Many of us entered the PR and marketing industries for some version of a similar reason— above all, we love to connect with other people and find shared, human experiences.
However, I have witnessed countless peers in the industry try to follow this impulse and lose precious time and energy to what I like to call “squirrel marketing distractions.”
These are when a brand new social media platform or method comes on the scene and instills major feelings of FOMO (fear of missing out) across the industry. Everyone races to sign up for the “new,” flashy thing only to find out they do not have the bandwidth to give it the attention it deserves. Flash forward to you feeling ridiculously overwhelmed and frustrated with the very thing you were a fanatic about just three weeks ago.
If this feeling sounds familiar to you—perhaps you recently experienced what I described above when downloading Clubhouse or TikTok for the first time—allow me to help you skip the headache next time: Squirrel marketing is a big no-no.
What happens when you are dividing little bits of your energy across a bunch of different places? For me, it resulted in mediocre content, mediocre marketing strategies, and inevitably, mediocre business growth.
Pivoting all the time, or implementing a new marketing strategy because of FOMO (and not an aligned business decision) is not best practice. So, before you go and download the next best social media app or tool, stop and first ask yourself these three primary questions:
1. Is my audience there?
Before you download the newest buzz-creating platform, conduct research to determine whether your audience is even on the darn thing! Otherwise, you’ll be expending all of that energy, planning and strategy for no one to see. Or at least, no one who is going to actively engage with you or buy from you—which is what we’re all looking for, right?
Back when Clubhouse first came on the scene, I was considering exploring the platform, up until I actually started engaging with my audience to see what they were saying about it. My audience is made up of working women, many with full-time jobs and families to handle while building their business on the side. The more people I asked within my own network, the more sure I became that Clubhouse was not my scene. I got a lot of responses along the lines of, “I don’t have time for that. I don’t have time to sit on something for six hours and listen in a room and hope that I get value.”
If the person you’re creating the content for is not even there to see it, then what good does that do for your marketing? The more you get to know your audience niche, the easier and more efficient this process will become, because you will know exactly where they are showing up.
2. Do I have the capacity for this?
If you’re already working at your full capacity, ask yourself what adding one more thing on your plate would look like. What would you likely need to compromise that is already happening?
When Clubhouse first started, some of my colleagues jumped on the bandwagon, admitting to spending up to eight hours a day on the platform. Shortly thereafter, the excitement shifted to being overwhelmed, with comments like: “I don’t have any time to work on my business. I’m finding that I don’t have time for anything. What are your tips?”
By compromising your time, you risk making your strategies just OK when they can be remarkable. That is largely why I completely dropped social media as my primary means of bringing in client leads and sales, choosing to prioritize other things like blogging, Pinterest, and strong search engine optimization (SEO).
Ever since going all-in on this strategy two years ago, I’ve experienced an increase in website traffic by 300% and have doubled my yearly revenue. Sometimes doing less is best!
3. Does this fit with how I do business?
One thing I did for myself and my business that I strongly recommend is establishing your marketing rules, or values that you want to commit to and not break. The two rules I have made for myself have allowed me to make aligned decisions in my business.
- I want to drive traffic to my website.
- I want to create evergreen content.
My website is my home base. It’s a one-stop shop for messaging, resources, blogs, podcasts and more. Therefore, I really consider it to be my No. 1 business asset.
After I had my son and my time became more limited, I got serious about what kinds of content I was creating for my audience. I realized I needed to create content that wasn’t going to just disappear in an hour, a day, or even months. So, any time a new platform comes up or something new is happening, I defer back to my two rules and ask: is this platform in alignment with my rules?
Clubhouse, as it turned out broke my rule about evergreen content. I was not going to create content that disappears because I don’t believe it has ever served me in the long run. As a counterpoint, I have blog posts that are still driving traffic to my website that I wrote back in 2016.
So much of marketing is about resiliency, putting in the time and energy but not stretching yourself too thin. You have to draw the line somewhere to ensure you are showing up as your best in the places that actually matter.
Looking for more insights on the latest social media trends? Don’t miss Ragan’s Future of Communications Conference Nov. 17.