this article first appeared on Entrepreneur.com
When you first begin your journey as an online entrepreneur, you are quickly introduced to a number of experts, gurus and even a few ninjas. All of them offering actionable advice for those trying to succeed in their quest of pursuing the work they love.
You find yourself quickly soaking up all you can from the multitude of podcasts, blogs, and free eBooks — listening and reading voraciously as your thoughts dance with possibility.
But then you come across two very powerful, yet dangerous, words.
These two words form the basis of much of the guru teachings and remain one of the most repeated strategies recommended for online entrepreneurs today.
This simple mantra means if you want to build your audience, and truly make an impact in the world, you have to literally be everywhere.
You should have a blog, launch a podcast, self-publish eBooks, create a course, guest post, create YouTube videos, and of course, be omnipresent on as many social media platforms as possible, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat…you get the idea.
While the two words, “be everywhere”, seem innocent enough, they may actually wreak havoc on your blossoming online business.
Here are three ways the Be Everywhere strategy actually leads you nowhere.
As a participant in the online business space, you have no doubt witnessed the rise (and fall) of various social media platforms and tools.
Each of these promises a new way to accomplish common tasks or mechanisms to ultimately grow your audience. You believe as part of the Be Everywhere strategy that you need to not only explore each of these platforms but you actually need to be an influencer on each.
You quickly get caught up in a game of whack-a-mole as each month seems to bring a new platform or player.
You jumped on the Vine bandwagon because simply everyone else was.
You heard you needed to start a podcast, so you did.
You heard about blab.im and figured that is where you needed to take your message.
You see everyone with a Snapchat image as their Facebook profile pic and you head over to Snapchat to join the herd.
Just as you start to exhale and absorb your fragile success, you see a status message from someone on Facebook that says, “Hey, are you on Anchor yet? Let’s connect.”
Being everywhere literally takes you down so many paths that you often find yourself dazed and confused.
Each platform requires a learning curve. Each requires time and effort to determine exactly how you can leverage it. Each requires you to start anew in audience building and content creation.
And here’s the real kicker. Each ultimately drives you away from doing the work that truly matters in growing your business.
Instead of dominating distinct channels, you are distracted and disillusioned with unknown opportunity. You are pulled in so many directions that you actually neglect the work that will drive your business forward.
I’m not advocating for burying your head in Facebook and never exploring new and exciting platforms. You just need to be realistic when it comes to thinking you can effectively leverage each and every platform that comes along.
Instead of immersing yourself with every bright shiny object, do some preliminary research and determine if the platform fits with your business’ goals and objectives. Determine which channels make the most sense for you and your brand and then dominate in a smaller more focused space.
Entrepreneurs are busy people. It’s true.Have you ever met a self-proclaimed entrepreneur who wasn’t bearing the burden of an ever-growing to-do list?
The maddening reality is with everything you have to get done, one thing stays consistent: time taunts you every step of the way.
It has never been more important than now to capitalize on the time you can actually find, and with that comes the need to prioritize. Your priority should be set on doing the work that moves you closer to accomplishing your goals in life and business.
Chasing the latest social media platform should be assigned a priority just like any other new task that pops up in front of you. Analyze the function and utility of the platform and then determine if it directly fits your business vision. Understand if it would align with your intended audience and then figure out if you have the personal bandwidth to even attempt to engage.
When you are everywhere, you are probably nowhere for a long period of time. As a result, you lack the ability to grow and foster real relationships with your audience.
Bouncing in and out of platforms all day, or even worse becoming overly reliant on automation, actually damages your online reputation. It dilutes your brand and results in audience confusion and frustration.
Your message becomes fragmented and your community no longer knows when or where to expect your participation.
It’s much better to be a valued participant in a few select online communities than to be a part-time purveyor of occasional interaction across all.
Find the platforms that not only fit with your message but also where your audience hangs out. Then fully embed yourself in that platform and embrace as one of your core tools for driving traffic back to your website.
Today’s hyper-competitive market demands you be more than a one-trick pony. However, trying to master all will result in utilizing none to your advantage. Take inventory of your current online platform, analyze which provides the most value to your business, then set the rest aside for occasional engagement. Only when you achieve a focused approach will you truly start to see the benefits of being anywhere.