Posted to Erik Wagner's blog on July 26th, 2012

Of the 300+ major social media channels, is your brand on the right one?

With over 300+ social media channels out there, choosing the right social media for business can be difficult.


I recently found myself searching for the right social media channel for one of my clients, a regional nonprofit wildlife organization. We wanted to see how we could leverage social media to increase their membership. Since hunters and fishers love talking about their trips and what they harvested and caught, social media appeared to be a logical strategy. 

My friends who hunt and fish frequently post photos of themselves with their 8-lb bass or 12-point buck on Facebook. I started to think of other photo sharing social channels that hunters and fishers might use and it made me think of Pinterest. 

While I was skeptical at first (because of the plethora of boards on weddings and jam recipes), it was apparent after doing a few searches that the hunting and fishing community has begun to adopt the channel for media sharing. 

In the last 20 years, marketing was relatively simple due to the limited channels--radio, print, television, telephone, and word of mouth. The Internet has made choosing the right social media for business significantly more difficult. According to Wikipedia, there are over 300 major social media channels. That list does not include the thousands of minor social networks out there. 

Participating on all of these social networks would be an impossible feat even with an unlimited budget. And while it’s true the spray and pray method of marketing does work, it is not an efficient use of your time or money. 

Determining which social media channels to utilize is not an easy task, but it starts with identifying what your target market is doing on these networks and ensuring that it is aligned with the ultimate goals of your social media campaigns. 

Observing how your potential market utilizes the social network is an obvious way to determine whether the social network is a good fit. That may not always be easy because of privacy settings on certain networks. In which case, you can take the study a step further and survey your ideal clients to determine which social media channels they utilize and how they use them. 

To go back to the wildlife organization case, because of the regional nature of the non-profit organization, Pinterest would not be a good fit. The amount of effort required to make an impact would have far surpassed the benefits  their organization would have felt from a membership growth perspective.

Once you’ve determined which marketing channels are most effective for your target, it’s time to change channels. Pause the channels that your audience is not using or not utilizing in a manner that is conducive to your number goals. Focus your time and attention on the channels that will produce for your organization. Get your brand promoters to interact with your target audience on those channels and watch as your promoters convert your passives and detractors into customers. 

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