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by Jennifer Lumba   | August 09, 2015

Last month, we talked about linking all the various social media platforms for maximum marketing impact. This month, we question the wisom of trying to be that connected. Here are 10 tips for prioritizing your tools and time spent on social media marketing:

1. Pick a form. Are you better at longer-form, explanatory posts or dispensing short burts of wisdom? Medium and LinkedIn publishing can be excellent for the former -- especially if you have a LinkedIn company page -- while Snapchat and Instagram are better for the latter. Let your primary plaform play to your strengths.

2. Go where the engagement is. Meaurement tools such as Cyfe and Google Analytics can help you to see engagement levels across platforms. Concentrate your posts to platforms where you are most likely to get a response.

3. Find your fans. No single platform will serve all your needs. In fact, it's quite common for brands to cultivate different types of fans on different platforms. Make a spreadsheet to track interactions and then see which two to three platforms produce the most vocal supporters.

4. Use hashtags to organize across platforms. Once you find them, use a hashtag to help track posts about your brand or product across networks. Respond on the platforms that have the highest ROI, getting to the other messages only as time permits.

5. Start conversations. Static tools are generally unhelpful for sustained engagement. Expiring conversations like the ones you'll find in Snapchat aren't that helpful either. Focus on platforms that allow you to find and sustain engagement. Twitter's group messages, for example, are a good way to start conversations.

6. Create multi-purpose messages. Embrace creative tactics to quickly re-use messages across platforms. For example, create a 120-character headline for a Google+ post that can be copied and repurposed for Twitter.

7. Don't choose! Distribution tools such as Buffer, HootSuite, and Sprout Social allow for engaging across a wide variety of networks at optimal times. Focus your time and attention on the network that's most comfortable for you and then use these tools to reshare and repurpose content more widely.

8. Use analytics and automation. Don't make hasty decisions when it comes to picking the right platforms. Instead, look at the data. What platforms perform best at which times? Plan to auto-post some of your content via the scheduling tools noted above.

9. Concentrate on your best relationships. Platforms are only as good as the person using them. Focus your time and effort on the relationships you've built and then use their preferred platform to engage regularly.

10. Connect your worlds. Finally, social media marketing is at its best when it connects the dots to the real world. Use your top platforms to stay in touch with those you'll want to meet up with at conferences or local events.

Remember, platforms are the means -- not the end. Use them, optimize them, measure with them, and then turn them off so you can focus on the real, face-to-face work of building lasting relationships.

Jennifer Lumba is the chief marketing officer of Rideau Recognition Solutions. Built on state-of-the-art technology, Rideau's employee recognition and customer loyalty programs change the way companies recognize employee service and achievement, reward individual and team performance, strengthen customer relationships, and create brand loyalty. Lumba can be reached at jenniferlumba@rideau.com.