Why the Be Everywhere Strategy is Destroying Your Business Online
Do you have a profile on every major social media network?
Sure you do. You’re “Doing” social media to grow your business and you’ve heard it’s important to be on as many platforms as possible.
Unfortunately this strategy, often referred to as “Be Everywhere,” is not only destroying social media, but your business. An apocalyptic proclamation, no doubt. So let’s dig deeper.
Are you active on every social media network on which you have a profile?
Before we can sufficiently answer this question let’s first define “Active.” Using the search term, “Active Definition” Google’s knowledge graph yields these four results:
- engaging or ready to engage in physically energetic pursuits.
- Moving or tending to move about vigorously or frequently.
- Characterized by energetic activity.
- Alert and lively.
Unless you intend on doing jumping jacks on a Google Hangout the first two don’t really apply. The third one is better, but it’s the fourth one we should focus on.
Active = Engage
Social media is supposed to be just that… social. According to a December 2013 Sprout Social Report, user engagement is growing 9 times as fast as social media network active users.
Every day there are more users on social media, who are more and more comfortable using social media as a means to communicate, build relationships and make buying decisions (think more Connected Generation consumers).
Connected Generation consumers expect the brands they do business to have the ability and capacity to communicate in social media spaces.
Why else would your business have a social media profile on a platform if not to communicate with prospects and customers? Please don’t say, “Because you thought you were supposed to.”
Inactivity = Negative Brand Image
In a study done by KISS Public Relations, more than half (51 percent) of respondents agreed that if a brand is not present or not active with its social media it would reflect negatively on the company.
Inactivity and abandoned social media accounts are destroying your business.
Trust lubricates the Internet engine.
In order for commerce to happen online, consumers must trust the brands they’re engaging with. Nothing destroys trust and credibility inside social media like complete disregard for the platform.
…because that is what you’re communicating through inactivity.
“We don’t care enough about you and your desire to communicate on this platform to put in consistent activity and monitoring… screw you,” says every inactive social media business profile.
eMarketer pulled this little nugget out of the same Sprout Social report:
Average brand response rates for both Twitter and Facebook dipped below 20% year over year, and response times increased from 10.9 hours to 11.3 hours. On Facebook, response times came in at 15 hours, on average, while Twitter was at 7.9 hours.”
The “Be Everywhere” Strategy doesn’t work in a mature social media ecosystem.
Connected Generation consumers demand activity.
Outside of maybe the Fortune 1000, most businesses simply can’t be as active and responsive as they must be on every social media network, without mass automation (Mass automation is another practice that doesn’t work in a mature social media ecosystem, but we won’t open that bag of snakes today. For now read Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook and learn the importance of native content).
The Solution to Be Everywhere
It is important to claim your brand name and/or personal name on social media networks even if you’re not going to be active. Even if you’re not active, having control of these properties is a good best practice.
According to Simon Heseltine, Director of SEO with the Huffington Post Media Group,
If you don’t have the resources to maintain an active social account on a particular social network, then what you should do is let users of that network know where you are engaging with the general public so they at least have the opportunity to contact you over there.”
If you’re not going to be active, let visitors know. This isn’t earth shattering advice. In the description of your social media profile and in your last post to that network let prospects and customers who find you there know that you’re NOT active on that particular network and which social media networks you are active on.
Many customers and prospects will be happy to connect with you on the platforms you are active on.
Quick Guide to Choosing Social Media Networks
1) Be active on the social media platforms where you do the best work.
If you’re terrible at creating Vine videos, don’t waste all your time on Vine. If can’t create an engaging slideshow (and are unwilling to pay someone else to do it), don’t waste all your time on Slideshare…
2) Be active on the social media platforms where consumers are looking to buy your products.
I find this to be especially true with Facebook. Your consumers may be there, but are they actually looking to buy your product or service there? You have to answer that question, but it’s worth asking.
3) Be active on the social media platforms which provide search and social benefit.
This is a straight plug for Google+, YouTube and even Slideshare which all provide the added benefit of quality search visibility in addition to the social network benefits.
You don’t need to “Be Everywhere.”
If you can pull it off… awesome. More power to you. But it’s not necessary. Not even close.
Focus your activity and reap the benefits.
Here’s an additional resource: Scott Stratten discussed the enormous potential in an active social presence on Michael Stelzner’s podcast Stop Marketing, Start Engaging. I encourage you to listen.
Thank you and Good luck,
I am Ryan Hanley