FOMO stands for the Fear of Missing Out, and for a long time, FOMO has had an outsized role in small business’ digital marketing decisions. Brands felt obligated to have a presence on every possible platform – after all, if they weren’t there, they were missing their chance to connect with the customers who were.
Time has passed, and collectively, we’ve been able to assess if FOMO is a legitimate concern. More than 3/4ths of all Americans use social media, but not everyone uses every platform. Social media platforms have developed their own unique cultures and norms; users choose to visit one rather than another when they are in search of a specific experience. Want to be wowed by gorgeous aesthetic images? Go to Instagram. Want those pretty pictures to inspire your own DIY adventure? Pinterest is waiting for you.
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As users have developed a sophisticated, nuanced understanding of the social media universe, brands need to do the same. Marketing experts are advocating for small businesses to ditch both Google + and Twitter – both platforms are out of favor, Google + for never having found its raison d’etre, Twitter for having limited relevance outside of breaking news events. Instagram and Pinterest are becoming more robust settings for e-commerce, while Facebook continues to enjoy an outsized dominant position in the marketplace.
With all of this in mind, where does your brand need to be? Small businesses have limited time, energy and resources. Maintaining an effective presence on any platform takes all three; to do it all well is a pretty high bar that most small businesses frankly can’t meet.
Every year, you should conduct a digital audit. Part of this process involves assessing your presence on the various social media platforms and the levels of engagement you enjoy there. Engagement is an important metric, but it’s not the only one. It’s important to look at the role each platform plays in driving traffic to your website or business. Creating awareness is a valuable role, but you need to make strategic decisions to focus your energies on those platforms that are delivering the highest overall ROI.
We’ve found that most small businesses can manage two to three platforms effectively. More than that, and things rapidly deteriorate. If you’re in a position where you know your energies are being spread too thin, it’s okay to consolidate. Maintain a profile to ensure no one else grabs your business name, but post information letting your fans know where you’re be more active. It is much better to do a great job connecting on one or two platforms than to fail on many at once.