You might be surprised to find that, in November 2018, we took the decision to close down our Facebook page.
What!? How can this be possible, you might be thinking. A social media training company that doesn’t use Facebook? Surely the world evolves around Facebook, surely businesses is no more without Facebook, surely life doesn’t exist without Facebook?
And for a while this was very true. But 2018 was a time when we really took stock of what we wanted to achieve and about the advice we gave our clients; our decision to close our Facebook page wasn’t taken lightly.
And to be honest with you, it did take some time to pluck up the courage to hit the button. A lot of this was FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) but some of the doubts were around advertising. Obviously, if you’re not on Facebook, you can’t advertise through Facebook. But when we looked at it, we hadn’t actually used Facebook advertising in the first place as all of our work comes directly from referrals.
So why did we make the decision to shut down our Facebook page?
Doing too many things on too many channels meant we were spreading ourselves too thinly. We wanted to focus on doing fewer channels better.
We took a really good look at our audience. We analysed what people we really wanted to attract, who we wanted to work with and which social channels they were active on.
We found that the customers and audiences we wanted to serve could be reached on just three social media platforms:
· LinkedIn: this is the professional social media platform. It’s where people consume content whilst working and are often more receptive to new business ideas, learning concepts and growth opportunities. We knew we’d already had great results from LinkedIn. We knew we had thousands of connections in our industry that already engaged with us.
· Twitter: a favourite social media for obvious reasons! Agriculture took to this short-form, chatty platform, loving its active fast-moving and interactive pace. From the outset, we knew we had the right audience or were capable of reaching the right audience, especially with Simon’s success as a founder of @FarmersoftheUK, which now has an audience of nearly 40,000 followers. So Twitter was a win-win – we knew our audience was already there and it was a place we like to be.
· Instagram: the fastest growing social media platform today. Instagram captures the younger demographic, as well as those who aren’t active on Facebook or engaging on Twitter. Instagram is the storytelling platform where we can tell our story to our audiences. It started as an image-sharing platform but thanks to innovations, such as stories, video, Instagram TV, is now the perfect way to document your day, tell your story, and humanise your business.
4. By analysing where we need to be we realised we were able to reach exactly the right audience with fewer social media channels. We now have more time to focus on the right platforms where our audiences are and where we actually like to be!
5. And we can manage these channels in a sustainable way: sharing the responsibility for the content on LinkedIn, Simon curating the content for Twitter and me taking responsibility for Instagram.
Was it scary making the decision? Well, actually, yes, it was, because how could the world possibly exist without Facebook?
Have we missed it? Absolutely not: we were just using it for the sake of using it.
So, what do you need to do now?
Take a long look at your business and plan a strategy. Find out where your audience is and then focus on doing your social media well, but remember, you do not need to be on every single platform.
As time moves on, this is going to be even more relevant because it is inevitable that new social media will move into the younger end of the market. At some point, young people won’t be on Instagram anymore because that’s where their parents will be. And the ever-evolving world of social media will respond by creating a new platform. If, as a business, you just keep jumping onto the next platform, irrelevant of the needs of your business or audience, in 10 years’ time you could find yourself on your 20th social media platform, which isn’t helpful for anyone!
So now is the time to really stop and analyse where you should be, where you’re getting the value from, where you’re seeing the results. If you’re not seeing results and value, then stop! Be brave, be ruthless and evaluate where you should be, then make the changes.
Focus on being present on the platforms and creating content that helps your audience. This is what these tools are for, being social. Use them to show your expertise and to be genuinely useful to your audience.
If you’re wondering whether you’re in the right place, if you don’t know where to start, or how to work out which platforms are going to be really useful to you, get in touch with us – start the conversation and we might be able to help!
Alison is the Owner/Director of Simply Marketing Limited and has worked with hundreds of business owners offering simple, cost effective, practical and achievable solutions to marketing problems.
She is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and a qualified marketer.