There’s no denying that anyone who’s building a brand and business online feels pulled in what seems like a hundred directions when they hear everywhere they “should be” on social media.
The common advice of “Go where your audience is” sounds logical, but the reality is that most of your audience are going to be in multiple places. And while one platform might be better for reach, another platform might be better for engagement, and yet another for exposure to influencers and industry peers.
And articles like 75 different social media sites you need to know in 2020 – while being valuable sources of information – tend to compound the overwhelm.
So what’s a marketer to do?
This morning a friend and fellow digital marketer asked what I thought about Instagram Reels and TikTok and whath my take was on which one was better for business.
My response was driven by my own approach, which right now is to adopt a wait and see approach, because Instagram is not my main social media platform right now, although it’s on the list do focus on once a few other things on my core platforms are bedded down.
I actually look forward to exploring new technologies and platforms, it’s so fun and I’m innately curious, but much as I want to I’ve set my priorities and I’m working through one at a time.
Before making a decision on any new platform I also like to immerse myself in it to a) get familiar b) get comfortable and c) look at best practice examples to model when I throw myself into something.
I had intended to do TikTok probably next year because I feel its a great way to connect with a new wave of potential customers, and it would be fun learning the platform from a business marketing perspective and looking at how to best communicate my messages via that medium.
But now that Instagram Reels has come out I would probably be inclined to do that first and also wait and see how it plays out vs Tiktok. Very much a “watch this space” approach for now.
As Steve Jobs famously said “Do not try to do everything. Do one thing well!”
That’s a little easier said than done, when repurposing social posts is at our fingertips and can be automated wiht the flick of a switch. But doing it “well”? That’s something else.
For people who are active online, the notion of being only in one place is not ideal, but if you’re not consistent anywhere, it is a great place to start.
Imagine trying to cook a banquet, when you’re just learning to cook. You’d be far better to just master one dish and then style of cooking before you attempt the array you’d find at your local five-start hotel smorgasboard.
Certainly the benefits of being “everywhere” (done well) are plentous – exposure, lots of conversations, invitations, collaborations and even sales, when done strategically.
But it can be a double edged sword and not just because you put out sloppy or ill-thought through work it can backfire on your brand.
Thnk of the human cost.
The risk of burnout. The frustration that comes with knowing you’re behind and inconsistent.
No thank you.
I’d rather wait until I had capacity to be on the platforms I was already focused on, to a level I was happy with, before embarking on new platforms.
So if you’re of the same opinion and actively growing your brand online, here are some tips for how you can deal with that pressure to be “everywhere”.
1. Start with the easiest platform.
The one you know best, the one you naturally gravitate towards. It’s going to be easist for you to engage consistently, ensure your messaging is appropriate for the platform, and engage in conversation.
Regardless of what platform you’re on you need to be ready to engage, because after all, social media is just that……”social”. You don’t just want to “post and ghost” as many say.
2. Go with what makes the most sense next.
Yes it might sound obvious but certain platforms have similarities that lend themselves towards being an easier next step than others. For example, Facebook to LinkedIn would be an easier step than Facebook to YouTube. You get the drift.
Build out your platforms incrementally in a way that’s sustainable, both from a posting and engagement perspective.
3. Don’t try and master all modalities right away.
By that I mean video, graphics, written and spoken. There’s going to be one (maybe two) that come most naturally for you. Just because video is hot right now, doesn’t mean you should necessarily be slaving over that if you’re gifted at writing.
To become “good” at any aspect of social media really does take months, sometimes years of practice, so the thought that you can just do it at a standard that is going to cut through is sorely misguided.
So start with the modality that you enjoy and are most comfortable with initially. There’s plenty of room to grow into others and the social machine is a hungry beast, there will always be appetite for good content when you’re ready to create it.
4. Review what works and what doesn’t.
Don’t beat yourself up at a failed post that gets no likes or comments. Even if it happens often. Rather, learn from that. Take not of what “not” to do in future and give yourself permission to experiment.
When you find something that works, you stick to it, until it’s not working anymore, or until you can find a way to do it even better.
There’s no “right” way and as it’s constantly evolving there’s no-one setting the gold-standard, just people who have become extremely agile at adapting whatever their putting out to what the marketplace wants at any given time.
5. Trust the Process.
No-one in their right mind would go out and plant an orchard then wonder why they’re not getting fruit next week. You can’t hurry the growth of a tree. You have to let nature take it’s course, and factor time into the process.
Sure there are things you can do to ensure your “content tree” has the healthiest possible environment to “thrive” – insightful thought leadership, great SEO, lively copy.
But then you need to leave it to time, and remain consistent by continuing to “water” it with promotion, and “fertilise it” by ensuring it remains up to date and relevant.
To grow a digital footprint, using content marketing takes time – and the same rules apply whether it’s a business brand or a personal brand.
But the other rule still applies. If you don’t do it others will, and a year from now you’ll still be having the same conversation with yourself that you had last year, and that you’re having now, and still feeling that pressure to be “everywhere” like you see others doing.
There’s no magic pill apart from starting, being consistent, and growing into the brand that you want to become.
So start today, and if you follow these five steps and build out gradually, you’ll be well on the way to being “everywhere” in a sustainable way as soon as you can be, in a way that actually feels light and enjoyable to you.
About the Author
Nina Christian on a mission to help marketers and entreprenuers apply solid marketing knowledge and expertise in an empathetic and considerate way, so they can build a brand they’re proud of, AND in a way that makes people actually want to do business with them. 💛
She established content marketing agency Braveda in 2000, and in 2018 it was awarded “Best Marketing Agency” at the Australian Marketing Excellence Awards. Nina was named 2018 Certified Practicing Marketer of the Year (Vic) and National Finalist in 2019.
She is a Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute, and Chair of the AMI State Committee in VIC.
Nina is a regular speaker on the subjects of Marketing and Entreprenuership and believes there has never been a more exciting time to be a marketer.
Outside of work (which she loves!) Nina enjoys the outdoors, is an active CrossFitter, and after 3pm most days is off-duty having fun with her five young children and doing mum stuff.
Interested in some of the “behind the scenes” goings on?