In Carol’s recent post on Bank of America’s Small Business Community, “The Social Media Time Suck: How to Pick Your Platforms,” she shares her best advice on how entrepreneurs can get some real value from social media. Carol begins:

“Social media can be great for your business – or it can be a giant time suck yielding little financial gain.

While it’s tempting to try to be everywhere, most small businesses don’t have the arms and legs to do that effectively. Trying to update too many social platforms can lead to not doing any of them particularly well and thus, not generating the financial benefits you hoped for.

It’s not a great strategy to put identical content on multiple platforms. Each platform has a different expectation from users. Twitter is concise, opinionated and snarky. Facebook is fine with longer form content and live video. Instagram is driven by compelling visuals and humor. YouTube is the second largest search engine with every type of video imaginable.

There are many social media experts who say you should own your name on all platforms. I’ll share that I wish I had thought of that and registered my name on Twitter sooner. By the time I decided to become active on the platform before the launch of my book, I had to go with @CarolJSRoth.

You can “park” your name so nobody else can take it and not put up a page on a platform. That way, should this platform become relevant for you and your business in the future, you already have the name you want. This enables you to be more consistent with your branding across platforms.

Where are prospects looking for you?

A colleague of mine shared a facepalm moment about doing everything right in the wrong place. She spent years building up her Facebook and Twitter accounts, only to come to the realization that most prospects were looking for her services on LinkedIn – the platform she wasn’t focusing on. Oops!

Are your prospects’ preferences the same as yours? (Maybe… maybe not.)

Often, our customers are similar to us. Especially as service providers, we tend to see a need or address a pain point in a community that we know well.”

You can read the rest of the post here.