Social Networks – When Do We Say Enough is Enough?

by Lisa Sullivan on July 22, 2010

in Uncategorized

Or do we embrace the idea that a new one could potentially be better than a “tried & true” network?

social_networking_sites

It seems like every day that I login to the four or so hotbed networks that I feel I must keep a tab open for (Twitter, Hootsuite, Facebook, Linked In) there’s a new Tweet or post linking (or identifying) the latest fish to jump into the social fish bowl. I used to mumble under my breath, “Oh no, not another one.” Now, I find that I’m heading right to it and locking in my username before someone else does. But, that still begs the question – when do we say enough is enough?

Just in the last two months alone, I have personally registered for accounts on Social Vibe and Miio. I have also joined two additional Meetup groups as well, bringing me to a total of 10 networks I engage in periodically…some frequently. That doesn’t even count the Fan Pages I administer on Facebook (5) or the number of Twitter accounts I hold (5) or the number of Meetup groups I’m a member of (4). Some would say I have an addiction. I just say that I bring the term “social butterfly” to a whole new level albeit a personal one.

Bottom line here is that businesses recognize the value that social networks bring to their overall marketing strategy.

That’s just it, though. This is becoming the norm rather than the exception for business practices too. Don’t you think? OK, maybe not to that extreme but nonetheless, today more and more companies and nonprofit organizations are jumping into that proverbial social fish bowl I mentioned earlier. If they don’t know how to do it effectively, they hire companies like ours to help strategize, implement, and sometimes, facilitate their accounts. Granted, more often than not the top five networks (in no particular order) companies engage in are: Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and WordPress (or some other blog software). Still, the bottom line here is that businesses recognize the value that social networks bring to their overall marketing strategy.

When we strategize with clients and make our recommendations, one of our main focuses is consistency of brand management. We make every effort to help companies lock-in the usernames and links they wish to use for their brands on each of the social networks we recommend.

It doesn’t mean I have to use the site right away.

On a more personal level, I have heard both sides of the coin. Some say, “Nah. You don’t need to sign up for every social media network out there,” while others say, “Heck yeah! Lock-in your username now while you still can.” At first, I wouldn’t pay attention to the “others” but THEN I got smart and realized that it would be wise to at least register as soon as I can so that I can manage my own brand, my personal one. It doesn’t mean I have to use the site right away. It only means that I’ve secured my choice identifier, which for me IS me – Lisa Sullivan – or a variation of me (for example, “lisa.sullivan” or “LisaASullivan”). As I begun to do that, I also realized that I wished that I had locked in my personal URL a long time ago. Instead, a graphic designer by the name of Lisa Sullivan owns the (dot)com.

So, back to my original question –

When do we say enough is enough?

From a marketing standpoint, should marketers advise their clients to register for every social network that surfaces (or heck, even for the ones that are already out there)? OR should we leave well enough alone and concentrate only on what we are tasked with on their behalf?

It’s a loaded question, I know. And, I realize that there are well over 80 social networks in existence. But, I’d still like to hear what you think.

Discuss.

Image courtesy of: http://thinkconversation.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/social-overload/

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Karl Sakas July 22, 2010 at 11:03 am

I agree it makes sense to pre-emptively register usernames on new social networks, because we don’t know what will be dominant in the future.

During the Triangle AMA’s CMO panel earlier this year, Tom Barbitta of Cheerwine mentioned something the effect of: “You can see dozens of social network icons on a website. We don’t know which ones are going to ‘win,’ but it’s clear social media isn’t going away.”

Using one of the services that automatically registers names, for a nominal fee, seems like the best use of time, rather than manually registering at all [80] sites.

Certainly, the client (or their agency) should focus on actually USING the networks that are most relevant to their customers.

Reply

Lisa Sullivan July 22, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Thanks, Karl. I wasn’t actually suggesting that anyone register for all 80 (or so) sites. Rather, I was just bringing to a point the idea of registering for multiple sites and whether or not that was truly advantageous. I love hearing from other marketing & PR folks what their thoughts are.

On a personal level, I actually prefer to investigate the site before registering. With http://www.miio.com I see some merit…well, lots of it, actually. So, I grabbed my username as soon as I could. There have been others where I haven’t grabbed the name and still others where I’ve signed up, I see SOME merit but haven’t really taken the time to decipher the advantages or disadvantages yet.

On a more corporate level, I don’t know. I agree with you. I think it depends on the brand and just exactly what their goals are for engagement so that they can determine what is most relevant to their needs & those of their customers. BUT, what if a new site pops up that just might have the right amount of potential for a client. Should we as marketers grab a username at that site before someone else does or do we leave it alone & concentrate on the networks we are tasked with instead? That’s really the meat of the issue, I think.

Anyway, thanks so much for your thoughts!

Reply

Jay Dolan July 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm

I’ve always been lucky in a way that I’ve gotten the names I want on the social networks of my choosing. That said, I don’t sign up for accounts unless I plan on using them. It seems a waste that we obsess over personal branding that we just register names on things we will never use. It’s like if you never threw anything away because it might eventually come in handy.

I know this is different for companies with product and other brands to manage,but why waste your resources on things you could never use? You can’t predict the next big thing.

Reply

Lisa Sullivan July 22, 2010 at 1:50 pm

You are right, Jay – the idea that anyone can predict the next big thing is point on. On the other hand though, it doesn’t hurt to at least register a preferred name to ensure that the one desired isn’t already taken (or taken in the future). Again, I’m not suggesting for every network or for every new network but why not for the 1 or 2 that have potential? From the standpoint of a corporate brand (think Coca-Cola, Burt’s Bees,etc ), I think it would be smart to do so.

Then again, I also think it would be smart to also research & consider just exactly what that new network could do for the brand & how the brand would engage (i.e. one corporate account or multiple accounts; think Dell, ESPN, etc.) prior to registering the desired username. That has to be part of the equation too.

I thank you for your two cents as well! :)

Reply

Michael Hubbard Michael Hubbard July 23, 2010 at 7:32 am

You’re right Jay – you can NOT predict the next big thing, but why gamble? There are sites like http://www.KnowEm.com that scan them all for you and register at a small price, so you wouldn’t even be wasting time. But waiting until a site gets big or becomes a hit is often too late, so don’t miss the chance. And just because it starts slow, doesn’t mean someone like Google won’t come in and buy them for the technology and make them big – unless people have forgotten how difficult blogging was before Google bought Blogger.com and made it mainstream for everyone. Just saying, better safe than sorry – both in corporate as well as personal names.

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