When I first started out with online marketing, one piece of advice I saw over and over again was to be all over social media. I was taught to create an account of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, and every other social networking site there was, and publish all my content to them. At the time, it sounded like it made a lot of sense. The more social media sites you post your content to, the more people will see it right?
But is this really the way it works?
Starting Your Social Media Garden
Social media marketing is a lot like planting fruits, vegetables or other plants in a garden. You have to feed them, nurture them, and put in continuous effort in order for them to grow and eventually harvest. Otherwise they end up dying.
Setting up a social media account is like buying your seeds. You might buy a variety of different seeds, but you don’t necessarily plan on planting them all right away. Each plant has different needs and requirements in order to grow into juicy, delicious strawberries or fresh green lettuce. So in the beginning, you might start out with one or two types of plants in order to really nail down your process and figure out how to get the best crops possible. Once you’ve gotten a great handle on that one, you add another fruit or veggie to your garden and so on. That’s the same approach you should take with social media.
Here’s the problem with trying to take a shotgun approach to social media marketing. You try to do too much and end up neglecting your accounts, so you never reach your full potential. Everyone likes the idea of social media marketing because it’s “sexy”. Having thousands of Twitter followers or Facebook fans looks great for your brand, and is an ego boost. And of course, social media marketing will bring in great traffic to your site and is an invaluable source to market your content. But before you get into all the sexiness, you have to put in A LOT of work.
Unless you’re a viral YouTube star or a well known celebrity, you’re not going to have a huge following on social media sites overnight. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and other sites all operate differently, and the same strategies that work for one don’t always translate over to another.
Start With One
My advice, particularly for people just starting out with social media is to pick one platform to start with. You can (and should) register accounts on all of the major sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. in order to secure your name, but when it comes to posting and being active, just focus on one.
Why one? Because if you can’t be successful on just one, then how are you going to have any luck managing 5?
One of the best examples I can think of to showcase how powerful focusing on one social network can be is Simple Green Smoothies. They started out on Instagram. No website, no Twitter (I still don’t think they have a Twitter account) or any other social media accounts. By singling out one platform, they were able to put all their effort into it and build a LOYAL following on Instagram, now with over 340,000 followers. Since then, they’ve grown to Facebook and Pinterest too, but it all began with the Gram.
Moral of the story here being, you don’t have to be everywhere. Pick one social media platform, grow your following, and then start with another one. And guess what? If you’ve built a solid foundation on your first social media site, your followers from there will also follow you on all of their other social media accounts because you’ve established a strong connection with them already.
How To Maximize Your Productivity On Social Media
Before I made the decision to focus on just one social media account, I was all over the place. And I’ve noticed the exact same problem among other brands and businesses. They may post sporadically on their Google+ account, their LinkedIn will be completely dead, and they’ll shoot out a tweet about once a day through Sprout Social. This is not the way to manage your social media! It’s unproductive and quite frankly, it’s a waste of time.
When you’re using social media, your goal should be to work as efficiently as possible because if you don’t, these sites will drain your time. Before you know it, an hour has gone by and you’ve barely done anything that will help grow your account. There’s a big difference between being busy, and being productive.
By starting with a single social media site, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to avoid a lot of the distractions and static that comes along with juggling multiple accounts. This is particularly important if you’re running your social media account by yourself. The reason some larger companies are able to seemingly be “all over” social media is because they usually have a team working on their accounts, not just a single person. Let’s look at some of the work that goes into growing a social media account:
- Finding content to share or curate
- Creating images/graphics to share
- Following people within your industry
- Connecting with potential partners
- Creating original social media posts (one-liners, marketing messages, etc.)
- Scheduling SM posts
- Monitoring trending topics
- Engaging in industry conversations
And that’s just SOME of the tasks that you’ll need to take care of. Imagine trying to do all of this across 5 different social account by your freaking self. That’s just CRAZY! And as a result, you end up only being able to do about 1/8th of that list on each account, which means you’re not being as productive as you could be.
Doing all of those tasks on a single network is not only doable, but you’ll be able to really dive in and do an amazing job to build and grow your account.
The Question You Need To Ask Yourself
Now some of you might read this and say, “I’m willing to put in all the work so I can juggle all my social media accounts at once”. But ask yourself this:
If you’re OK with having a hundred followers on Twitter, a couple hundred likes on Facebook, and a handful of Google+ followers then by all means, take the mass approach. But if you want to build a REAL following on social media, and do some REAL social media marketing (just posting your blog posts to your accounts is not social media marketing FYI), then you need to start small and focus on one platform at a time.