So you’ve listened carefully and discovered that the people you want to connect with are mostly on 2-3 different networks and many are on both. Now what do you do?

Even if you find these deep conversations on 3, 6 or even 10 different networks, don’t engage on all of them at once. Take your time. Figure out which network will work best for your personal skill set, the time available and the content you already have before you start.

Not everybody needs Twitter, a Facebook page or their own set of forums. See which of these sites feels comfortable to you. Is the interface easy to understand? Do you like the way people talk to each other and share information or does it seem too clubby, too noisy or maybe too technical?  Give this some time to settle in. If you don’t like the flavor of the conversation or the way users interact it might not be the network for you.

Another thing to think about is who is already talking in your industry on this particular site. Let’s say you search the Ning groups for one that deals with your particular area of interest and find nothing. You can look at this one of two ways: People who use Ning aren’t interested in your widget, or it’s an opportunity to start a community on Ning and everybody else who searches for that topic will find only you waiting to talk to them.

You have to decide if you want to jump in and take that risk or pass and go on to one of the other networks you discovered in your listening phase. If you find a network or forum where people are asking questions in your industry and nobody’s answering it may be a golden opportunity to engage.

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