The Fallacy of Needing to Be Everywhere

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by social media? Not just the time and effort it takes to make sure your brand is represented on the leading social media channels, but the sheer – and ever-growing – number of sites where potential customers might interact with your brand?

Although a website has for some time been considered a necessity for any business – regardless of what it might sell and to whom – Facebook and Twitter are now considered almost as important venues for brand exposure. And so, increasingly, are LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. But as many businesses have learned, while putting content on all these sites may be free, maintaining a comprehensive social media program is anything but (and this is before we even consider paid content and online advertising).

In the old days – that is, before the web became a ubiquitous place for branding – businesses devised advertising strategies built around those channels most likely to reach their customers. Depending on the type of business, this may have meant advertising in the local newspaper or TV station, but it also may have meant only advertising in a few key trade journals. Businesses assessed the cost-benefit of different advertising venues and selected those that were most effective. It was, and still is, impossible to reach every potential customer.

Similar tactics apply to new media, but the fact that social is available to almost anyone sometimes leads businesses and brands to believe they need to be everywhere. For large consumer brands that sell products around the world, that may be true, but there are also several businesses that are unlikely to reach their most important customers on Facebook. If your company sells highly-specialized data tracking software, a Twitter feed and company blog may be important ways to show thought leadership in your industry; Pinterest may not. However, a neighborhood organic bakery may find Pinterest the perfect venue for interacting with its customer community, but have little need for LinkedIn.

While many businesses worry that they aren’t doing enough social media, if you find yourself overwhelmed, it may be you’re trying to do too much. The fact is: a good social media strategy doesn’t mean that your business and brand are on every social networking site. Rather – like advertising – it means targeting those channels most likely to reach your potential customers, and with information that is relevant to them.

Does your business have a social media strategy? Have you refined your strategy to eliminate channels that were not effective for your business?

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