Having an effective social media strategy is like having someone hand you the keys to a very expensive Ferrari. If it ever happened, it would feel fantastic. But the moment you found out that Ferraris get terrible gas mileage and parts have to be special ordered from Italy by a mechanic who charges $200 an hour to install them, the Ferrari wouldn’t seem so cool anymore.

Anyone in business knows that social media is an increasingly important component of any marketing strategy, and using it to your advantage can reap hefty rewards. But if you’ve ever tried to use social media to boost your business, you know that executing an effective strategy can be exhausting, time consuming and you can feel like you’re not getting results.

Here’s a secret that social media experts won’t tell you: you don’t have to do it all, but what you do, you need to do really well.

So what does that mean? Well, it means that you don’t need a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Google+, Digg, and Delicious account with tons of activity on each. What you need is to go where your customers are, and then knock that one network out of the park.

How do you know where your customers are? That’s where your competitors come in. Go look at their social media and see where they get the most engagement. Do people comment most on their Facebook page? How many followers do they have? What kinds of things do they post there? How often do they post? Then look at Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and so on.

Once you’ve figured out where your customers are, set up that social network with a great profile. Make sure it has everything it needs to succeed (such as all “about” pages completed, a profile picture, basic information about how to contact you, etc). Then you can start posting to that network, based on what you saw working on other similar pages. Once you’re started, begin promoting this network on your website, your promotional materials and anywhere else you can think of. Make sure current and potential customers know they can get involved and contact you there.

Once you’ve done all that, you need to take stock and evaluate how it’s working. Don’t be discouraged if people don’t flock to you right away. It does take time, but the time is a very worthwhile investment for advocates of your brand, an engaged customer base and better, easier sales.