Depending what you do and who you are, there will be some social media platforms more suited to your needs than others.
"The tyranny of choice"
One of my dearest friends has what she calls ‘menu blindness’ when we go out to eat. It takes the form of mild anxiety and the temporary inability to make a decision due to the sheer amount of possibilities on offer.
Of course, this condition of hers is, at least partially, a joke between us, and she can usually make a choice under the pressure of a loitering waiter (generally something with sweet potato fries…). However, the fact that having too much choice can adversely affect us is something that has been the subject of much study and debate in recent years.
We are basically talking about fear of missing out - or FOMO, if you’re under 25. It’s human nature to believe that the choice you didn’t take was actually the better alternative - the proverbial grass being always that much greener.
If you fancy exploring the topic in more depth, you could start with The Tyranny of Choice by Renata Salecl.
Overwhelming choice in our working lives
Yes, we are probably happier with fewer options in life - up to a point, obviously - but that is not the reality of the world we inhabit, especially within our working lives. We have countless means of communication, for example - email, text, calls (landline, mobile, conference call…), meeting, LinkedIn message, Tweets, Facebook Messenger and that exotic animal, post.
When it comes to planning your social media marketing, there are even more alternatives. I couldn’t possibly give an exhaustive list here but, you know, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr and so on.
How to find the right social media channels for your message
In the same way as a lot of businesses have a website because they know they need one, rather than having a clear strategy around making it work for them, a lot of companies and organisations have accounts on all the main social media platforms just because they think they should. Just having a presence is not going to help you get your brand message across; you have to know what you’re doing with it, and how best to communicate with your audience.
The worst thing you can do is have, for example, a Facebook page for your company, and leave it three months between posts. Lack of activity will immediately turn off any potential customers who happen upon it.
Almost as bad is having three or four different social media accounts and rolling out exactly the same content on each - Oh look! Here’s a picture of your shiny new product on Twitter...and here it is again on Facebook...and on Instagram. Awesome. Not at all boring… (and this is where people will hit the ‘unfollow’ button).
An expert is someone who has succeeded in making decisions and judgements simpler through knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore. Edward de Bono
Make informed choices...
Depending what you do and who you are, there will be some social media platforms more suited to your needs than others. If you’re very B2C oriented, for example, you probably need to focus less on getting your brand profile up on LinkedIn and more on establishing yourself on Twitter or Facebook. If your products are highly aesthetically pleasing, make sure you have a strong Instagram presence.
Know where your audience is likely to be...
Rather than spending time trying to master a few social media platforms, allocate a couple of hours for doing a bit of research around where your audience is likely to be found. Mums tend to hang out on Facebook, so if you are a nanny agency, a children’s publisher or a brand of baby food, for example, that is probably where you should concentrate your efforts.
If you’re a teen focussed brand, make sure you stay up-to-date with Snapchat (this week, at least).
Trial and error...and measuring your success
Once you have a fair idea of where you should be focussing your attention, experiment and track results.
- Don’t try one platform for a couple of weeks and, if it isn’t working for you immediately, start scattering your efforts across all the other social media sites in the hope something will work. Long term, consistent and concentrated endeavours will pay off.
- Don’t keep putting the same kind of content out there if it isn’t getting the engagement you want and need.
- Experiment with different media - video, photos and different tones of voice. Humour may work on some platforms but not others...and obviously, there are different kinds of humour... Play around to see what gets the right results.
- Personalise your content for your audience - know what they’re looking at and market with intent.
- Find where your competitors are and compete - if you’re completely unsure, and if the way they're doing social is working for them, then follow the crowd and build a following where you know there is one.
In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. Theodore Roosevelt