(Instead of dabbling in all of them.)
With all the major (and minor) social media platforms that now exist, figuring out where to focus can be a real challenge. Every day, you get bombarded with information about why every social media platform is crucial to success.
Well today, I’m going to simplify your life.
Just pick one.
Pick one social media network that you think you can win at and focus 90% of your energy there.
(One quick caveat. Claim your name or business name (or your name) on all the others, because it’s important for your digital real estate. But then just add your pic and profile and let them chill.)
Lately, I’ve been reading a few really amazing books that support this idea.
In The One Thing by Gary Keller, he shares a quote from Andrew Carnegie (the second richest man in history). “‘Don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ is wrong. I tell you ‘put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket.’” Carnegie goes on to say that it’s much easier to carry (and not drop) one basket than many.
And that’s where most people fall short on social media. While trying to spend a little time on every network, you fail to invest the big time into one platform that really gives you total growth and impact.
The other problem with spreading yourself too thin across every platform is that you tend to quit too soon.
In 80/20 Sales and Marketing, author Perry Marshall shows how almost everything in life can be translated into a power curve.
In a power curve, results build on each other until tiny, incremental growth turns into a meteoric rise.
The problem with trying to spend a little time on every social media platform is that you never build the momentum that takes you from incremental gains to crazy growth. Most people get stuck in the lower part of the power curve, and seeing very little return for their investment, bow out before the momentum kicks in.
There’s still a danger in quitting too soon when you just focus on one social media outlet, but when you really focus your energy, you should see growth sooner. (And don’t misunderstand what I mean by sooner. Based on everything I’ve seen, it will likely take six months to a year of focused, smart work to really grow on any platform. So don’t give up too soon!)
So, how do you choose the right social media network?
Go where your customers are. (Not your peers.)
Connecting with your peers is important, don’t get me wrong. But if I were to ask most people why they were on social media in the first place, they’d probably say to make more sales. And in order to do that, you need to go where your customers go. In countless interviews, Susan Peterson of Freshly Picked talks about how she chose to focus her attention on Instagram because it’s where her customers – mothers of babies and young children – already were. Because Instagram started as a mobile only platform, it became the perfect one handed activity for breastfeeding mothers, something Susan capitalized on to rapidly grow her followers (and her business).
Take some time to think about which platform your ideal customer is using and what they are using it for. That’s most likely where you should be.
Play to your strengths.
Winning at social media means creating great content. And you’ll have a much easier time coming up with great content if you choose a social media platform that plays to your strengths. If you love photography and getting every image right, Instagram makes sense. If you’re able to write in short, punchy sentences, go with Twitter. Love being in front of the camera? Focus on You Tube. I have a strong design sense and aesthetic, so Pinterest is the perfect platform for me.
You may need to play around with several different platforms to see where content creation feels the most natural, and that’s ok. But once you know you’re strengths, you’ll be able to focus on one social platform and really try to crush it.
Decide where you’ll most enjoy spending your time.
Let’s just say that, instead of picking a social media platform, you were deciding where to put a retail store. Now, obviously, you’d study traffic patterns and demographics. But ultimately, you want to put your store in the city and neighborhood where you’d want to spend the most time. You want to love that neighborhood – it’s people, it’s atmosphere, it’s culture – so much, because it’s where you’ll be spending a lot of your time.
The same is true when picking a social media platform to focus on. If the culture of Facebook makes you feel icky, you’re not going to want to spend time there, and so there’s no way you can win. Pinterest is a natural platform for me to focus on because I love being there and would be spending my time there even if I wasn’t using it to promote my business.
When you naturally want to be spending your time on a social media platform, you’ll be more likely to put in the work needed for success.
One final note when it comes to this (almost) all or nothing social media strategy, because I know it’s going to make a lot of you nervous.
The challenge with social media is that you don’t own the platform, which means that a major change (like with Facebook’s algorithm) can have a huge impact on your business. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still focus on one social media platform.
The goal with any social media strategy needs to be getting followers back to your website and signed up for your email list. That way, you’ll always have a direct way to connect with your audience, regardless of what changes in your chosen social media platform.
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Want to focus on growing your business through Pinterest? Practical Pinning, my new e-course with Dannielle Cresp, starts Monday, May 5th. You’ll learn how to grow your followers, create content that drives people back to your website, and how to convert that audience. Click here for all the details. But don’t wait. We won’t be running this class again until November, so if you want to succeed at Pinterest in 2014, click here to join us now!