Be wary of business advice that suggests you should focus your time as a brand on one social media platform.
It’s conventional wisdom. It sounds good. “Be great at one instead of spreading yourself out too thin.” It assumes the only options are dominating at one thing or creating lots of bad content.
It’s a lot like the Quality vs. Quantity debate. It’s framed as either doing fewer of something really well or creating lots of garbage. These aren’t your only options.
This often comes from old school marketers who found success that way. I was one of them. I understand it. I also understand the underlying fear and motivation for maintaining that focus.
I am your cautionary tale. I have the scars to prove it.
You don’t have to be everywhere. That’s not realistic. But you need to diversify your social media presence as much as you can.
Let me explain…
I started my business in 2011. I focused my time on my Facebook page, this website, and my email list.
Things took off surprisingly quickly considering I had very little idea what I was doing. From the years of 2013 to 2017, my business reached levels I never could have dreamed of.
During that time, I dabbled in YouTube. I started a podcast but would eventually lose focus. I never touched my Instagram account except as an ad A placement is a location where your ad is shown. Examples include Facebook's mobile Feed, Messenger, Instagram feed, Audience Network, right-hand column, and more. More. I only used Twitter to share links I read. And I avoided LinkedIn.
When they emerged, I had no interest in SnapChat, TikTok, or any of the other up-and-coming apps. I had my primary focus.
This worked just fine during those years. But it wouldn’t last forever.
As we all know, organic impact with Facebook would plummet. This wasn’t a quick, obvious change. I wouldn’t notice it immediately. But over time, I went from getting thousands of website referrals from a single post to double digits.
Facebook ads got more expensive. In the early days, I thrived on micro-targeting and top-of-the-funnel The campaign is the foundation of your Facebook ad. This is where you'll set an advertising objective, which defines what you want your ad to achieve. More to drive traffic. That eventually wouldn’t be nearly as cost effective.
Likely a combination of these two things and other factors, my Google search referrals fell from 14,000 per day at its peak to about 1,400. While many businesses would love to have 1,400 daily search referrals, it was a far cry from where I was.
For a few years, I was in denial that any of this mattered. I still had a huge email list. I still had my customers. My business may have plateaued, but I wasn’t in any kind of trouble.
So, I resisted change. I kept doing the things I was doing. My Facebook page. My website. My email list.
But slowly and silently, things got progressively worse.
Then 2020 happened, and that was not good for my business. It was all downhill from there.
Still, I felt like I could turn it around by doing more of the things I had always done. Just create more courses. Offer some deals. Write more blog posts.
It was unsustainable. I reached a point of no return. Something had to change.
I tried to ignore it for years. I didn’t need to be everywhere. I had nearly 200,000 followers on Facebook, after all. Why did I need to be anywhere else?
But at this point, it was blatantly obvious: I was getting left behind.
The vast majority of people who were seeing my Facebook posts, opening my emails, and visiting my website between those peak years moved on to something else. I wrongly assumed that if I kept doing what I always did that they’d stay with me — even while the world changed around us.
I started doing things that were hard. I got going on LinkedIn. Most importantly, I created my first TikTok video on September 30, 2022.
It was painful. But I knew that I had no choice. I could no longer keep doing the comfortable things. I had to be uncomfortable to get out of this hole.
Those TikTok videos finally led me into Instagram. Back to YouTube. And finally, fully embracing Threads.
This was a painful lesson, but it’s so incredibly clear now. And what’s hardest is that so many others don’t understand this. If I had made a conscious effort to build a meaningful presence elsewhere, this was preventable. If I had been an early adopter when new platforms emerged, I may not be in this position.
Many who push back on diversifying your social media presence are old school marketers like me. I understand it. But I worry about them because I think I may understand where that comes from.
First, there’s the matter of getting to where we are with a method that we used years ago. It’s tried and true. We assume this will keep working. There’s no guarantee it will.
Second, I can tell you the biggest thing that held me back from diversifying my presence and may be the same for others: Fear.
Fear of something new. Fear of the unknown. Fear of starting over and of looking ridiculous.
All of these things kept me from spending time on other platforms. Especially anything related to short-form video.
I know exactly what’s going through the heads of some marketers now who are resisting Threads because I was them. They see Threads as the “shiny object.” They don’t think we need to be there.
And deep down, they want it to fail. They don’t want to regret not joining that next platform. I’m certain of this because I was thinking the same thing.
This isn’t about “building your house on rented land.” It’s all rented land. It’s about diversifying that rented land as much as possible.
Algorithms change and will impact your distribution. Twitter turns to X. People change how they consume content. What they care about evolves.
We need to be ready for this. One way we can be ready is by being in multiple places. Focusing on one is an enormous risk.
When it comes to “rented land,” we often hear that it’s all about focusing on that one platform and driving people to the things we own. But even these things aren’t safe.
Privacy laws have changed. How people consume content has changed. Videos and short-form content are preferred to long-form blogs now. Email open rates and how people receive messages are changing.
None of this is guaranteed to last. You need to be prepared.
The Shiny Object
We often hear that you shouldn’t chase the shiny object. I’m telling you to embrace it: Chase that shiny object!
it doesn’t mean you should live a life of constant distraction. But be curious. Jump into AI. Create a Threads account. Keep trying new things.
When you diversify your presence, you may be surprised by what does well and where. You will also diversify your knowledge and make yourself more useful and well-rounded — and timeless.
A platform may not be your primary home now, but things change. How people consume content changes. Algorithms change.
That diversification gives you the ability to sustain losses and pivot in the future. It makes that pivot much, much easier. When something happens that drastically alters your impact on a platform (and it will happen), you’ll be glad that you did this.
I didn’t do this before. But I’m glad I am now.
Better late than never.
Are you diversifying your social media presence? What do you think?
Let me know in the comments below!