Why Following The Social Media Masses Is A Mistake

How many times have you heard someone say this:

“Facebook, with a billion plus users, is most definitely where your brand should be… just based on the numbers alone!”

It’s a compelling statement. [Here are some other compelling social media stats] It makes you feel as if you’d be stupid NOT to use Facebook since all of those people are just sitting there waiting to hear from YOU about YOUR BRAND.


But are they really? Lately with all of the Facebook changes — and the ever-looming presence of EdgeRank — I’ve noticed our numbers steadily dwindling. Reach is dismal and sharing is nearly nonexistent!

However, other platforms, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are doing well for us. We’re steadily growing and starting to have compelling conversations – not to mention getting qualified leads to place in our pipeline.

So the question remains: Is following the social media masses a mistake?

Oooh, SHINY!

While I’m all for the testing of social platforms as they become popular (think: G+, Instagram and Vine), I’m not a proponent of jumping on every “new and shiny” platform and staying there.

This dilutes your social efforts. And it looks especially bad when you start on a platform and then leave it by the wayside, as outlined on this article by Business 2 Community on the “10 Top Brands with the Worst Google Plus Pages“.

If you’re testing out a platform and any of the following happen:

  • Unable to post frequently
  • Unable to build healthy following
  • Unable to interact; no conversations taking place
  • No engagement by others on your posts

you may want to reconsider this platform. If it’s “you” and not “them” (see bullet points 1 and 2 above), consider coming back to the platform when you have enough time to build a strategy for using it correctly.

Audience Attention Matters Most

Here’s my take: while numbers may not “lie” or provide an irresistible reason for you to join a particular platform,  I’d rather be where my audience is.

And even if there are a billion people on Facebook – it doesn’t mean you have to be there. I think the most important gauge of any platform is how the conversation is going. Not how many followers you have… not how many retweets or shares you receive (GO DEEPER)… it’s more about how many conversations you are having on the platform.

I’ll be the first to admit that Google Plus has been a struggle for me. And like any other platform, the more I put in, the more I get out. As with anything, it takes a true commitment to see any sort of tangible results.

And you only get back what you put in.

Take The Leap!

So, I say let’s all take the leap. Let’s make a promise to check out which platforms our audiences are on, AND where we talk with them the most. Let’s focus on those platforms — whether they’re Facebook or not — and then decide “should I stay or should I go?”

What about you? Do you prefer safety in numbers (the masses), or is your audience and conversation where you give most of your attention?

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

Brooke Ballard
Like many of you, Chief Digital Strategist and Founder of B Squared Media, Brooke Ballard, has seen a fundamental shift in business due to social media. How do businesses take advantage of this? Where do they start? Is social media for everyone? In-the-trenches online media experience helps B Squared Media answer these questions for companies seeking to formulate successful social strategies. Using tactics developed in her yearlong honors thesis study, Brooke helps bright and innovative entities develop social strategies around content, community, conversation, collaboration, and conversion. Simply put: Think Conversation, Not Campaign.™ Click here to subscribe to my mailing list
Brooke Ballard

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