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Is Your Business a Slave to Social Media?

08/18/2015 08:05 EDT | Updated 08/18/2016 05:59 EDT
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Did you know that the average business to consumer (B2C) firm is now keeping up with seven social media platforms? And they're spending an average of 20 hours a week on marketing. This week alone I heard multiple conversations about how Periscope was the next big thing. Literally there has been an explosion in online marketing choices. Link to the Content Marketing Institute study or the small business trends study by Constant Contact for more details.

On the receiving end of all this is the overwhelmed consumer. With 64 per cent of American adults owning a smart phone, the digital culture has permeated almost every aspect of our lives. According to Nielson, the average American spends 11 hours a day with electronic media. Granted the majority is still anchored in traditional platforms such as TV and radio, but on average just over two hours of our lives are spent on the internet or mobile device. It's safe to say that many subgroups of the population are much higher than that. I'm thinking my teenager's likely hit that daily average before breakfast!

What does all this tell us? We're wired more than ever before. And we're busy with being wired.

Frankly many of us are overwhelmed. A U.K. study estimated that over 1 million workers fail to take their full allotment of holidays partly because of anxiety over the work waiting for them upon their return. You can bet that the email inbox with over 1,000 unread messages has something to do with that.

Maybe it's time to take back control.

Instead of chasing everything for fear of missing the next big thing, maybe you should focus on what works -- the two or three channels where we know our customers reside and where they will share your content. The key is to strategically focus your content and strategically focus your channel. If that sounds like a trip back to the future, it is. It's really no different than picking the most suitable newspaper, magazine or radio station from a mature market where there are many, many offerings in each category.

The challenge with social media has been the steady emergence of platforms in such a relatively short period of time. Think of it as similar to trying to buy every newspaper or radio station out there for fear of missing something. That would be utter insanity. I think we're approaching that saturation point with social media. Of course there will be many new platforms that will continue to emerge, offering micro targeted access to specific markets. But we need to start assessing them more strategically. Rather than just jumping on board, we need to step back and pick what is well aligned with our target market.

A good start is to be very clear about your business purpose and whom it is that you help.

Once you're clear on those two points, it becomes much easier to focus your conversations. The same principles can be applied to your social media platforms. A narrow well targeted approach with one or two platforms used frequently by your target audience will beat a broad multi platform play any day. Of course creating content for properties you own, such as your website, blog and e-newsletter, should be your top priority before reaching out to social media, your outposts, to broadcast and engage.

It's time to be strategic and forget about the rest. I'm not necessarily advocating that you pick two platforms and dump the rest. But you could certainly focus 80 per cent of your effort on those two that are well aligned, and put the others you've established in maintenance mode -- updating basic info from time to time.

So relax and breathe. Feel your inner Zen when creating content. And simply give yourself permission to only focus on what matters.

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