IMG_1395

Most founders feel obligated to have active company accounts and content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and their own blog. The exact combination varies, but almost every company, including the ones I’ve been involved with, is on multiple platforms. And that, I’m learning, might be a mistake.

Social media: all that glitter’s not gold.

Social media isn’t usually the source of a company’s success. We only think it is because winners attract a disproportionate share of our attention. I haven’t seen much evidence of a strong relationship between profitability and a social media following: many profitable companies have sad, ignored Facebook pages.

Pick your battles.

As a startup founder you have better things to do than post content that will be largely ignored, so if you do have a social media presence, choose Twitter and one other platform, and do those well. Use Twitter to share timely updates about your company and its products. Twitter is absolutely awesome for quick customer support.

Founders should create content.

Some of the most effective company twitter accounts are managed by the CEO themselves, especially in the first few years of business. Good examples abound in @richardbranson@jeffweiner, and @marissamayer. Those accounts are more compelling and credible, even if the CEO sometimes comes unhinged (@realDonaldTrump). Don’t hand this valuable voice off to an intern or even a “social media expert.”

Pick a platform that comes naturally to you, the founder.

More, higher quality content is created when the founder creates content on a channel they feel comfortable using. Sometimes there’s a disconnect between the platforms your core users are on and platforms founders want to use. I suggest that it doesn’t matter. Good, relevant content will find its way onto the screens of interested people, regardless of the medium.

I need to follow my own advice.

Being a tiny company where much of the work is done by yours truly, Power 20 has never been great at social media. But that doesn’t stop us from trying. We have accounts on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram along with a frequently-updated blog. The Power 20 blog (along with this one), which I write, has been our most important channel. Blogging has landed Power 20 in the top 10 list in Product Hunt, some posts have made it to #1 on Hacker News, and I’ve found myself in the national spotlight more than once, however briefly, for my writings.

Instagram and Facebook have never worked for us at Power 20. Last month I hired a very bright person to boost customer engagement. She doubled our Instagram and Twitter following with frequent, smartly-tagged posts. But that same month our sales actually dropped. So did visits to our website. Certainly other factors were at play, but I believe the combination of less blogging and more Instagramming actually hurt sales.

 

Pin It
Share on Tumblr
  • Charles T Franklin

    As a social media marketing assistant, I’m always interested in case studies about social media and the company’s bottom line. I noticed in your post that you kept the Instagram account, but did not mention keeping the expert. Did you maintain Instagram with your own internal team or do you continue to use the social media expert?

  • http://arshadchowdhury.com/ Arshad Chowdhury

    Hi Charles,
    While she’s still working with Power 20, we have de-emphasized the social media role in favor of direct user engagement and further optimization in the app store. Let’s see how that plays out!

    Arshad

  • Charles T Franklin

    That’s the direction I’m starting to go as well. Social media is fine as a communication tool. If, however, all you are doing is communicating and not interacting, something isn’t working.

  • jamesoliverjr

    Interesting post. Thanks for sharing.