I love chatting with people about social media. Usually, it happens over beers at a random local event that doesn’t even remotely relate to my career, but it always seems to come up. People always have questions since everyone seems to be tethered to social media in one form or another all of the time, both personally and professionally, and while we may use it constantly for pleasure, we can sometimes be totally baffled on how to be relevant on social media for business.

It doesn’t matter who you are, and what kind of business you run- whether you’re a part-time author, or a full-time mechanic running your local brick and mortar auto shop, social media can grow your business and help solve your customer service issues at scale.  Most people know they need to be on social media, and they feel the pressure, but they’re simply overwhelmed with how much there is to do, and how many different platforms there are- and honestly, there are a ton of platforms and way too much to do.

Truth be told, with Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Periscope, Snapchat, Youtube and more platforms created and retired by the season, it can easily become a fool’s errand to try and be everywhere all at once.  It’s a question I get all the time, “I don’t have time to keep up with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Foursquare, Yelp and the five other channels that have started trending since I refilled my beverage, do I really have to bother with all of it?”

Take refreshing swig of your coffee(or your adult beverage, it’s 5 o’clock somehwere) and a deep breath.  Luckily for small business owners and entrepreneurs, the answer is, no- you do not have to be everywhere all at once for your brand to “do” social media successfully. 

While some businesses feverishly hop on every bandwagon, and others opt out completely do to overwhelm, you do not have to fear missing out, you simply have to participate in social media with strategy and allocate your time with purpose.

We all live in the age of FOMO- the fear of missing out.  To those people who are constantly chasing the next best thing, and feel the need to take a picture of their quinoa salad and not only share it on Facebook, put it into a Vine, then Instagram it, and send a tweet to tag every involved brand, friend and hashtag anything remotely trending- let them.

You friend, do not need to be everywhere, you just need to be where it’ll be the most impactful, and mainly- where it will make the most sense for your audience.

Not every platform is created the same, neither is any audience the same.  A message that would do really well in your weekly email newsletter might fall flat on Facebook.  It’s simply not speaking the right language.

A photo that typically would be eyecatching on Twitter (which would help it stand out in a sea of text updates) might be off putting on Instagram, where visually perfect images reign supreme.  Also?  Just because it can be a video doesn’t mean it should be a video for YouTube.  Case in point, your television ad or 45 minute company update won’t translate to a YouTube segment that simply wants to be entertained.

So, how do you know where to put your existing content or where you should start making content?  How do you know where you should start building conversations and reaching customers?

Pick a few channels that make sense for you and your brand- but also can work with the existing resources you’ve allocated to marketing and advertising.  If you’re a visual brand with gorgeous products, or you have a designer that can create something visually tantalizing, you’d be better suited spending your resources on Instagram and Pinterest.

If your brand frequently updates with news, and you have staffers that are skilled at responding in real time to customer’s feedback and thoughts- Twitter could be a quick win.  Conversely, if your brand is seeking to connect with your audience on a more personal, conversational or educational way- experiment with YouTube videos.  If something isn’t working and your content is falling flat- you have two choices:  experiment with a new platform or invest more resources into making better content and strategizing with purpose- but simply, you have to start focusing on social media as a tool for your business, and it’s okay to start small.

Today, pick 1-2 social media channels your brand can focus on and really, rock with consistency.  Start there and stay consistent.

So- if you’re feeling overwhelmed with social media, take a deep breath.  You absolutely don’t have to be everywhere, and in fact, your brand shouldn’t be.  As your business model focuses on it’s core competencies (like selling products!), your social media strategy should focus on it’s strengths as well, and build on successes instead of trying to replicate that success on all platforms simply because we feel the pressure to “be everywhere.”

You and your brand cannot be everywhere, and luckily, it’s better for everyone when you aren’t.