Less Is More On Social Networking Sites

The true value in using social media to find more customers for your business comes from going where the people are.  It’s a basic rule of sales, based on the law of averages…the more people you have access to, the more likely you are to find people who want to buy from you.  Unfortunately, some sellers translate this into thinking they need to join EVERY social media site that’s out there.  People often ask me, “is there a way to update all these sites at the same time? I need to have time to work on my business too!  And do I need to be on EVERY site my prospects are on?”

These are GREAT questions.  If you’ve been reading my blog for any period of time, you know that I recommend that you avoid services such as ping.fm that allow you to update your status on multiple social media sites at the same time. The audiences for each of these social networking sites is different, and the way you should be interacting with them is different.  Plus, relationship building requires your presence.

But then how do you ever get the rest of your work done if you have to visit each site individually?  You also need to be managing products, servicing customers, providing customer follow-up in order to generate reorders, etc.  There are simply not enough hours in the day to add a multitude of social media sites and build relationships on all of them well.

Social Media SimplificationYou know what?  You are absolutely right.  There AREN’T enough hours in the day to be on every social media site there is, and still run your business well.  And that’s why you should be choosy.  As the title of this post says, less is more.  Rather than trying to find every single prospect that may possibly exist on every single social networking site that’s out there (and then not be able to do the relationship-building activities required to turn them from prospects into customers), instead focus on just a few sites with the highest population of your target market.

In my opinion, the best sites for business owners to focus on are Facebook (#1…biggest social networking site with the most people who are most likely in your main demographic), Twitter (when you’ve dried up that group of family & friends and are ready to build relationships with new people), and LinkedIn (where you can connect with people that may become business partners, and who may be checking you out before they do business with you.)  You may also find niche-specific groups that are specific to your target market, where you’ll be able to build the relationships that lead to success.

Now this is not to say that new sites won’t emerge in the future (and when I know about them you can be SURE I’ll write about them on my blog, so be sure you’re subscribed.)  But for now, if you’re just getting your feet wet in social media, start with Facebook.  Most connections are based on an underlying relationship that’s already established, and it’s a great and comfortable way to get started in social networking.  Plus the viral-sharing capabilities in Facebook make it a great way to share information without spamming anyone.  (And DON’T be one of those direct people posting things like “Buy my stuff!” “We’re having a SALE!” People don’t like it and they will ignore you in large measure.  While you may get 1 or 2 customers from this strategy, you will gain a lot more over time if you skip the spam and employ a thoughtful content-marketing strategy.)

So remember, less is more!  Don’t join every social networking site there is and overwhelm yourself.  You also don’t want to get so busy with social networking that you forget your income-producing activities!  By being strategic in the sites that you join, you’ll experience a lot more success in your social media marketing.

Now it’s your turn!  What sites are you a part of?  How do you manage the time and relationships?  How does it relate to your overall business?  Would LOVE to read your comments below!

Jennifer Fong

Photo Credits: James Cridland, jrvetson (Creative Commons license on Flickr)

Jennifer Fong helps direct sales companies, direct sales professionals, and other home-based business owners leverage the power of social media to grow their businesses. A former direct sales company CEO and serial entrepreneur, Jennifer is passionate about teaching direct sellers how to use social media tools to enhance their businesses, while remaining true to the basics of a party plan business. She helps business owners put the principles of social media to work in a profitable way, maximizing the return on their social media investment.  Visit Jennifer’s Direct Sales & Social Media blog at http://jenfongspeaks.com and subscribe to her newsletter by clicking here.

Jennifer Fong

Serial Entrepreneur at Technology Strategist
Jennifer Fong helps direct sales companies, direct sales professionals, and other home-based business owners leverage the power of social media to grow their businesses. A former direct sales company CEO and serial entrepreneur, Jennifer is passionate about teaching direct sellers how to use social media tools to enhance their businesses. She helps business owners put the principles of social media to work in a profitable way, offering coaching and training to business owners.Her next course is Facebook for Direct Sellers.Learn how to put the power of Facebook to work for your business!Register now!Visit Jennifer’s Direct Sales & Social Media blog at http://jenfongspeaks.com

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14 Comments

  1. Toni Hunter

    Since I use Twitter, Linked In and Facebook with different connections and strategies for each, I’m feeling rather smug!
    Thanks for an interesting post
    .-= Toni Hunter´s last blog ..Important deadlines for taxpayers… =-.

    Reply
  2. Terri

    Thanks ladies I appreciate all the input. Social networking is an important part of online activities for when we can’t network offline but should not replace offline face-to-face activities.
    .-= Terri´s last blog ..4 ways to success in Network Marketing =-.

    Reply
  3. sadonna

    my delima (after i actually find time to sit down to do social networking, of course) is what to say. I never really know what to say and I’ve always been under the impression that customers (or potential ones) dont need to know the goings on in your day to day personal lives… so whats left other than business stuff? Well, its basically the same everyday—working on orders, coming up with new stuff, adding stuff to site when i can, and “we’re having a sale” 😉

    maybe i’ll figure it all out one day.. for now im on twitter, have a facebook fan page and a blog…. but as you guessed it, they are rarely updated.

    Reply
  4. Karen Clark

    I love this advice. All too often I see direct sellers who seem to be spending all day online and not out making calls or doing parties. It is SO easy to get sucked into the online stuff but the offline parts of our business need to come first so streamlining is so important! I personally check in with FB more than anything (since most of my local contacts are there, thus more potential for bookings etc.) and also check in to Twitter a couple times a day to see what the ‘buzz’ is about and figure out if I can add anything to it among my niche. I also really enjoy the tips and ideas shared at one Yahoogroup, called “agameaweek” and that is something anyone can join. It’s a quiet group but when someone asks for help, there are many direct sellers who jump in with advice! I also like the forums at wahm.com. I’ve found that checking in to FB and Twitter on a daily basis, then picking once a week or so to check in to the forums or email groups works for me. I have “fun Friday” which is when I let myself fritter around online more and do the kinds of things that aren’t critical but could get me some extra exposure.

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Karen,
      I agree– I think it’s easy to forget all the traditional ways of marketing (making phone calls, direct-mail, trade shows, etc) because we get so caught up in social media.

      I like your “schedule”–going to try do the same thing.

      Thanks so much for sharing!
      Heather

      Reply
  5. Deb

    As usual, Heather, you hit the nail on the head again. Finding that balance in our social networking is critical – and is what I struggle with the most. It’s hard to find something that can help your business, but doesn’t take too much time.

    I’ve found some good groups on Ning to join, (Twitter moms is a good one) and while I’ve yet to find just the right one, you can search groups by your keyword(s), and then view how many are in that group (too many and you fade into the masses, too few and it’s not helpful).

    I also think it’s important you find a place where there are like-minded members, too. About a year ago I spent waaay too much time in a group that I later found out was mostly moms of small children that didn’t homeschool OR have a business. Since my biz deals with homeschool moms with teens that have a business, that was didn’t last long. Duh. Live and learn.

    It really seems that this building a business online is a journey that we never really arrive at…but get a little better at it the longer we stick to it. Websites like Mogul Mom really help along the way!
    .-= Deb´s last blog ..The Reader’s Choice Award, 2009 =-.

    Reply
    • Heather Allard

      Thanks so much, Deb…I’m glad The Mogul Mom helps! And thanks for the great tip about Ning groups! Will have to check that out!!

      Heather 🙂

      Reply
  6. Terri

    I am on Facebook and Twitter but haven’t tried LinkedIn yet. The problem with social networking sites is not only having the time to build relationships but it seems others I have approached don’t have the time to continue being friendly and carrying on any cyber-conversation either.

    There doesn’t seem to be a way to BUILD relationships on social sites, any suggestions?

    Thanks
    .-= Terri´s last blog ..4 ways to success in Network Marketing =-.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Fong

      Terri,
      I find that the best way to build relationships is to continually engage, and also to provide information of value. So identify the questions your target market has, and provide little tidbits of wisdom and knowledge that help that market. Write blog posts that provide value, and provide links to those, as well as to other useful resources on the internet. Once you provide value, then help people get to know you by giving them a little glimpse into who you are. I do this myself by sharing pictures of my kids and my dog, as well as sharing recipes, since I love to cook. All of these are engagement activities that help to build relationships, and that encourage people to subscribe. Once they subscribe, you can market your business more directly.

      I hope that helps!
      Jennifer Fong
      .-= Jennifer Fong´s last blog ..Think Before You React to Your Direct Sales Company Online =-.

      Reply
  7. Libby

    I couldn’t agree more with limiting the social networking so you can focus on income producing activities. You can easily get caught up in thinking you need to be everywhere and then neglect important aspects of your business. No one can possible keep up with bookmarking sites, social sites, blogs, websites and still run a business without an army of people.

    Reply
  8. Heather Allard

    Jennifer,
    Thank you for writing this much needed post. Personally, I’ve been feeling a bit scattered when it comes to social networking — like I need to be everywhere but of course I know that’s not possible.

    I’m going to do what you said and narrow down the social networking sites that are the best match for me and my mission. 😉

    Thanks so much!
    Heather

    Reply

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