If you are like most business owners around the world, you probably feel the pressure to exist on as many social media platforms as possible. From Twitter to Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook, and even Google Maps, the number of social platforms that businesses are expected to have a presence on is mind-boggling for the average small to medium-size business.
What’s worse is that if you do somehow manage to have accounts on every platform, you probably don’t have the time to fully monitor what your presence on these platforms is really saying about you and your business.
So how can you properly manage and monitor your social media footprint, and when do you decide to scale things back in order to focus on quality and results over peripheral existence?
In this post, we’ll look at how these profiles can affect your business and what some of your best options are if you’re feeling overwhelmed and your social media marketing is ineffective.
First, let’s clear up some common misconceptions about your business’s online presence. To understand what your social media presence is saying about you and your business, we first need to make a distinction between a social media presence and a social media footprint.
Social media footprint describes the number of accounts that exist on specific platforms. In other words, how many accounts do you have? For example, are you on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.?
This varies greatly from the concept of a social media presence, which requires social media profiles, sure, but also requires active management and engagement with your connections.
Using these definitions means it’s possible to have an overall small social media footprint while also having a large social media presence. It’s not uncommon in the creator and influencer spaces, for example, to see brands that have a large following on one channel but be completely absent from another.
This also means that it’s possible to have a large social media footprint while having a small overall social media presence. A lot of businesses will have accounts on upwards of 5 social media sites only to leave these profiles vacant as virtual ghost accounts that have been created and then left dormant for years.
These accounts aren’t updated, and if someone stumbles across them, they will only see an old logo with no information to place the account’s age or relevance—if it even has any. Unfortunately for many business owners, it’s all too common that you find yourself in the latter group, having an insignificant social media presence but a large social media footprint.
Oprah Winfrey was once quoted as saying, “You can have it all. Just not all at once.” These words ring true to the fact that, in order to accomplish goals and momentum, you often need to focus your efforts on what is achievable with your current set of talents and resources.
Even large brands with huge amounts of resources often have learned this the hard way, finding their social media departments ineffective and stretched thin, sacrificing their overall social media presence in exchange for a large social media footprint. This could help explain why companies like Reebok have opted to delete hundreds of their accounts in the past.
What many business owners find when they reduce the number of accounts on social media is that they can provide higher value and quality on each account they do have a presence on, focusing on the growth of their presence rather than the growth of their account list.
Let’s take this perspective and extrapolate it to an example.
If you’re a business of just five employees, and you decide that you want to have someone dedicated entirely to social media marketing to increase your company’s exposure, there are two routes you can go.
One option would be to have your social-media-marketing-department-of-one focus on creating dozens of pieces of content across as many channels as possible without the time or energy to consider what is working on each platform.
Because the mere act of creating posts for each platform is already overwhelming for a single person, it’s likely your marketer will not be privy to the differences in your platforms and the inherent differences in the marketing approach each platform requires. Each channel may have content and posts, but your engagement levels will likely be low.
This kind of social media footprint can be particularly damaging to a brand. For those that do find you, the number one thing they’re likely to learn about your business is that you’re putting a lot of effort into social media, and yet absolutely no one cares.
It’s the opposite kind of social proof businesses benefit from — it’s social proof of people’s disinterest in your brand.
On the other hand, you can hire someone to focus on acquiring the deep knowledge necessary to thrive on one particular platform, whichever platform you’ve determined would be best for your brand.
Here’s what will happen next: with less production work on their plate, your marketer will have the time and resources to hone in on what works and what doesn’t, and in turn, you’ll likely be more capable of overseeing the effectiveness of your social content as well. In addition, you’ll have the time to consider whether what you’re creating resonates with your audience, and in turn, the chances that you create a strategy that works well greatly increases.
Now, if any of this perspective is resonating with you, but if you’re already in too deep and stretched too thin, it’s essential to focus on transforming your goals. I recommend starting first with a social media footprint audit.
There are a few important steps to take when auditing your social media footprint, the first being to take a look at what you’re currently representing to the world. Next, you’ll want to determine how much time your various social media sites are taking to manage and calculate the cost and return of your efforts. Lastly, use this data to determine where to remove accounts from.
It’s not uncommon for business owners to create so many accounts out of a feeling of FOMO that they end up not only neglecting accounts but forgetting they exist altogether.
You’ll need a methodical way to find unused accounts that you might have forgotten about when this happens. Here are a few ways you can do this:
Using a time-tracking tool (like Plutio Timesheets), track the number of hours spent each week on your total social media marketing efforts. This will tell you two things: 1. The amount of time you’re currently willing to dedicate to social media in general, and therefore how much time you can reasonably expect you will invest in the future, and 2. The labor cost of your social media management is.
Both of these metrics are important data points to have to determine what a reasonable footprint for your business is.
At this point, you should roughly know how much money you’re putting into social media, which means you’ve got the investment part of this equation figured out. What you need to do next is understand your return.
To do this, hopefully, you’ve included some social media analytics tools as part of your expansion into new social networks. Facebook Pixel, for example, helps you to understand the effectiveness of your Facebook campaigns in regards to actual traffic and actions taken on your website. While specific tools vary, you’ll want to pay attention to the CTR on your ads and links and your lead-to-customer conversion rate. You can then extrapolate this data to roughly determine how much income you’ve made from your various social channels.
If you aren’t using analytics tools, however, there are still ways that you can estimate the efforts of your social media marketing. Each platform often has certain analytics built into it, and you’ll want to look at those. Monitor your engagement in terms of likes, comments, and followers over time, and conservatively estimate that 1% of those engagements could theoretically result in a new customer.
Once you’re armed with this mountain of data, it’s time to decide what you will do with it. Chances are, you’ll want to consider deleting accounts for various reasons.
However, deleting social media accounts can be daunting in a number of ways. First, if you’ve amassed even a small following on an account, you may want to move as many of those followers over to your other accounts as possible. You may want to consider posting a good-bye post linking to your more lucrative social media accounts. Alternatively, messaging your followers directly is a good way to give them a heads up, and most people who follow you won’t mind hearing from you.
Another thing that can make deleting your unused accounts difficult is the platforms themselves. It’s within every social network’s best interest to have as many users as possible, and because of this, they can sometimes make it difficult, if not impossible, to actually delete your account.
While things are getting better in this regard due to increased awareness and regulatory pressure on social networks, it can still be challenging to navigate the maze of account preferences of some sites. To make things easier, you can consider using a tool such as https://justdeleteme.xyz, which provides direct links to delete accounts from a variety of websites.
Lastly, if you’ve amassed some interesting content on your platforms, you may feel that you don’t want the content to disappear forever, and in that case, you’ll want to look into backups. You may be able to do this with various 3rd party services, such as pCloud, which lets you connect directly to your Facebook account.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing some information on how to refocus and streamline your social media accounts, so if this topic interests you, be sure to keep an eye on the blog. In the meantime, think about ways to repurpose content to feel unique and original to each platform you exist on. Maybe original and educational blog content can serve as a great foundation for interesting Tik Tok videos, or maybe a podcast that can edited down to clips suits you better.