I get asked a lot, “How do you find time to do it all? If I participate in every social media channel, I don’t have time to do anything else!” Exactly.
The reality is that I don’t do it all. You can’t be everywhere in social media—and you won’t be effective trying. But the good news is that if you narrow your focus, you can get serious traction and build your following.
There’s an old Chinese proverb that says a person who chases two rabbits catches neither. We’ve all seen that in dozens of different contexts, haven’t we? The more we add to our plates, the less we accomplish. We waste our efforts because we can’t focus them.
Social media is no different. Thankfully, the old proverb can teach us three simple steps to get traction and build our social media following:
- Pick your rabbit. You can’t master every channel, but your audience isn’t in every channel. To get traction and build your audience, you need to focus where your audience most heavily congregates.
There are several ways to find this out. You can do a reader survey or research the available demographic data, but the best place to start is a simple inventory of your current social media engagement. Where you getting the most traction right now? Focus your attention there.
Study your rabbit. Once you’ve chosen the channel where your audience is congregating, serve them better by studying the culture of that channel. Every channel has a culture of its own. Signing up for every service, posting the same content the same time in each one, and hoping something sticks is a recipe for failure.
A couple of years ago, I almost quit Facebook. Why? I didn’t understand the unique culture of Facebook. Once my friend Amy Porterfield explained it to me, it started making sense, and now it’s a major part of my strategy. Every channel has tricks and nuances that will enrich the experience of you and your audience.
Bag your rabbit. Now that you’ve identified the channel and have spent some time learning its unique culture, it’s time to bag the rabbit.
- What content works best for your chosen channel? Create that content.
- What are the best times to post? Post at those times.
- What level of engagement is best? Engage at that level.
What if you already have some presence in several different channels? I would post as minimally as possible in the peripheral channels—put them on autopilot if you can—and double your efforts in your main channel. That’s where you want to focus your attention and cultivate your audience.
Once you’ve bagged one rabbit, you can pursue another. I heavily focus on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It took me a while to get the hang of Instagram, but I’m now getting great traction and building my following.
It’s critical for long-term success that you enjoy working in the channels you choose. Sometimes we hear that such-and-such channel is key and if you don’t have a presence you’re sure to fail. But that’s not so.
All you need to do is pick the channel that works best for you and your audience. If you follow these steps, I’m confident you can get the traction you want and build the following you deserve.
Standing out online takes time and strategic work. This just scratches the surface of what you could do—and the traction you could achieve—as you build your online presence. Most people use social media as a traffic booster and a way to engage with people following their blogs or websites.