There will be a day when social media is no longer called social media. A day when organizations no longer develop social media plans or strategies or try to figure out new social media techniques. Instead we will just call it “communicating effectively online with friends, family and patients/customers using this thing we call the Internet,” you know the electronic tubes and pipes of communication. Until that day happens we will need to create social media strategies that roll into an organization’s overall communication plans and strategies.
The concern I have with many current social media strategies is that they try to take on every possible platform including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace… This is a problem. Why, you ask? Because it stretches people and organizations too thin. For most people there is not enough time in a day to manage all these online platforms effectively and sustainably. So I propose that people move to a one platform system*. A system where you as an individual and an organization can start developing and fostering relationships with people and create a significant following that matters to your “followers” and to your organization. Stop trying to manage multiple platforms that don’t matter and nobody, besides people in your marketing department who feel guilty for not following you, follow you. It is not worth your time.
I propose the following:
- Identify the platform (Twitter, Facebook…) that your are most interested in pursuing and developing.
- Write a nice note on the other platforms saying that you are no longer participating on this said platform and redirect them to your platform of choice.
- Develop your “social media strategy” around your preferred platform.
- Implement the strategy and stick to this platform for at least a year.
- Embrace this new found freedom and focus.
- Develop relationships with people who care what you have to say.
So why would someone take such a radical stance? There are a couple of reasons. I have seen too many failed attempts at “social media” because of platform overload. Most folks do not have the time, the content or the focus to be successful on all platforms. There is just too much going on. Focusing on one platform and building your presence into a sustainable community that brings benefit to you, t0 your organization, and to your audience should be deemed success versus the sadness and grief of multiple platforms comprised of people who feel sorry for you and never participated beyond “hey, good to see you on Facebook… now what?”.
Before I end, I have some good news for those of you who think you should be on multiple platforms. There will be a day when it makes sense to move beyond your initial platform of choice. A day when you have developed relationships with your online audience and your are ready to take it to the next level. On that day you will invite them to join you on another platform where you will ask them to bring friends and family, and they will because they trust you and what you have to say. Don’t rush, embrace today.
*Unless of course you are already running multiple sustainable social media platforms successfully and can measure social media return on investment, or SMROI.