- Where your target client socializes: Businesses serving a younger clientele will have better luck on Instagram and even Snapchat, where teens and twentysomethings spend more of their online time. Businesses serving a clientele that seeks out visual inspiration (art, design, fashion, crafts, home interiors, etc) will want to focus on building a strong presence on Instagram and Pinterest. Businesses that work with other businesses, particularly those in fields like technology, finance and administration, definitely should be represented on Twitter. And, in my opinion, virtually every business should have a Facebook page - this is especially important for brick-and-mortar businesses whose customers may be doing research (location, hours of operation, reviews).
- How comfortable you are with the culture: This is really a matter of personal preference. People who are early adopters of new technology are likely to already find Facebook and Twitter stale. People who don't like to take pictures (and aren't the type to notice interesting visuals in their environment) probably won't see the point in Instagram. People who value detailed analysis and commentary will be easily frustrated by Twitter. And people who are shy or introverted are probably horrified by the prospect of live-streaming via Periscope or Meerkat. What's your comfort level?
- How much time you have to spend: Social media is a timesuck for sure - who hasn't lost most of their workday to the endless scrolling and clicking? Creating and executing an effective social media plan is a major time investment that involves developing a presence, curating content, interacting with fans and followers, and tracking results. Unless you have endless time to spend, you need to be mindful of which social media platforms will be the most effective for your business and efficient for you to manage.
You don't have to be everywhere.
It's easy to get so caught up in the idea that social media is important - which, true, it is - that we rush to sign up for every platform. And, quickly, we wind up feeling completely overwhelmed, spread too thin, distracted from our real work...and for all the effort in keeping up with a million social media channels, we don't actually have a strong presence on any of them.
You shouldn't need permission to let go of some of your social media; after all, you're a grownup. But if you do, let me give it to you:
It's totally okay to jump ship if a social media platform just isn't working for you.
Your time is valuable. You have work to do. And, just like you can't attend every in-person networking event, nor can you realistically maintain an engaging presence on every virtual networking forum.
So I encourage you: choose the platforms where your ideal clients hang out, where you enjoy posting, and where you can invest the time in maximizing the benefits to your business.
For the others, you can do one of three things:
- Automate them - using a scheduler or a cross-posting tool like IFTTT, automatically send the content from one platform directly to another. (Note: this is a practice I don't normally condone, but in this case I will, with one strong recommendation - in the bio section of your account, make a note that followers should find you on the other platform(s) that are a priority for your business. That way, you won't look like you don't know how to use social media; instead, you'll look like you're just intentionally focusing your attention on the platforms that matter.)
- Outsource them - obviously, this is a service that I offer here at Firebrand Messaging, but I'm not the only source for third-party social media content and management. Many of my clients have a particular social media platform that's their "baby" (usually Instagram), but they ask me to deal with the rest. That way, they reap the benefits of being on multiple platforms, without the time investment or the headache.
- Delete them - Yes, that's right. You can certainly let go of any social media accounts that aren't serving you. Maybe you'll choose to delete them altogether, or just go "inactive" (removing all content but retaining ownership of the username so as to prevent others from grabbing it). Either way, you'll be freeing up time to focus on what you really want and like to do.
I'll never not advocate for having a strong social media presence - it's just that, oftentimes, that means not being everywhere all at once.
Need help with your own social media strategies and content curation? I'd love to hear from you!