We don’t need to be seen everywhere. Isn’t it more important to be where our audience wants us?
Companies who believe they have to be present on every social channel because everyone they know is, is a shortsighted view to have. I’m even going to say it, a depressing view. I have had numerous conversations with businesses where they have asked me, “can you look after our social media, we’d like to be seen in more places.” The answer to this type of question is always, “why?”
The Digital Trolley Dash
Affordable technology has provided us with the equivalent of winning a supermarket trolley-dash. We are all so called ‘winners,’ where we have been awarded a 15-minute prize of putting whatever we can find from the supermarket shelves into our trolleys. It doesn’t matter what value or benefit it can provide to our lives, just get it in the trolley. From throwing anything in whilst running frantically from the pet aisle (when you don’t have any animals) to the garden furniture department (when you live in a second floor flat), it doesn’t matter what it is, just get it in, it’s free.
In the past month, much has been documented about the 50,000 subscribers per hour to the anti-Facebook new social media site that is Ello. I am not here to pass judgement on a new social space, as it is another place for us all to learn from a blank sheet of paper. The question to ask yourself is, ‘are the people that matter to you there (or going to be there)?’
The Time Question
More spaces to create content adds to the increasing commitment to be present wherever and whenever. This also adds to the recurring question of ‘where do I find the time?’
Bristol based, Valuable Content recently asked their subscribers what their biggest challenge was when it comes to creating content. The resounding answer from their audience was ‘finding the time to write.’ This is completely understandable where businesses are encouraged to provide information that serves a purpose to an audience in places that are far more accessible than ever before (namely open source spaces such as WordPress). This is a more considered approach than interrupting everyone’s in-box with the ‘look at us’ messages. Naturally, for this to be successful it takes an investment of time and a commitment that goes beyond ‘lets try this out for a couple of months and see how we get on.’
This is where businesses need to become more disciplined. I say it is more important to know how your audience prefers to consume, rather than expecting your audience to consume everywhere you are present. Being relevant to those that matter is more important than attempting to be significant to everyone.
Deleting A Heavyweight
To stand behind this, I have made the Copyblogger decision to delete my Facebook business page. I just didn’t see the value that Facebook was providing. As a native advertising mechanism and being able to sponsor posts, it has its merits, but being seen in people’s timelines, I just didn’t see this as a space that was drawing an audience. With predominantly B2B messages from my side and a lack of photos of a bottle of beer on a Friday afternoon saying ‘busy week, rude not to’, I began to become more distant from Facebook as a B2B channel. The people that had ‘liked’ the company page, my posts are within their timeline of personal messages, pictures from the weekend and LAD Bible posts. I also engage far better on Twitter, where I can safely say that I have benefitted intellectually, personally and socially since 2009.
Copyblogger is focusing its reach within the channels that work for them, notably Twitter and Google+ and more importantly, “Leaving Facebook gives us more time and resources on the places where you already love interacting with Copyblogger.”
When looking at Google Analytics for my business, using Facebook as a distribution tool (I have never paid to acquire fans by the way) to draw visitors to the main source (the ID Group website) this was the least popular social site. The main social channels that drive visitors have Twitter streets ahead, followed by LinkedIn and then Google+. In terms of allocation of time, the decision is to now concentrate on those channels where there is better engagement. So, unlike many other business websites the Facebook logo is now omitted from the company website pages.
Time To Matter To Those Who Matter
Our goal should be to utilise time and energy within the spaces where we deliver value consistently (and recognise limited engagement in others). Surely we can stand for something more meaningful in the places that matter to others.
Here’s why it’s time to matter to those who matter:
- Monitor your analytics. Look at your measurement tools to see where your sources of traffic are coming from. You can find this within Google Analytics in the ‘all traffic’ button within the ‘Acquisition’ section. If there are channels that are providing a limited number of visitors to your site, it can feel like the equivalent of talking in an empty train carriage, while everyone else is in the front of the train.
- Look before you leap. If you are going to build a presence in a new space that you may not be familiar with, get to know it first. Rather than spending time creating a profile and spending money on a new stock library image, ask yourself first, ‘why am I here?’ If it’s because it’s new and you received an invite, sorry, but it doesn’t count.
- Prepare to be committed. If you are going to use a new channel or platform that you may be unfamiliar with, the time you invest, you have to be committed to. It is not a case of seeing how it goes, if you want to make a long-term effect you have to be prepared to make regular input. The company Facebook page has been up and running since 2010 and it has taken four years to realise that time would be better invested elsewhere.
- Don’t become distracted and even addicted. Concentration takes a huge right upper cut to the jaw, when you are dipping in and out of a social channel during the day to see who has responded, retweeted, liked and reshared a post. It’s another way of procrastinating and even worse when you post an article and share it across three or five platforms, when only a couple have any real value.
- Become more relevant. Understand that what you create is intended for your audience who interact and engage with you. By spending more time in the places that matter and where people have got to know you, is the equivalent of staying faithful, rather than being drawn to a new place that you have ‘taken a shine to’ and feels a bit different.
How you allocate your time matters. It is time to look and monitor your armoury of tools. Just because everyone else is at the same party, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are having a good time. You need to understand what it is you stand for, how your content is consumed and how your audience interacts with your message.
Be interested to find out what channels work and don’t appear to work for you and your business.
Image at the top of the article courtesy of Jilhopgood