Social Media Marketing and the 80 / 20 Rule

If you’re doing business online, or at the very least maintain an online presence for an offline one, you can no longer ignore social media. And you can’t pay “lip service” to it either. You have to be engaged in it. Immersed in it, to some degree.

That’s the bottom line in 2014.

But how much time should you really be spending? And which platforms should you focus on?

Well, when I say “social media”, I really mean Facebook and to a lesser extent Google+.

Why only these two?

Well, Facebook for obvious reasons. It has over a billion users, and studies show that the typical North American spends the largest percentage of his or her time online on Facebook. More germane to this discussion is the fact that data suggests that of all the time spent on social media sites, the vast majority (83%) is spent on Facebook.

I include Google+ because of its obvious ties to the Google search engine, and its potential ranking and engagement signals.

What about other social media sites, like Twitter?

Consider this…

A recent Pew Research Center study showed only 5-10% of cell phone users use Twitter on a regular basis. And remember, that’s cell phone users who have a data plan (which is necessary to access Twitter). In Canada, just over 50% of people do, which means that slightly less than half of your audience cannot even access the service. In the U.S., the number of people who cannot access Twitter is somewhat smaller, but the bottom line is simple; well over 70% of your customers do not use Twitter, which means your message will never reach them. Additional research suggests up to 71% of tweets are ignored. I haven’t seen any numbers showing whether it is used in any significant manner by people surfing on traditional devices like desktop and laptop computers.

So it is really a good use of your time agonizing over pithy 140 character messages and sending them out regularly to  an audience that comprises such a tiny segment of your market? Especially when you can probably reach the vast majority of these people more effectively through Facebook?

Didn’t think so.

What about sites like Pinterest and Instagram? Or the networking site Linked In?

Let me be frank; just about any popular platform can be used to leverage your business in one way or another. The question is whether or not marketing on multiple platforms is a good return on your investment of time – especially when you consider that you can reach almost everyone via Facebook. After all, you can spend all day pushing out your message through a multitude of social media channels. However, you will soon come face to face with the law of diminishing returns, and unless you have staff 100% dedicated to this, there are simply not enough hours in the day to do this and all the other things you have to accomplish.

Personally, I think it’s best to adhere to the 80 / 20 rule for your social media marketing.

So focus on Facebook.

And Google+.

If your business has a logical tie-in to some other platform (i.e., a high end flower shop that sells beautifully crafted one-off floral arrangements should definitely be posting pictures of their arrangements on Pinterest), by all means, use it. If you think the sort of business networking offered by Linked In offers real value, by all means use it.

But do not use services just for the sake of using them. Apply the 80 / 20 rule, and the rest, leave well enough alone.

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