provided suggestions?

The article skipped blogging sites altogether (Wordpress, Blogger, etc.). It also didn't include MySpace, Orkut, FriendFeed, or Ping.FM. Other than the employment sites as noted above, the article did mention Furl (out of business), and Digg (not oriented toward business use). Also overlooked are the many photo-sharing sites (Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa, Snapfish, Shutterfly, etc.) The most glaring oversight was that the list did not include Scribd or Slideshare, both sources of fantastic content from businesses and individuals on a wide-variety of topics.

I do agree with the overall premise of the article in that businesses need to expand their social media presence, yet there's a point where saturation will be reached. Just as a sponge is able to hold a finite amount of liquid, businesses can only effectively use a limited number of social media sites.

Corporate social media should be a planned effort with all of the individual pieces able to work independently as well as cohesively. Prior to starting a campaign, company priorities and goals need to be established. To maximize effectiveness and ROI, marketing departments/agencies must research the benefits and drawbacks of each site in the consideration set. Choose sites that complement the corporate blog, have a majority of users in the target demographic, and can be easily modified to portray the company image.



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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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