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February 16, 2015 / Stephanie Vermillion

Should you join every new social network?

In the battle between night owls and early risers, I’m definitely #teamearlyriser.

Should you join every social network-I find those extra morning hours are the perfect time for eating breakfast (who knew?) and binge reading industry news. It’s a daily routine, and this week was no different.

I woke up early, brewed my coffee, and read my daily blog list. But this Friday, I noticed something interesting.

I had five new social accounts under my name.

Five new accounts. Within five days. Yikes.

Whenever I read about a new social media app or platform, I sign up to see what it’s all about. But five in one week? That’s a record for me. And this record got me thinking:

As PR pros, should we sign up for every new social network?

I vote yes, but only if it’s a personal account.

Sure, this can get out of control quickly (who wants 800 emails from 800 social sites?), but being personally on top of the latest sites with the greatest brand potential increases your value to clients.

It makes you the expert, not some source you’re quoting.

I sign up when I read or hear about a new network from a credible source. This keeps the number of accounts I join slightly more manageable, and it keeps my sanity somewhat in check.

After opening the account, I spend about five minutes sifting through to see what the site’s all about, then determine if it’s worth sharing with a client as an FYI.

Now, usually you should sit and watch before devoting a company’s time and resources to an account. But if you do see potential, reserve your client’s desired username early on to avoid that unpleasant Twittergänger situation.

If you don’t see a social network’s potential in five minutes, keep the site bookmarked for future reference (just in case), but leave it at that. Otherwise, your sanity will be nonexistent.

Quick disclaimer: I’m not, by any means, perfect at this. I’m sure there are a lot of social sites I miss. But, I do still sign up for about 95 percent of new sites I read about, and I’m working on bumping that up another 5 percent, so if you have any good ones, send them my way!

So that’s a brief look into the ridiculousness that is my personal social networking philosophy.

But what about brands?

Should they sign up for every new social network?

One word: No. (And if you’d like two words: absolutely not.)

Unless your company has endless resources with time to kill, it should hold off on jumping on the “brandwagon.”

Why?

First off, it’s not strategic. There’s no way your company’s target audience is on every single channel.

Second, you’ll spread your social team too thin to succeed.

You can do an OK job on dozens of sites that your audience may or may not use, or you can do an incredible job on two or three sites where your target audience is most active.

But don’t shy away from new sites completely.

If you noticed during personal evaluation that the site is, in fact, perfect for your company’s audience, then by all means suggest it. Just make sure you have a well-thought-out plan and some measurement parameters to support it.

Testing and evaluating new social sites can be insightful, informative and even down right hilarious (think Imgur). But it can also be a huge time suck.

Keep an eye on time spent and set boundaries for yourself, because otherwise you’ll look at the clock and realize, WHOA! It’s 11 p.m., and you’ve signed up for 10 new sites but you haven’t even eaten dinner.

And, speaking of dinner…

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