Social media is undoubtedly the in thing today. In fact, it’s not only social any more. Businesses are taking to it like flies to honey. But the sad thing is that it’s not all sweet. Today, social media networks are popping up like mushrooms. In fact, there are off the shelf packages that allow entire social media networks to be created in no time. But that’s sans the millions and millions of members naturally. Those still have to be earned the (somewhat) hard way. So businesses basically have thousands of social networks to choose from. Even if we drop the insignificant ones, there’s still a good four hundred odd networks to contend with.

In their rush to jump on the social media bandwagon, businesses are mindlessly signing up on social media networks. But there are two very pertinent questions that need to be answered. First, does the network serve the marketing objective? Second, can the business manage its presence on the network? Let’s look at the first question. Social media is not a contest to decide which business can have the maximum presence. It is a platform to connect with customers. And not just anyone, but specifically the customers it seeks to reach and serve. Hence, businesses need to first assess whether the social media network hosts its target audience.

The second question is even more important. Simply joining various networks is easy. But managing the account entails a lot of effort. After all, if you are to communicate with your customers, you had better do it properly and consistently. If we look at the first question in this context, it makes sense to only join a few relevant and manageable networks and not to spread the resources so thin that it leads to a mismanaged attempt in the social media space. Social media is certainly no panacea. It is but a tool, and it has to be treated as one. Hence, before embarking on a social media joining spree, businesses should put on blinders and ensure their social media plan is integrated into their overall marketing strategy.