Digital Marketing and Social Media: Focus or Frustration

The digital marketing landscape is changing all the time. If you look at marketing websites and publications on a regular basis, you will see something new every day. Just look at how Periscope got attention in the social media and digital marketing world and people felt compelled to jump in. As all the new platforms, updates, improvements and opportunities present themselves, they also present a challenge.

There’s only so much time. So as more and more social media this and digital marketing that gets crammed into our lives, something must give. With limits on time and other resources, businesses will be forced to make decisions. To make it simple, there are two paths you can take.

  1. Try to implement every new thing that pops up in social media and digital marketing.
  2. Do your homework, understand what platforms and strategies work best for your organization, and then focus on those on those strengths.

The marketing rewards are behind door No. 2.

Behind door No. 1 lies a big pile of frustration.

Let’s look at both of these. Attempting to implement everything that sprouts up in the social media and digital marketing world is an exercise in futility (and possibly insanity).

A Recipe For Digital Marketing and Social Media Disaster

In business, time and again it’s been proven that trying to be everything to everybody is a failed concept. It’s also a recipe to sabotage your social and digital effectiveness. Here’s why:

  • Limits on resources – Very few organizations have the resources and capital available to make the investment and commitment to every new platform, tool, strategy and tactic that develops in the social and digital world. It’s simply impractical.
  • Mediocrity – When you try to be everything to everyone, it’s a really good way to be mediocre at a lot of things. Even the smartest and most talented experts in marketing can be made mediocre when spread too thin and not allowed to focus on their areas of expertise. This reflects on your brand. Instead of being seen as awesome in select areas, you are now viewed as mediocre or average at everything.
  • Confusing the customer – When organizations try to do too much, they often confuse the customer. Whether you like it or not, customers want to get the gist of your organization quickly and easily. They will take a brief look at your company and start forming opinions of who you are, what you do and what makes you unique or different. When you try to be everything to everyone, you make this process difficult for people. You create a mental barrier that can be difficult to overcome.

The result of trying to implement too much in the areas of social media and digital marketing is feeling frazzled. Unfortunately, marketers can become addicted to this for a few reasons:

They are afraid to get off the treadmill

This may sound strange, but it’s true. Once people commit to this path, it can be tough to just stop. As with pretty much every other area of life, people grow accustomed to what they do and change can be difficult. The natural response when caught in this cycle is to push harder. It’s almost as if pride is on the line. Instead of slowing down, getting off the treadmill and thinking out a new solution, people plod along. Which leads us to our next point …

The “more is better” fallacy

An unfortunate myth that is pervasive in marketing, business and all facets of society is that more is better. In many cases, this may be true. However, people apply this mentality to everything. It’s an easy solution that is widely accepted. Yet, when more isn’t better, you aren’t left with much besides wasted resources and burnout.

They saw incremental, short-term gains

This can be really dangerous. Sometimes when an organization starts to implement every new thing they come across, they see some short-term results. Then they assume they have found the magic formula. They rejoice and enthusiastically get to work implementing more and more. While this may work for some time, results tend to fall off sooner than later. The problem is that people will see the results fall and double down.

Now, let’s look at the alternative.

Find Your Digital Marketing and Social Media Strengths … Then Focus

(or When Less Is More)

What should your business or organization do when more and more stuff fills in the digital marketing and social media space? The best bet is to do your homework, make some informed decisions and focus on your strengths. It’s a healthy habit to form given that “space” is ever-expanding and that “stuff” is forever filling it. Your game plan might look like this:

  1. Identify – Do research. Poke around. Experiment a little. Do your due diligence. Understand your audience above all else. This will help you identify what platforms and tools are ideal for your organization. Understand what strategies and tactics are most likely to gain results for your audience.
  2. Choose – This is the big step. Choose. Make decisions. You need to eliminate some things in order to focus on strengths. It’s much like the famous 80/20 rule, also known as Pareto’s Principle.  It’s the same principle that says 20% of your sales reps will account for 80% of your sales. This principle seems to apply to so much in the world.  Since we see it work in the real world, why fight it. Use it to your advantage.
  3. Execute – Once you’ve identified what to focus on and made a decision, it’s time to execute. Move forward with your marketing and social with the user in mind.
  4. Analyze – Look at your results. Go over them. What worked? What didn’t? What do the numbers and the metrics tell you? Did the users tell you anything from their behavior? Are there any new opportunities that make sense? Should you dump something you thought would be effective, but hasn’t done all that well? This is where you analyze what you’ve done and consider changes. This is almost like doing steps Nos. 1 and 2 again, but requiring less time. It becomes part of a process.
  5. Optimize – Use your experience, your knowledge, and your data to optimize and make improvements. Make necessary tweaks, updates and changes. Then keep on executing.

Why Choosing Your Strengths and Focusing Works

It’s manageable

Approaching social media and digital marketing with a strong focus is manageable. When you make decisions and focus, you don’t have to try to manage a millions things at once.

Effective troubleshooting

Identifying your strengths and focusing on them makes figuring out what’s working and what is not much easier. If there is a big increase in traffic or leads, you have a better idea of what caused it. When you have a downturn, the same is true.

Time to analyze

This approach gives you time to think. That’s refreshing, isn’t it? Instead of running like crazy on the treadmill, you can sit down and think things through.

Time for quality

When you stop trying to be everything to everyone, you have time to concentrate on quality and serving users better.

The proper application of “more is better”

When you identify and focus on your 80/20s, you can stop chasing your tail. Instead, you can do more of what you know works. That is the way to make the “more is better” principle work for you.

So, how are you going to approach digital marketing and social media?

With technology always advancing and the business landscape always changing, the digital marketing and social media worlds are sure to see a steady stream of new platforms, features, tools and so on. To be effective, you must be decisive.

Each organization is unique. You must say “no” to some things and embrace others. Over time, you must make adjustments and improve. However, the mistake to avoid is trying to do everything. It could very well give you tons of headaches with very few results.


About the Author

A journalist by trade, Shane Liebler tells stories that connect brands with target audiences and inspire them to act. He’s a writer, not a copy machine, and that approach brings exceptional content to every print or digital piece he pens. Shane taps into his past as a reporter and editor to develop clear messages that resonate in every medium, be it blog or brochure, sponsored content or script.