The adventures of an analog engineer and digital storyteller who studies emerging networks and their impact on the great game of business.
Jul 18, 2012

Many years ago, while helping my Grandmother tend to her vegetable garden, I noticed that she was removing random stems from her tomato plants.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I’m removing the suckers,” she said, explaining that if she allowed these little sprouts to grow, they’d eventually develop their own fruit. More fruit on each plant meant less nourishment for each tomato, and therefore, by removing the suckers, she hoped to get a higher quality yield.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about suckers, but in the form of new social media channels (Foursquare, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, etc…) that seem to be sprouting everywhere. Although each new channel offers new ways to reach audiences, each also comes with an additional cost–the fact that they all require fresh content. Content development takes time and effort, therefore, companies choosing to adopt new channels without assigning additional content-development resources are simply feeding suckers that draw nutrients away from their existing social media channels.

It all comes down to the gardener’s choice. If your company has decided to add more social media channels to its portfolio and it wants to maintain the same quality and quantity of its content, it has two choices:

  1. Increase the social media staffing resources to meet the new content demand
  2. Reduce the amount of social channels to match the social media team’s content development capacity.

But alas, that’s not what appears to be happening in corporate-land. Instead of adding resources or reducing the number of channels, companies appear to be blindly adding new channels. Without the capacity to create new content, I’ve noticed a trend. These companies are choosing to spread the same content evenly throughout all of the company’s social channels.

In 2010, I created the One Page Social Media Strategy Document (DOC download) to help with this dilemma. It identifies the reasons why each social media channel was adopted, its unique purpose, and how each stacks up against the rest of the channels. If you haven’t already, give it a try. Upper management will love you:-)

All social media channels need fresh content.  Content takes time and effort to produce. Therefore, if your company can’t invest the time and effort required to create compelling content for each adopted channel, then it’s time to do some pruning.

What social media channel are you willing to sacrifice so that others may prosper?

Photo Credit: Nick Dimmock