A Social Headache


Pinterest FourSquare YouTube Flickr Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn Tumblr Aretheyallstartingtoblurtogetherandoverwhelmyou?

The rapid pace of the social media landscape is exciting and definitely overwhelming. There are so many opportunities (and the majority of them low cost) but so few that end up with genuine results for your brand.

The impulse to throw your hat into every single ring is understandable. After all, you don’t want to be the brand that doesn’t have a Facebook page when every competitor has already surpassed 10k fans. But you also don’t want to be the brand that half-heartedly sets up a page on a platform where none of your customers hang out and lets the digital weeds grow.

Remember, just having presence on a social media platform does NOT make it a strategy. A strategy is developing said presence, growing your user base, engaging and exciting your fans, and seeing real ROI – whether it’s in the form of sales, biz dev or good ole fashioned brand building. Research is critical to understanding whether a platform is right for you. Perhaps you have a product that is geared toward teenage boys. Then maybe Pinterest isn’t where you should put all of your energy. Know what each platform offers, what people are doing on them (e.g. if Pinterest is for what people want to do, then Facebook/FourSquare is what people are doing) and assess it for your brand. If you’re not a location-based brand, then maybe FourSquare isn’t for you. p.s. We have some good Pinterest tips for you here.

Knowing the user base of every emerging social media platform and knowing what that user base is doing on the platform is key to your strategy. If your service or product doesn’t fit, then keep tabs on the platform as it is constantly evolving and can shift to eventually meet your needs, but don’t spend energy, resources and time on a platform where you don’t have any customers or engaged user base.

Unless you have an unlimited budget (in which case, you are Apple), you’re not going to have enough community managers and PR professionals to truly leverage all of these social media platforms. Focus on the most important ones for your audience, and the ones that make the most sense for your brand. To use a dreaded phrase, keep a finger on the pulse but don’t expend the resources that will be better suited to more productive platforms.

Mere presence on social media platforms is not a strategy. It’s not even good branding. It shows a lack of sophistication both around your brand and around the social media platform. It’s certainly a fine balance between getting swept up in media hype around the latest, greatest thing that will eventually evaporate in a matter of months, and being tragically left behind.

So just take a deep breath, relax, and start using these mediums, talk to the folks who are also experimenting with them and do your research. Once you know it’s the right place for your brand, you can then dedicate your creativity and budget without feeling stretched thin.

And don’t forget, today’s Pinterest might just be tomorrow’s Friendster.