How to Overcome Shiny Object Syndrome on Social Media #smlondon

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There came a point when every business had to be on Facebook – not being on Facebook was not an option. This lead to all businesses and brands (great and small) chasing likes and making sure they put their offers on Facebook.

But now it’s 2016, we know that simply having a presence is not an option, brands and businesses have had to learn how to be communicators and how to engage people in a non-obtrusive way. We need to use each social network effectively to have any effect and to gain a good online reputation with our customers. This leads to two questions, which social media platforms should we be present and active on?

It’s very tempting to be on all social platforms at once because the more platforms you’re on, the more people you can reach and generate business from, right?

When choosing your platforms, you need to take into account a number of factors as well as understand each platform. You also need to remove personal experience as what you may enjoy in your personal life, might not work for your brand or business. The mindset that just because it is a social network, it’s online and that it’s new is a trap. It’s Shiny Object Syndrome.

The symptoms of this common affliction affecting business are wanting to be everywhere at once and ending up getting nowhere. It’s usually brought on by anxiety that as a business you’re going to be missing out (FOMO).

If you find yourself regularly asking yourself and your colleagues ‘What social networks should we be on?‘ you need to take a step back and consider what networks you can consistently be active on and produce relevant content for. Don’t run head first into a decision influenced by the syndrome, the platform needs to be right for you.

For example, back in 2013 I was working for an online car tyre e-commerce site and the boss’s wife was a fan of Pinterest. When he put Pinterest forward, having hired me to do their marketing, I explained that we didn’t have the resources to produce enough visual content (there was only 3 of us working in the ‘office’ side of the business at the time) and that I didn’t think taking photos of car tyres would bring the kind of results that he was hoping for. The response was, ‘What do you know?!‘.

He was blinded by Shiny Object Syndrome and, surprisingly, after sitting down and spending a few hours on Google he never mentioned Pinterest again.

There is nothing worse than having a presence on a social platform that’s abandoned or not done properly – this can often have a worse effect on customers than not having a presence at all. Focus where it matters. Spend your time wisely and strategically. Be intentional.

If you think you (or your boss) might be suffering from Social Media Shiny Object Syndrome, here are 5 questions and pieces of logic you need to bear in mind:

1) Likes and followers do not mean you have a captive, engaged audience:

Likes and followers are a vanity metric – they look good on paper but when it comes to the nitty gritty of it, they mean nothing. It’s also easier to grow an audience than to keep them engaged for a length of time.

RELATED: Why Twitter Followers Matter for Your Business

2) Set realistic goals & be data driven:

You want to increase the number of leads coming from your Facebook page to 25 a month – but right now, you’re only generating 4. You need to be realistic about your growth potential and the goals that you set, only then can you build strategies around them that are realistic.

You need to use Google Analytics and your social’s analytics platform to make data driven decisions and not pluck numbers out of fresh air.

3) What works for other people, might not work for you:

Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn are often dubbed “the big four” and are the go to for an initial presence, but if you’re not B2B and you don’t have any B2B ambition, LinkedIn isn’t for you. Google+ is also, well…is it phasing out? Will it be around forever? Who knows.

If you struggle to produce good photography then Instagram isn’t for you, likewise if your industry isn’t visually appealing maybe steer clear of Pinterest.

4) Be unique on each platform – don’t just post the same message across them all:

(With the exception of special offers and even then, make sure the advert image used is optimised (correct size etc) for each platform).

This rule for many could be the one that prevents them from branching out onto other platforms.

In an ideal world you want your Facebook fans to follow your brand on Twitter, so you need to incentivise them by giving them reason to – and sharing the same message across all them does the opposite to this. It’s not a massively time-consuming task but it shows care, attentiveness and consideration for your audience niches. It also shows your understanding of each platform’s etiquette – you need to create unique perspectives on what you share.

5) If something works, don’t change it:

If Facebook is too mainstream for you but it’s working, and you’re getting engagement – then why change it and leave? You should always look to the data and if the numbers say it’s working and you’re reaching your goals.

Rather than look to leave a platform if you feel you need a change, first consider shifting your perspective and look to utilise your efforts in a different way.

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Dan Taylor

Account Manager at
Dan is a Technical SEO Consultant & Account Manager @ in Leeds. He enjoys all things digital, Hull City and gin.
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Dan Taylor

Dan is a Technical SEO Consultant & Account Manager @ in Leeds. He enjoys all things digital, Hull City and gin.