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How many social media platforms should you be on?

November 13, 2014 Kevin DeShazo Social Media Strategy Tags: , , 0 Comments

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vine, Snapchat, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest. The list of social media platforms you can be on is seemingly endless. Every time a new one pops up and gains traction, brands start foaming at the mouth about how they “engage” on this new platform.

“They already have 40 million users!”

“That demographic is exactly who we need to reach!”

“If you ain’t first, you’re last!”

To be fair, brands should do their due diligence. You don’t want to get too comfortable with where you are and miss out on what could be a legitimate opportunity to add real, measurable value to your fans. But too often, brands have FOMO (fear of missing out). As a result, we stretch ourselves too thin.

To create a presence on a new platform requires us to take time and resources away from our current platforms. As a result we end up being average, at best, on many platforms and great on none. Average, of course, isn’t what we are looking for. Average doesn’t cut it. Your fans don’t want or deserve average.

So what’s the magic number when it comes to the amount of platforms that deserve your attention? New research from Hubspot suggests that consumers expect brands to be on an average of 3.4 social media platforms.

3.4 platforms. That’s it. Not 5, not 7, not 10. Just 3.4. Where do they expect to find you?

Even worse news for brands is that consumers admit to only following brands they like on an average of 1.6 platforms. Why the disconnect in number of platforms they expect you to be on vs platforms they follow you on? You’re not creating compelling enough content. You’re consistently sharing the same content on Twitter as you are on Facebook as you are on Instagram as you are on, well, you get the point. Consider this statement from the recent SportsBusiness Journal Sports Media and Technology conference:

“As digital marketers, we need to do less things and do them better…. Consumers are confused by the amount of sites, applications and delivery mechanisms for content. More isn’t always better, and without aggregation, we’re not clearly demonstrating value to the consumer as an industry. By streamlining delivery channels and prioritizing content, sports brands and properties are better serving the fans.”

You aren’t providing enough value across platforms to cause them to follow. Sometimes this is due to a poor strategy for a particular platform, and sometimes it is a result of stretching yourself too thin and not having the necessary time and resources to devote to the uniqueness of each platform. Sometimes, of course, it is both.

Andy Pawlowski, who works in digital at Nike, had this to say in a post earlier this year:

“Before we race ahead, we must pause and think about our existing social network presence. We should consider  1) can we accomplish what is needed with what we already have? and 2) do we have the people and thinking it takes to launch a new community the right way?”

The question then becomes what platforms to be on. This will look different for each department based on your fan base and your goals. This requires significant work but is crucial to your success on social media. This is not a guessing game.

What if you only utilized one social media platform? What if, after concluding your research, you determined that Twitter was the most valuable to both your department and your fans? How much better would you be at Twitter if you focused all of your energy there?

If we are to truly connect with our fans online and add value to their experience, we must do great work. Not average, not noisy, but great. We must create content that connects with them on an emotional level and spurs them to action (click, share, buy, etc). To do that, we need to devote the necessary time and resources to the few platforms that matter most to your department and your fans.

As the old adage goes, less is more.

Fieldhouse Media is an award-winning firm dedicated to helping athletics departments get the most out of their social media efforts, from educating student-athletes and staff to providing an overall strategy. To find out more about us or to join the more than 70 schools utilizing our services for their athletics department, contact us today.

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