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Stake Your Claim With Social Media

Like prospectors panning for gold in the Old West, your small business must stake a claim in the vast new frontier of social media where the opportunity for a real strike with your target audience seems likely.

And, like those rugged frontier men in history books and old movies, you must first develop a keen eye and good experience when seeking those opportunities for your small business in the social media space.

Here are some tips for prospecting and staking your claim to a niche on your favorite social media platform whether here at or on another social media site. Best of luck!

Study the lay of the land. An experienced prospector could tell simply by the terrain where to start looking for that next lucky strike. When surveying a social media community, you should be able to do the same. Check the overall niche of the social media site where you are planning to participate, the categories and participants involved. Are they potential customers, partners or suppliers or potential fans for your brand?

Do a little prospecting. A bit of “panning” in a nearby stream would sometimes be all a good prospector needed in those early days to tell whether an area was potentially rich in precious metal or whether nothing or too little could be found there to make it worth his effort. Once you’ve decided a particular social media community looks good for your purposes, it’s time to look a bit deeper. Start asking some questions of members, spend a bit of time on the site reading posts and comments. Create an account that will allow you to do some preliminary participation. Then gauge the response.

Know how to read the signs. In the Old West or great northern regions like the Klondike at the height of the gold rush and other great prospecting frenzies, fortunes were made and lost on the ability to read all the above data correctly to determine after an initial survey and some prospecting whether the glitter found in an outcropping of rock was the “real goods,” as a true strike was called, or simply pyrite, “fool’s gold,” aptly named for inexperienced prospectors who mistook it for the genuine article. And so it is with social media knowing the difference between lots of followers, friends, votes or “engagement” and a sustainable interest that will translate into sales, referrals, networking opportunities and brand recognition for your business.

Stake your claim. Once prospectors in the Old West had made a strike, they were quick to stake their claim…and had to be willing to defend it against other less scrupulous treasure hunters not above moving in on another’s hard work. In social media, you’ll need to do the same. Once you’ve found a social space to call your own, work hard to establish yourself as the expert of your niche. Be sure you are providing the best and most detailed information on your topic and never waiver in the value you offer to members of your community.

Mine narrow and deep. Mining along narrow veins of ore to extract precious metals has always been demanding work. Finding a strike was only part of the task in the frontier prospecting days. Similarly, once you’ve found your topic or niche be sure you mine it for all it is worth going both narrow and deep to supply your community with a constant flow of value and information coming directly from your specialized niche. Making yourself the ultimate authority in your niche will draw customers and clients interested in your products and services and referrals from your fans who may know others in need of your expertise.

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