In a recent article by Darren Rowse at Problogger, he talked about how bloggers fall into that same death trap of comparing themselves to other bloggers in their industry and then become (figuratively) paralyzed from it. And as I mentioned in my comment on Darren’s blog post, you can basically apply this analogy to any job and any business. When we focus so much on the competition, we lose focus on what we’re doing and become stressed out over stupid stuff that doesn’t really matter.
Recently as I was writing up the syllabus for a social media strategy class I’m teaching this fall, it occurred to me that this correlation of the paralyzed blogger is not that different from the one thing that paralyzes people when defining their social media strategy — focusing on what everyone else is doing.
As part of defining your social media strategy, you absolutely need to do your due diligence and research the competition. But you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing or what your competitors are doing. In fact, you want to set yourself apart from them. You want to be a little bit different. Being unique is what will make you and your product/service top of mind, or as Seth Godin likes to say, “memorable.”
When you sit down to formulate your social media strategy, ask yourself the following:
- What do I or my company have to offer people? Does it add value?
- What makes my company better than company x who offers the same thing?
- What social networks am I most comfortable on? And are my constituents hanging out there?
If you don’t have something unique to offer that adds value and/or solves a problem for people, then why shouldn’t they go to company x? But if you do, then you need to let them know. But don’t waste your time promoting your content on the social networks that you don’t like, because it will show in your posts. It’ll be like standing in line at the grocery with a box of tampons and a priest behind you – awkward.
For example: If you’ve done your research and believe your constituents are on both Facebook and Twitter and you don’t like Twitter or don’t have the time for it, then don’t waste your energy on Twitter, at first. Instead, focus your energy on Facebook, where you’re more comfortable. Do one thing and do it well. Then add to it. Think of it like a workout. You don’t just go out and run a half marathon on your first jog. You build up to that over time. And over time, you feel satisfaction, you start to see results. That’s the same with social media. It takes time. No one is an overnight sensation. Those people are called outliers and Malcolm Gladwell wrote a really good book on Outliers if you’re interested, you can download it for free.