To Make An Impact, Social Media Needs Focus

Ten years ago, you couldn’t share photos or videos on Twitter. Facebook was dabbling in ads, but it wasn’t sophisticated. And Instagram wasn’t even around. Look at tweets from teams back in 2010 and it will give you a good glimpse into how different things were.

Teams, leagues and brands had little understanding of “why” these channels mattered to the business when they first started investing in them. It was a grand experiment that was extremely unsophisticated (reflecting the newness of the channels).

Is social media marketing, communications, ticketing, community, etc.? That was the question back then. Eventually, if you throw enough things at a wall, the hope is that something sticks. Social media dabbled in a little bit of everything because there wasn’t a defined purpose yet.

It’s no longer 2010, and social media is no longer a new kid at the table. The platforms support media of all forms. Consumers have endless options with where and what they consume. Ad platforms are sophisticated and actually play a part in driving revenue. Innovation and competition is everywhere for teams, leagues and brands.

As the world of social media has grown more sophisticated, there’s been a tendency to pile on to social teams. These channels offer more now, so why aren’t we doing more? We can produce more. We can service more. We can publish more. We can drive more engagement. We can hit more goals. More, more, more.

In the quest to do more, social media has become muddled. Instead of taking a step back and reflecting on what we’ve actually learned about these channels and their purpose the last 10+ years, we’ve kept piling on.

Just because social media can technically “service” across the entire business doesn’t mean it’s moving the needle across every touchpoint. We are no longer in the grand experiment of social media, and the idea that it should be everything to everyone is nonsense and has to stop.

These channels have grown up. We should understand the role that social and content plays in business. Instead of focusing on the meaningful work, though, we’ve turned social media into a dumping ground. We’ve added more clutter. We’ve burnt out teams. We’ve lost focus.

If we want social media to impact the business truly, we need to permit teams to focus. This starts with defining the things that matter:

What are our two to three goals?
Focus starts with defining how social media ladders back to the broader organization and business. Beyond vanity metrics, teams must understand how their work plays a role in the business. Set two to three clear and distinct goals for the channels that help drive meaningful business results.

How will we get there?
Defining the “how” helps guide the work that needs to get done. Instead of aimlessly clicking, posting and creating, the “how” gives a clear path for where to invest energy. It is crucial teams don’t get bogged down in a bunch of tactics. Define the why AND the how.

What will we say “no” to?
Part of focusing as a team means understanding that you can’t be everything to everyone. If we’re going to break the cycle of more, more, more then teams need to be empowered to focus. The goals should be the North Star for where the team will spend its energy.

When teams feel like they have to say yes to everything, they get caught doing a lot of “stuff” but not actually driving meaningful work forward. Teams should be empowered to say no to certain things. Not because they don’t want to do the work, but because it’s not part of the strategy and won’t drive meaningful results for the business.

What will it take to execute?
One of the most misunderstood aspects of working in social media is what it takes to execute and execute well. Behind every post is some level of concepting, creative thinking, copywriting & [often] production. It’s rarely as simple as just “making a post”. Every team needs to have the hard conversation on what it takes to execute and execute well.

Why do our fans care?
Just because you can technically put anything and everything on social media does not mean that is what your audience wants and why they follow you.

You’re lucky if your social content makes people pause. You’re even luckier if your social content makes people take action. You’re the luckiest if it helps build real affinity. On the crowded internet, none are easy. We have to understand why our audience cares and focus on the things that drive our business while also capturing fans’ attention.

These questions scratch the surface of what it takes to get to the core of actual, meaningful work. If we want social media to impact our businesses truly, though, we need focus. Imagine the work that could be done if we permitted ourselves to put our energy into what makes an impact.

Focus over daily churn, always.

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