The Social Media Marketer’s Burden: On Leaving Platforms
Every once in a while, someone I know professionally grandly announces that he or she is leaving a social media platform because it does not fit their needs. For some reason, that always bothers me. Why would someone in social media marketing – why would I – abandon a popular social platform, let alone announce that fact?
First, why should we question that? How each of us uses social media is personal. In the case of the post I saw today from Geoff Livingston, he decided to stop using Facebook to market himself because he felt it was, for him, a personal platform that should remain just that. I can respect that, I suppose, but I can’t see myself abandoning any platform I use with clients. I also am not trying to pick on Geoff (he writes, as he picks on Geoff), as I know there is more to the post than saying “Hey, a social marketer quit Facebook, that’s stupid.”
It did make me think, though – why not question it? By this measure I should abandon Google Plus because I get little to no traction there, or stop using LinkedIn because I represent a competitor (true, I refrain from talking about them publicly with this notable exception, but it is still part of our professional tool set); but I do neither.
Why? Here are the factors I consider as a social media professional using social media:
- My Personal Use of Social Platforms is Experimental: Even if I felt Facebook were irrelevant in most cases, I would still feel the need to keep a presence there, to know what makes it tick in case it works for someone. By that same token, we keep accounts on more obscure platforms and tools, to find things that work, or even to save a space – and know how to use it – in the event it becomes big. I can’t fathom leaving something behind unless it is truly dead (just don’t get caught being the one pronouncing something “dead”).
- Shiny Object Syndrome Turns Us All Into Dopes: Having just got through saying we should be on everything as communications professionals, we should also be wary of chasing shiny objects – and yes, I know saying that is old hat at this point, so stow it. That goes two ways: the first is not getting caught pronouncing something is big before it is just to declare yourself innovative (hello, Google Plus); the second is not dumping perfectly good tools chasing the new. I recall people declaring that LinkedIn- oops, there I go again – was dead and were abandoning it for Facebook. there is some tattered symmetry in Geoff’s pulling back from Facebook for exactly the opposite reason.
- As Marketers, We Must Use the Tools: We are often judged by how we wield the tools ourselves. Would I expect a potential client to take me seriously if I declared self-hosted blogs to be dead because Tumblr is cool? No more than I would expect them to appreciate my shunning Tumblr because I think it is stupid (I don’t, by the way).
I appreciate that someone like Geoff has already shown an ability to use Facebook and will likely do so for clients. I also recognize that there are no (none, zero) absolutes in what I say. But for me, I’m not going to hop platforms in opposition to the logic of my work any more than I would hop lines at the supermarket because I think the next one is going faster (oh wait, I do that – see? No absolutes).