By Miles Burke

Social Saturation Sucks

By Miles Burke

I believe social media really is awesome. Not the fake “trying to get as many followers just to have a large ego” version, but the “great way to engage with your consumers” version.

In fact, my business has had a social media presence on Twitter and on Facebook since 2007. However, since then, the amount of social media properties has skyrocketed.

If I had a business presence on each one I’d been told to have a business presence on, I’d need to hire at least one full-time employee just to try to keep up. I like to call it social saturation syndrome. So unless you can afford that hit to the bottom line (and many small businesses can’t), yet you see the value in social media, what should you do?

Do you hook your social media accounts up so this API speaks to that API, and the same message gets spread instantly across 30 of your favorite networks? No! If you have followers on various social platforms, the repetitiveness of your posts will soon tire them out.

What you should be doing is becoming choosy as to where you invest your time.

You need to find your feet by testing the waters on a few sites, but before doing that, consider for a moment who your target audience is, and how they interact with different brands. It’s pointless getting on Facebook if your prospects aren’t there, or jumping on Twitter to find you just spend all day talking to yourself.

A great way is to ask some of your existing clients. Find out which social media they engage with, and how. You’ll discover varying answers; however, if you ask enough people you’ll start to see a theme.

Next, sign up, establish your presence and give it a go. If you find after spending a reasonable amount of time that you still aren’t getting any traction, then slow down and take a more irregular approach.

The ones that do catch on, great! But keep in mind what you are there for; business. If you spend every waking hour updating your status, and all you get is responses from people clearly not the types to ever engage in business with you, then you need to start analyzing how you spend your time.

I’m not for a moment advocating being selective with who you interact with; you should embrace the “social” part of social media. However, if, after six months of posting daily to a site, you’re still not getting many followers or interactions, you should consider investing your valuable time elsewhere.

Contemplate using different services for different purposes. We use SlideShare for presentation sharing, Flickr to post recent screen grabs of our work, Facebook for longer messaging and Twitter for short status updates and links to interesting sites. That way, there’s different content on different services, and yet it all links back to our central hub; our website.

There are plenty of services, both paid and free, that can report metrics on how you go from the numbers, but you’ll find with a little time investment you’ll get a great sense of where the action is for you without needing to resort to charts and graphs.

I wish you the best of luck reducing social saturation and getting back to the core of your business getting social – within reason – by using only a handful of sites that work best for you.

What social media services work for your business? Share your experiences below; I’d appreciate your insights.

  • Hey Miles,

    Great article. I’ve been somewhat immersed in social media for the last few months working to promote my new startup. Like you, I find much of it to be useless and fake. Often you’ll find the same article on any given topic retweeted again and again — the social firehose.

    What it really comes down to is authenticity and reputation. Social media really promotes accountability since its super easy for consumers to spread bad news about companies. You really need to build trust with existing customers and followers in order to attract new ones. It’s the modern version of attracting customers by “word of mouth”.

    Your ideas about finding out which social platforms works best for your industry is also key.

  • Totally agree, I once tried to spread myself across too many media sites ended up digging myself a hole that was of no use to me, Facebook, Twitter and our own website is plenty to get on with, since I’ve concentrated my efforts on just those I have seen my interactions with my fan base skyrocket.

  • “…I’d need to hire at least one full-time employee just to try to keep up.”

    Hmmmm. That would be awful! ;)

  • This is a pretty common thing people become a part of these days. It’s important to keep the engagement with the users going on to grow and not become a part of the bandwagon.

  • So glad I am not the ONLY ONE saying this. I tell all my customers; use the K.I.S.S. method. Keep It Streamlined & Simple :-)

    You thought I was going to say…

    No, I change the meaning and I think for the better.

  • I’m one of those “little guys” who doesn’t have much time to devote to social media. I’ve tried the social media as traffic generator approach to it and it backfired. About six months ago, I said, “Eff it” and started using social media simply to share my posts and other interesting stuff that came up. I no longer think, “Oh my God! I haven’t posted to Twitter (or Pinterest or Facebook) today.”

    The bottom line is that I enjoy social media now and seem to be getting a growing number of followers, especially on Twitter, for some reason. I can’t get into G+ at all, by the way, and Facebook creeps me out except as a platform for keeping in touch with my family. I got the obligatory Facebook page, but I’m kind of half-hearted about it. It’s weird, though. I get quite a bit of traffic to my blogs via Facebook.

  • IMHO, social networking is our worst nightmare. People have been killed or committed suicide thanks to “socializing” online.

    When you go to a unique shop, or a mom & pop shop, do you run yourself ragged all over the place to get everyone’s opinion or do you walk into the shop – WHERE IT IS LOCATED – and shop? Sure, word of mouth aka viral marketing is great but if you have a nice little shop, you’ll get it without whoring yourself on the likes of that awful facebook. Just sayin’.

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