Written by Top Draw guest contributor Dan Taylor
There came a point in recent history when every business had to be on Facebook. Not being on Facebook was not an option. This lead to a surplus of businesses and brands — great and small — chasing likes by posting countless promo offers and contest giveaways to win more followers.
But now it’s 2016, and we know that simply having a social media presence is not enough. Businesses have had to learn how to be communicators, how to engage people in a non-obtrusive way, which means using social media networks effectively in order to have an impact and gain with customers.
This leads to the question: which social media platforms should businesses be active on?
It’s very tempting to be on all social platforms at once because the more platforms you’re on, the more people you can reach and generate business from, right?
When choosing a platform for your business, you need to take into account a number of factors as well as understand each platform. You also need to remove personal experience as what you may enjoy in your personal life might not work for your brand or business. The mindset that a new or trending social network is guaranteed good for business is a trap.
That, my business friends, is called Shiny Object Syndrome.
The symptoms of this common affliction affecting businesses today can be described as wanting to be everywhere at once, and ending up getting nowhere at all.
It’s usually brought on by a complex form of anxiety called FOMO, the deep-rooted fear that by not joining a social network will ultimately cause your business to miss out.
If you have regularly asked yourself or your colleagues, “What social networks should [your business name] be on?” then you need to take a step back. Instead, consider which networks will best promote the products and services you sell, as well as networks you know you can consistently maintain with relevant, unique content.
For example, in 2013 I was working for an online ecommerce site that sold car tires. The boss’ wife was a fan of Pinterest and so he suggested using the platform for his own business. Having hired me to do their marketing, I explained that with only 3 employees working in-office, we didn’t have the resources to produce enough visual content, nor did I think he would attract the kind of audience engagement or results he wanted by posting photos of car tires. My boss was experiencing Shiny Object Syndrome.
5 helpful tips to avoid Shiny Object Syndrome in social media:
1. Likes + Followers ≠ A Captive and Engaged Audience
Likes and followers are a vanity metric. They look good on paper, but when it comes to the nitty-gritty of it they mean nothing. It’s also easier to grow an audience than to keep them engaged for a length of time.
2. Set Realistic Goals
Let’s say you want to increase the number of leads your website gets from your Facebook page to 25 a month – but right now, you’re only getting 4. By stepping back and setting realistic goals and growth potential can you build strategies that will increase leads.
You need to use Google Analytics and your social’s analytics platform to make data driven decisions and not pluck numbers out of fresh air.
3. What Works For Others Might Not Work For You
Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn are often dubbed “the big four” and are the go-to for most initial platforms. If you’re not B2B and you don’t have any B2B ambition, LinkedIn isn’t for you.
Google+ is . . . phasing out? Will it be around forever? Who knows, but likely not.
If you struggle to produce good photography then don’t choose Instagram. Likewise, if your industry isn’t visually appealing then consider steering clear of Pinterest too.
4. Be Unique. Don’t Post the Same Message Across All Platforms
In an ideal world, your Facebook fans also follow your brand on Twitter, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. You need to incentivize by giving your Facebook fans a reason to follow you on Twitter (or vice versa), and sharing the same message across both platforms won’t do the trick.
Sharing unique, platform specific content on each social media feed shows care, attentiveness and consideration for your audience niches. It also shows you understand each platform’s etiquette. You need to create unique perspectives on what you share.
5. If Something Works, Don’t Change It
If Facebook is too mainstream for you but it’s working and you’re getting engagement then why leave? Always look to the data, and if the numbers say it’s working, then keep reaching after your goals.
Dan Taylor is a UK based digital marketer and blogger with a strong background in social media, email marketing and SEO. Currently working as an account manager within an SEO agency, Dan has a real passion for digital communications and the latest trends, practices, opinions and tech.