You don’t have to be everywhere online

You don’t have to be everywhere online

Guest Blog by Gus Bhandal | Aug 2023

Digital marketing is huge, and it is ever growing.

Since the early 2000s, the development of the online world has been rapid.  It started as a way to find information and to connect to each other, and today it is an integral part of every aspect of our lives.

As organisations – charities, trusts, and businesses – we have so many different digital marketing channels to share our work and promote what we do.  The biggest issues are knowing what channels to use, and what content to put on them.

This blog challenges two common misconceptions.  Firstly, we do NOT need to be on every channel; and secondly, we do NOT need to create a huge variety of content.


It all starts with them

The primary focus – the nucleus of your marketing – should be your audience.  In particular, your ideal client.

As a charity, you will have an ideal client in mind. This is where demographics are important – your ideal client would be someone in a particular location, with a particular socio-economic status, or a particular age. For some charities, you may go deeper into gender, age, or marital status.

I used to use Terry’s Chocolate Oranges to demonstrate how to split your audience, in terms of segmentation – it’s all about having a range of ideal clients, but ultimately all with the same goal – a goal that aligns with your organisation’s vision.

The important thing is to create an ‘ideal client persona’ for each one of your services. For example, if you run charity events, the preferred attendees may be different to, say, those who you would want as ambassadors for the brand (for example, a stakeholder to sit on the board).  But, of course, it is good to have some crossover.

So, think about the services you offer, and create an ideal client persona for each one – and go as deep as you like.


Laying the foundations

Every organisation should start with having a ‘Google Business Profile’.  It is easy to set a profile up (you can literally Google it!).

The purpose of the profile is to have all your details in one place, for anyone searching online for you.  You can add your contact details, location, a brief synopsis of the organisation, and some images.

Should you wish to, you can also treat this like a social media channel, in terms of adding more content over time.


Where is your audience?

Once you have created your ideal client personas, you can then choose your channels on which to engage with them.

A lot of organisations fall into the trap of using every platform – whether it be Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram – and then follow the ‘shiny new toys’ like TikTok or Threads.  One of the issues is that, without a dedicated social media team, you end up diluting your messages across a variety of channels.

Ultimately, this gives your audience ‘choice paralysis’.  They know where to find you (because you’re on every channel) but they don’t know if that particular channel is where you do your best work.

Even worse, they don’t know if you are talking to them – i.e., do they even fit the criteria of your ideal client persona?  If not, they aren’t paying attention and your content will be missed.


The curse of choice

At the time of writing, there are three big players in the social media world – Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.  Arguably, TikTok can be classed as a big player in terms of how many people have downloaded the app; whereas Twitter seems to be falling down the rankings.

Beyond these, we have Threads, BeReal, Clubhouse, T2, Spill, Post, Mastodon, Reddit, Parler, Tribel, and so many more (personally I just counted 28 social media apps on my phone, although admittedly this is my day job – to learn and teach social media).

The advice is always to choose the big players first.  Sure, you could be early adopters on the newer channels, but the main social media channels are the biggest for a reason – they have large, engaged audiences.

For example, Twitter has a huge number of members – but they aren’t engaged. The number of daily active users is dwindling. Conversely, TikTok user numbers are huge, but whether the ‘viewers’ are your ideal clients is another matter.

Therefore, you need to find the sweet spot of an engaged audience which fit your ideal client criteria.  For the majority of organisations, this sweet spot is still dominated by the three powerhouses of Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

The key point is this: you do NOT need to be on every channel – you just need to be where you have the highest chance of reaching your ideal client. Remember, each of these channels might reach a different type of client so content should be tailored with this in mind.


The lifecycle of content

Beyond social media, you have your website (which should be connected to Google Analytics so you can see where traffic is coming from); perhaps an email marketing tool so you can contact people who have subscribed and opted in to receive content; and another medium such as a regular blog.

In addition to all of your organic marketing, you could develop a paid strategy – i.e., Facebook Ads, Pay Per Click, etc.

Having multiple channels will allow you to repurpose content and extend the lifecycle of your outputs.  However, once again, please do not try to be everywhere – think about the nuances of the channels you want to use.


The nuances of content

Once you have decided on your ideal clients and analysed what channels they use, you then have to think about the types of content you want to create.

For example, Instagram is image based, TikTok is all about short videos, and LinkedIn is about long-form text content.

The main advice here is that not every type of content works on every channel, so to really make the most of your content, you should adapt it to each platform.

For example, a blog post could be a LinkedIn article; and that article could be an Instagram post if you add an image; or you could record a video about the blog and share that on Instagram Reels or TikTok; and if you make a long video about the blog, you can put that on YouTube (which ultimately adds it to Google, seeing as Google owns YouTube).


Be congruent, wherever you are

So, just remember, you don’t have to be everywhere online.  Think about who your ideal clients are, and where they would hang out (online), and then create content that they want to consume.  You have to lay the foundations to be found, but then create compelling content that speaks directly to your ideal audience.

About our Guest Blogger

This blog is written by Gus Bhandal. He has over 25 years of marketing experience, gained at some of the world’s largest organisations, and also has loads of letters after his name thanks to his extensive marketing education. Gus is the founder of The M Guru (the M stands for marketing) – a digital marketing agency helping organisations with social media training and marketing strategies. In 2023, he was also named in a list of the Top 100 Marketing Trailblazers, as well as being number 22 in the Top 30 Marketing Inspiration list alongside world-renowned marketers like Rory Sutherland, Ann Handley, Mark Schaefer, and Seth Godin. To find out more about Gus, simply Google ‘@MGuruUK’ and connect to him on your preferred channels.

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