Is Your Social Network a Puppy or a Dog?

social media puppy

Jay Baer Blog PostThere’s nothing better than getting a new puppy. He’s so exciting and vibrant and interesting and funny. It’s fun to think about what he’ll be like when he grows up. Everywhere you go people ask you about him, and look at him, and want to hold him.

And then the puppy does grow up. And you have to feed him and wash him and brush him and clean up after him. When you go to the park people don’t dislike him necessarily, but they don’t gravitate toward him because he’s no longer a special little puppy, he’s a decidedly less special dog.

If you and your company have never met a social network you didn’t embrace, and your home page is positively festooned with icons signifying your social media Manifest Destiny, I can almost guarantee you bought a puppy and now find yourself with a dog. Is Pinterest your dog? Tumblr? Google Plus? Linkedin company page? Instagram?

The seemingly limitless potential of a new social network creates a strong gravitational pull, and we justify jumping aboard by telling ourselves this lie:

“We’re already active in all these other places, adding one more won’t be a big problem”

But it is a problem. Every puppy you buy takes time away from the care and attention you can provide to your existing pets. Two recommendations:

First, do not get involved in another social network unless you have a defined plan for long-term success, and are adding resources in parallel with your expanded footprint.

Second, pulling back your borders isn’t a crime. If you’re feeling stretched too thin, it’s probably because you are. Yet, with the possible exception of MySpace and Flickr, do we ever see companies abandoning social outposts? Almost never.

You’ll have greater overall success if you have the time and creative energy to be terrific in fewer outposts, than if you have to take care of a whole pack of dogs.

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