How to Know When a Social Network is Worth Your Time

Only a few short months ago, Peach, a new social networking app was launched. Billed as “The New Snapchat,” infused with parts of Facebook and Twitter, it took the online world by storm. It took only a week to break into iOS’s top 10 list of networking apps. Headlines like “Why the Peach app is suddenly the hottest thing in social media” and “Peach Is So Hot Right Now” could be found littered across newsstands and the internet.

After its meteoric rise, Peach has lost much of the initial buzz, and has been relegated to a niche market. Many of the same outlets who were praising it are now writing its obituaries.

Peach is not the first to experience this rapid rise and fall, and certainly won’t be the last. So how do you know what social networks are important for your nonprofit? Clearly, it’s essential for your brand to have a presence on social media, but deciding which sites are worth your time can be tricky. Here’s some tips to help determine which sites could be here for the long haul.

It Has to be Unique

By the end of 2015, Facebook reportedly had nearly 1.6 BILLION active monthly users—more than the population of China. As much as the heads of these new networks would like to think otherwise, those users aren’t going to be lured to another platform easily. Unless there’s some unique feature that Facebook doesn’t offer, they are likely to stay put.

You should look at your marketing efforts in the same light. If a site doesn’t give you a new and unique way to promote your message, then why should you spend time using it? Don’t spread yourself thin by trying to communicate or build your brand across too many channels. Perfect one, or a few, before expanding. As the saying goes, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”

Follow Your Audience

No matter how much time and effort you put into a social network, it’s all for not if there is nobody there to hear it. If the people you are trying to reach aren’t seeing your message, you’re just wasting time.  

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should only focus on the networks with the largest number of users. In fact, if there is a platform that is unusually popular among your audience, it could be more beneficial for you than some of the major sites. A smaller site that is being used by much of your following can create a more personal connection.

Talk to the people that you are trying to connect with, and find out which sites they use on a regular basis. You will likely predict the most popular ones, but you may just find a diamond in the rough that can take your social marketing to the next level.

How It Works into Your Existing Strategy

A good social media marketing plan connects different social networks like pieces of a puzzle; each site fits perfectly with other ones, and every “piece” plays a part in making the strategy complete. There’s no magic formula for how all of the different sites work together, and what works well for one organization may not work for another.

Once you get all of your different social networks working together smoothly, it’s important to be skeptical when adding other platforms. Even when a new site is seemingly taking over, it may not be right for you if it doesn’t do something substantial for your cause. On the other hand, if it seems like you aren’t getting as much as you should be from your social media efforts, it may be time to add sites, replace some that you think are underperforming, or even drop unnecessary ones altogether.


Social media is a great way to connect with people and build your brand, and it’s important to have a strong presence. Keep an eye on any new sites that may be useful for your marketing efforts, but don’t jump on one simply because it’s new.

social network marketing

Austin Heineman

March 23, 2016

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