Google+ has taken over the world. OK, not exactly, but it’s making a huge splash this month and I’m already convinced it’s here to stay (and Twitter may have some struggling ahead).
If you’ve been working online for at least a couple of years, you’ve seen so many social media platforms come (and some go), it’s incredible. And it seems the innovation isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
Perhaps we’ll all get fatigued and stop jumping on new platforms, but for now Google+ has been able to add over 10 million users in just a few weeks.
People still seem hungry for new connections and new platforms.
As an entrepreneur, it can be exhausting sometimes just trying to keep up. How do you maintain connections and provide meaningful interactions and content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, blogs, and all the other platforms you might participate in?
It may seem like you just have to suck it up, spend hours every day on each of the platforms and try to beat your competitors at the “social media game.”
But here’s the deal: running around from platform to platform, employing the “shotgun” method to participating in social media isn’t a strategy. It’s more likely a waste of your time.
And winning the social media game probably isn’t your ultimate goal, either. Unless maybe you’re a social media “expert,” but even still, you still need a better strategy if you want to support a business.
Just because you’ve claimed your turf on every social network on the planet, does that mean you have a thriving audience and sustainable business to show for it?
Probably not, if you haven’t nailed the basics first.
Instead of reacting to every new social network launch by spreading yourself thinner and thinner, why not take a step back and consider your overall goals and strategy?
Consider the very foundation of your business first.
If certain key components aren’t in place, social media should be the least of your concerns. Ask yourself these fundamental questions:
- Do you clearly understand what problem or need your business is addressing?
- Do you know which segment of the market your products or services are aimed at?
- Have you differentiated your offering from the competition?
- Do you have killer branding and design for your website or blog?
- Are you consistently producing epic content for your audience?
- Are you regularly creating meaningful relationships with customers and partners?
- Are you engaging your customers within your own platform?
If you’re a regular reader here, hopefully you already know how important these questions are. It takes outstanding content to stand out online these days, and all the social media investment in the world usually won’t make up for an unclear mission, weak branding, poor or unusable design, a lack of differentiation or mediocre content.
If you feel like you’re spending half of your day on social media, but you haven’t yet nailed those things, you should reset your priorities and probably lay off the Twitter for a while.
The good news is, once you nail the fundamentals, social media can become a powerful tool instead of the burden or diversion it might feel like now.
You have to pick your battles if you want to win the war.
You don’t have to be everywhere all at once. In fact, it may be more effective to choose one social media platform to really invest in and reach critical mass on. Critical mass is the point where you’re recognized as a leader and your voice is amplified. That’s where the real benefits of using social media kick in.
It’s much easier to achieve critical mass if you concentrate your efforts on the one network where your ideal customers are most likely to be. That might be Facebook, or it might be LinkedIn. It might be Twitter or it might be Google+.
There is no right answer, because every business is different. Every audience is different.
Your goal should be to do what is right for your business, not simply what everyone else seems to be doing, or what the social media gurus are all excited about right now.
The key is to start by looking at the bigger picture. You have to ruthlessly focus your time on the things that work, and stop spending precious time on the things that don’t.
What do you think? How do you keep up with the changing social media landscape? Do you worry about it? Do you pick your battles? Which battles are worth fighting?
Let’s hear it in the comments!
P.S. I just watched a fantastic free video series about blogging that I wanted to share with you. Hiten Shaw (founder of KISSMetrics) and Andrew Warner (Mixergy) put together this info-packed session about how to blog for maximum conversions and traffic. Check it out over at AppSumo (it’s free).