Dozens of new social networks are popping up each month leaving many marketers and business owners in a state of analysis-paralysis. Trying to keep up with the latest social trends alone is overwhelming. Try to participate in every social network, and you’ll stretch yourself too thin and never see results. Here is a list of questions you should ask before diving into any new networks:

Who is your target market?

Identifying the target demographic of a social networking site isn’t much different of a task as it would be for any traditional form of advertising or business communication. You need to be able to answer 5 basic questions:

  • Who is using it?
  • What are they using it for?
  • When are they using it?
  • Where are they using it (mobile vs. desktop)?
  • Why are they using it?
  • How long are they using it for?

Who’s likely to use the network over time?

Early adopters of a social network are a good precursor to the demographic that will ultimately become that network’s primary users.

Are these people potential customers, or do they have the ability to influence your potential customers?

Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing. When evaluating a new social networking site, investigate how users will be able to influence their networks by sharing their voice along with your content and products. The social networks that have worked word-of-mouth and social sharing components into their ecosystems will provide you better marketing opportunities than others.

How does content get exposed to people on the network?

Consider the level of exposure your business and its content will gain. Joining a new network should help you expand your reach and help you stand out among competitors.

What resources are required to participate in this social network?

Many business owners are already overworked and adding one more element to the daily grind may just be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. You’ll achieve a better ROI by selecting a few key networks that are right for you and putting the necessary effort forth to really utilize the full power social media. Knowing your required investment in advance may make it a little more palatable.

Is there a promising ROI?
Measure the traffic, leads, and customers you’re successfully generating from your social presence.