Use them to your advantage, not theirs
The large Social platforms we all know do have a huge outreach on the web. They can help you to engage with literally millions of of other users and can be of great assistance to your business when broadcasting information. But remember they are not your friend and you are not their client. They connect users en masse worldwide sure but these users are ultimately sources for data collection and targets for advertising. So play the game but don't think you owe them every piece of information you have or that they request. And remember that once you have shared data within one these networks, it's probably online forever more.
Social Media and targeted engagement
So having established what they are and that you need to engage with them strictly as business trying to make connections the next task is to find out which ones will be good in your mix, how many you should be involved with and how much engagement you need to have with each one. A few useful questions...
- What purpose does this platform serve?
- Who is it targeted at and is that audience relevant to my business?
- How much time will need to be invested before my business gains any standing on this platform?
To illustrate this I am listing the three that we still have accounts with and their current value to our business as a mark out of 10 though it must be said we have put very little effort into our Twitter or Behance accounts over the years, having been fortunate enough to develop our business primarily through referral.
- Twitter - Originally to follow and support clients, very little involvement over the past few years - value 3/10
- Vimeo - We love Vimeo as a hosting service and broadcast platform - value 9/10
- Behance - We like Behance in concept but have never had time to really engage so obviously little return - value 2/10
In conclusion then you only get something out of these platforms if you are willing to invest time along with meaningful content and commentary. You need to choose the right mix and remember that once your business has started engaging with a social platform it can't really afford to stop. An abandoned Twitter feed on your website really doesn't look good to prospective clients who are trying to learn more and gauge your business.