Get More From Social Media By Scaling Back

social-mediaWhen I ask businesses why they are on Facebook, the answer is almost always, “Because everyone is there.”

Sigh.

Yes, a vast majority of humans are on Facebook. Obsessively. But just because your great-grandmother has a Facebook profile doesn’t mean your business has to be on Facebook.

Many companies, especially startups, new businesses, and small businesses think that they must be on Facebook. But many of these same companies aren’t getting anything in return for their time and efforts. If you aren’t getting anything from Facebook, do you really have to be there?

Social Media Overload

Social media is overwhelming. And far too many marketers get taken in by the social media tidal wave. Facebook. Twitter. Linked In. Pinterest. Google Plus. Trying to manage these accounts effectively is nearly impossible. You can’t possibly be everywhere all of the time and be effective.

Instead of trying to be everywhere, consider dropping the networks that aren’t doing anything for you and put a laser focus on those that are. I picked on Facebook in my opening, but Facebook is very effective for a lot of businesses. If it works for you, stick with it. But it’s important to take inventory of all of your networks and determine those spaces that are nothing but dead air for you.

Why Scale Back?

There are several reasons it’s ok to scale back your social media and focus only on one or two platforms that produce results. The most obvious? You’re throwing money out the window by continually banging away on a platform that is not converting. But here are a few others to consider:

Multiple Social Media Platforms Are Time Suckers

You may think that checking in on your Facebook profile only takes a few minutes. And this may be true. Until you have to do it again. And again. And again. And it’s not just the time you’re logged in, either. You have to count the hours you spend curating your content, crafting and scheduling your posts, tweaking your posts for each network, etc.

And your networks are likely connected to your smartphone. Which means you’re literally taking your work with you everywhere you go. And when you pause to check your personal Facebook updates, you find yourself checking in with work too. Then you have to spend a few minutes engaging with people who commented or posted, then you have to send yourself a follow up email to remember to check on a customer service issue that someone brought to your attention, and then you have to send that email, and so on and so forth. All while you’re trying to get your kids ready for bed.

Social media has a way of creeping into every corner of your day and sucking valuable time away from work and home projects. If you trim the fat, you’ll free up more time than you probably even knew you were wasting.

Is Your Audience Even There?

Your target customers hang out on social media somewhere. Most people do. But are they hanging out everywhere? If your ideal clients aren’t hanging out on Facebook, why are you? If nobody who buys from you gives a hoot what a Tweet is, why are you bothering with Twitter? You have to know your audience and understand which platforms they frequent.

Wait. What Are The Rules, Again?

Social Media platforms are constantly changing the rules on businesses. One day you can offer  contests, the next, they’ll get you banned. You can buy promoted posts, but do you have any idea how to calculate them?  The more platforms you use for your business, the more time you’re going to have to spend learning the constantly changing rules and landscape for being there.  Those are hours better spent elsewhere.

Websites Often Suffer At The Hands Of Social Media

One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is neglecting their website in favor of social media platforms. This is bad for two major reasons:

  1. You don’t own your social media real estate
  2. Your visitors can only convert from your website

Putting too much effort into Facebook when you don’t own that space, the rules are constantly changing, and it can be taken from you at any time can leave you in a sticky situation. And if you’re getting a lot of engagement on social media, but you aren’t getting new customers, your efforts are simply not working.

Social media should be a traffic source for your website, it should not take the place of your website. If you spend all of your marketing hours and dollars on social media but you haven’t updated your blog in three months, it’s time to rethink your plan of attack.

Don’t Abandon Everything

I’m not advocating a social media blackout. That’s not effective either. But you should take some time and study your Analytics reports. How much referral traffic are you getting form each network? If you’re spending 10 hours a week on Pinterest but you only average 3 new visitors a week, stop what you’re doing. On the other hand, if you aren’t spending a whole lot of time on Twitter but you have lots of visitors from that network; consider learning a little more about it and focusing more of your efforts there.

You can’t be everywhere all the time, especially if you’re trying to run a small business. Take stock of which networks are offering results and those that aren’t. Drop out of the networks that aren’t offering you traffic and boost your efforts on those that are. You may find that by scaling back, you end up getting a lot more bang for your buck.

Have you scaled back your presence on any networks? What led you to that decision? Sound off in the comments!

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As a web copywriter, blogger, and content marketer, Prudence helps businesses tell their stories and assert their authority online. She is on a mission to rid the world of ineffective copy, one website at a time.

About Prudence Shank

As a web copywriter, blogger, and content marketer, Prudence helps businesses tell their stories and assert their authority online. She is on a mission to rid the world of ineffective copy, one website at a time.