Be Where YOU Need to Be, Not Where “They” Say You Should

Social media needs

A friend of mine went to a Social Media for Small Business conference recently. He’s a small business owner, and has been thinking about using social media for a while.

He enjoyed the conference and made some great connections while there. Yet something he said worries me, and that’s the need to be everywhere.

According to the social media expert that was speaking at the conference, businesses need to be on as many social media channels as they can. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Ning, blogging, Facebook Places, Tumblr, etc – the list goes on.

The reasoning? You never know where your customer is going to be, so you need to be in all the places they could be.


You can (and do) know where your customer is going to be by doing the research – a social media audit, for example.

Because of this map, you can tell demographics, spend decisions, social network use, optimum time of day for social network use and promotions, and much, much more.

You can then use this information to understand where you need to be, when you need to be there, and what you need to be saying/doing while there. This targeted approach makes sure no-one’s wasting their time, and goals can be set and results measured.

It’s not rocket science – it’s a marketing strategy.

Saying you need to be on every site because your customers might be is like saying you need to advertise in every single newspaper because some of your customers might read it.

Sure, they might. But if your customers are vegetarians, would you advertise in Slaughterhouse Weekly?

No – so why take that approach with your social media strategy? Instead, be where you need to be.

Make sense?

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  1. says

    Absolutely 100% true. I am baffled by the number of people that think every site is right for them. It’s the whole ‘everyone else says I need it, so I must need it’ thought process. If more people focused on just a couple networks and doing them REALLY well, we’d all be in a better place.

    • says

       @kirstenwright Do less, better, as @JanMinihane mentions – so true and, like you say, we’d all be in a better place. What’s not to like?

  2. JanMinihane says

    Spot on Danny – I think there is a lot of fear (some spread by unscrupulous social media advisors) factor for businesses who feel that if they aren’t everywhere somehow the world will caev in/they will miss out on masses of sales/leades etc…. I spend more time taking clients off sites than going on new ones, once we’ve gone through the ‘where are your customers online & more importantly do they want to talk to you on there’ process.
    My mantra: do less, better!

    • says

       @JanMinihane You know what peeves me too, Jan? The advice to “grab your social identity, even if you don’t use it, just to stop it being taken.” If I’m a potential customer and I visit a dead social ID of yours, I’m going to think you don’t care about your own presence, so why should I trust you with mine?
      Ah well, more business for the good folks. 😉

      • deleted_2164790_donnaM13 says

         @DannyBrown  @JanMinihane arggh nothing worse than an abandoned site! even worse when it belongs to a band i love 😉

      • JanMinihane says

         @DannyBrown Absolutely, so many businesses are damaging their brand by having empty profiles, it looks lazy/arrogant/unprofessional. And you’re right, we shouldn’t actually complain, lots of my work is picking up the pieces from the last social media advisor they had in!

  3. says

    Don’t you know, Danny, that if one over complicates things it’s possible to charge more for services?  Then, only a handful of clients pis sufficient to pay the bills, as over charging brings more revenue and smooth talkers make clients believe they are getting a true return for their investment.
    Or it could be done the right way.

    • says

       @southplatte That explains why i pay $20 for a dam sudoku book when I have absolutely no idea how it works! 😉
      Here’s to the right way, every time.

  4. Schummie says

    Exactly right!  It’s Marketing 101 … you don’t need to be a social media expert to know that.  But then, that’s probably where the problem is.  Too many social media consultants want what they do to seem to be beyond the expertise of a traditional marketing expert so they obfuscate and re-invent, but the fact is, people are people and the basics of marketing has not changed.  The tools have changed (especially the analytical tools), and the 3rd P (Place) has become much more fragmented and complicated, but the basics are still the same.  An expert old school marketing director should be perfectly able to set his or her own social media marketing strategy, although he might need help with the data mining, implementation and analysis.  Yet all the hype has made many of them afraid and they outsource the whole thing to people with less actual experience in understanding customers.  The marketing world is upside down right now.

    • says

       @Schummie Love your points about the strategy and expertise being pretty much unchanged since the 4P’s first took hold, mate. It’s so true, and the ones with the real business acumen will be the ones that are left standing when this social media expert bubble bursts. Because burst it will.
      I can’t wait! 😉

  5. deleted_2164790_donnaM13 says

    The socalled ‘gurus’ and ‘mavens’ are the ones preaching the ‘be everywhere’ gospel simply so that when the new client is overwhelmed (which is easy to do if you talk the right buzzwords to them) they’ll throw up their hands and say – how much for YOU to do it? Then of course… most of the updates are done from a single app like hootsuite or worse… from a few apps that overlap each other so you have Hootsuite updating your Myspace, which then posts to Twitter (as nobody is really ON Myspace) and then your FB pushes to Twitter and so does your blog post so you get three tweets in a row with not one of them being useful to those actually ON twitter – who tweet back and are never answered… haha.. yeah i’m kinda jaded after 3 yrs of it all but you are SOOOO right. A restaurant might do better on Twitter if they’re into spontaneous specials for walkins. A furniture company or jewelry are better off on FB where they can use photos and albums and drive traffic visually.. i totally agree. – just reading the comments of others. Schummie: too many social media consultants want what they do to seem beyond the expertise of traditional marketing expertsSouthplatte: dont you know that if one over complicates things its possible to charge more?my old boss said once – Do one thing well. aka Jack of all Trades, Master of none – which as a saying is from the 50s? Baffle them will bullshit… or Bullshit baffles brains 😉

    • says

       @donnaM13 Haha, okay, this is quite possibly one of my favourite comments ever! :)
      Sadly, amongst the hearty chuckle, what you say is so true, Donna – it is smoke and mirrors to play the fear game. The good news? The veil is lifting and these shysters are being seen for what they really are.
      Thanks again for the smile! :)

      • deleted_2164790_donnaM13 says

         @DannyBrown thank goodness for that! its frustrating when you yourself or others you respect in the business are not getting where they should due to those shysters

  6. says

    Hey @DannyBrown , would you say small businesses should at least sign on to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+? I could see how one would be more effective than another, depending on the business. But I wonder if those three social networks would be a good standard.

  7. OpEdMarketing says

    That scares me too.  If businesses don’t know where their customers are…ummm, ask them.  Because if small businesses spread themselves too thin by spending too much unproductive time on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Ning, Tumblr, etc., they won’t have to worry about where their customers are – because they won’t have any when they’re out of business.  

    • says

       @OpEdMarketing Exactly, mate. Who’s running the sales, or doing the books, or promoting the offers, or keeping the bills paid, when all your time is spent on networks that offer no value? Shysters.

  8. says

    Awesome… and here I thought this was going to be a post about how I shouldn’t be bothered by the lady in the furniture store telling me that my dreams won’t come true. I am ambitious and I want it all. And when the time comes, I’m sure I’ll know where my customers are and not have to branch out to all of these social media tools that I still don’t understand

    • says

       @JacStar i bet someone once told Steve Jobs he shouldn’t go up against HP. I bet someone told James Dyson he shouldn’t go up against Hoover. And more besides these two.
      Funny thing about unsolicited advice – it’s often wrong. 😉

  9. says

    The be everywhere all the time mentality I associate with the be everything to everyone mentality… 
    It’s impossible and you’re never at your best when attempting this.
    I’m glad you straightened out your buddy!!
    Also looking forward to your thoughts on that email I sent.
    Ryan H.

    • says

       @Ryan Hanley Hell, even my wife @JacStar can’t do everything, and she’s awesome! :)
      Loved the email, mate, running on Monday coming – cheers!

  10. says

    Very refreshing, thanks Danny! We get overloaded with social media strategies, and when we do, we sometimes forget the basic idea of what we’re trying to accomplish. Distinguishing the difference between what we “need” to so versus which smart approach will best brand and generate the targeted clientele is essential. It’s a challenge to identify the best social media strategy, but always worth investigating time into. Quality vs. Quantity. Bravo.

    • says

       @Anders Michael The ironic thing is, mate, if you spend the time doing the legwork, you’ll save yourself a hell of a lot more than just time in the long run (and even some of the short run). So why’s that so difficult a concept to grasp? 😉

  11. Leon says

    G’Day Danny,
    I just wish you’d stop posting all this stuff that I agree with, Then I wouldn’t have to leave another of those “Amen to that you Celtic Wizard!” type comments.
     I always thought that It was John Wooden who said “Nothing is so important as the proper execution of the fundamentals.” Turns out he didn’t but no one knows who did. Anyway, the fundamentals of marketing are simple: have a crystal clear business focus and a specific narrow target market. And never spend a cent on marketing to anyone else.
    But your story is further grist for my mill that www is absolutely chockers with wheel reinventors and lousy advice from people who don’t know what they don’t know. And I can guarantee that it was Mark Twain who said, “It aint what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for certain that just aint so.”
    As my banjo plucking mate Bix Berry always says: “Marketing Isn’t everything, but everything is marketing.” 
    Go Boston!
    Best Wishes

    • says

       @Leon I recall this marketing whiz come up with this “mega strategy” that would blow the competition away, because it was so new and unheard of.
      He went on to share what it was, and at the end of a very long 15 minute spiel, I couldn’t help but think, “You’ve just shared the hubspot model – but in a completely non-strategic and non-scalable way. You idiot.”
      Like you say, mate, you don’t have to reinvent. But at least be a little smart… 😉

  12. Mark Longbottom says

    Excellent as ever. Best ting to do is walk away and make sure you know  who you are as a business and who you want to talk to, it is definitely not everyone. As you say Danny be where you need to be, where the relevant not irrelevant people are. The ones who want to know  what you  do, the ones who will be loyal and share information about you  with their contacts. Being everywhere is what keeps  people thinking they are important in  a 1980’s way. A sociable internet means you can be more specific and effective with your  time and money and you can and are allowed  to have FUN….

    • says

       @Mark Longbottom EXACTLY! Truer words never spoken, mate, and the next post on here is going to delve a little more into your point on those that are loyal and share, and where that falls in the sales funnel.
      Cheers, mate!

  13. says

    Man, am I wrong if I say that usually those who tell you that you must be everywhere are usually those selling services which help you to be everywhere? Or at least are affiliate to someone who does?
    Also is not only be where you have to be but be where you can be according to the time you have. Unless someone has a third party service to be everywhere he has to do it on his own and beside burning out sooner or later he has to reduce the time he does something else and if you can’t take it from work it means family, friends and free recharging time. Not good for health. Another reason to stick to one or two social networks. And if he has more free time he can read some blogs and comment there which surely, as regards personal knowledge, are billions times better than any social network. Imho. :)
    Great post Danny. But next time I’d like to read something on “tweet every hour” rule. 😀

    • says

       @Andrea T. H. W. There’s a “big name” in social media that rails against automation wherever he can. His mantra? if you’re not going to be there to answer, don’t bother. Bull.
      There’s no way in hell most people and business owners can be on 24/7, yet why should that stop them running promotions, or sales offers, or simply share great content?
      Some people… 😉

      • says

         @DannyBrown I agree if they don’t plaster your account tweeting every ten minutes about useless things, there is FB for that. ;D
        But if someone has something interesting to share then can tweet as needed. Which is what I usually do tweeting and fbooking comments, but only because I only read interesting blogs. ;D

  14. says

    Considering we on average spend less than 20 minutes a day on Social Media but on average watch over 4 hrs of TV and spend 4 hrs surfing the net/consuming entertainment my question to the Guru is why should businesses use social media. It isn’t scalable. You can only ‘connect’ with a small percent of your customers. And only a small percent want to connect with you. So why use a niche technology for marketing. For a brick and mortar often your street sign, location, storefront and customer service will blow away all marketing.
    So who is the guru gnu for you?

    • says

       @HowieSPM I see social media as the relationship to the sale. The hard work is done elsewhere – peer commenting, search, more peer commenting then purchase – but the icebreaker of which brand to deal with can be easier via social.
      As for my guru gnu? That’s be Rolf Harris. Or @Leon . :)

      • Leon says

         @DannyBrown  @HowieSPM Youse blokes aren’t gunna believe this; my wife once repaired Rolf Harris’ trousers! And there was a time many years ago when I was constantly mistaken for Rolf at airports and various functions. Of course, I’m younger…….! And Poorer.
        Best Wishes

  15. says

    OFGS. I want to punch people in the face when they give this kind of advice. They clearly are not small business owners if they’re saying “be everywhere.” Yes, you can research and find out where your customers and prospects are participating. Find the ONE channel they hang out the most and start there. Crap. Now I feel like I have to blog about this.

  16. Rhysorwin says

    Since I found out you were Scottish I read everything you write in a Scottish accent, it makes it even more entertaining. But anyway, yeah let’s all be everywhere and have no time to build relationships and make connections oh and to boot, let’s post the same content on all platforms so people who follow us on multiple networks get to see everything more than once. Great idea, solid strategy.

    • says

       @Rhysorwin Ah, but if yer no’ oan aw th’ networks then ye cannae be takin’ yersel seriously enough, ye ken? Then wha’ huv ye t’blame but yersel? Ye ken?

  17. says

    How ironic is this … I just said this same thing on Tuesday to the attendees of my social media class! I was giving an example of why you don’t need to buy every type of media out there if your customers aren’t watching that show or listening to that station. And then I said, ‘and you don’t have to be on EVERY social media program just because its out there.’ I swear, I’ve never seen so many looks of relief on so many faces in one room. One of them even mouthed the words to me ‘thank God’ and then relaxed his whole body.
    And now I get to say the dorky thing we marketing folks say — this is SO spot on! It is about the strategy and finding out where your customers hang out. Over the past few months, I’ve been blogging about my research about the top target audiences and where they log on and how they use social networks. Amazing stuff when we see the same lifestyle and behavior differences in social media as we do with traditional media.

    • says

       @penneyfox It’s the fear factor – unscrupulous con artists trying to weasel out as much money as they can before they’re found out for the fakes they are. Sadly, they prey on those that need the help the most, and leave them floundering while they move on to their next victims.
      Thankfully there are folks like you out there keeping it real, miss – cheers!

  18. says

    Danny, we are in totally agreement. A key component of a proposed social media strategy is the WHERE.  You can’t be all things to all people, after all.  BUT, a point to consider – as a communications agency, we aim to be in as many places as we can be so that 1) we understand the options for our clients and 2) we’re scoping new business opps!

    • says

       @SuzanneMannion That’s a fair point, Suzanne – agencies and advisors definitely need to check out the space to make sure they help with the right strategy too (and spot future trends!). Thanks for the addition.