Don’t fall for channel FOMO

I wanted to dig into a concept I half-jokingly made up that I’m calling “channel FOMO.” What is channel FOMO, you might ask? It’s the feeling that you as a marketer or startup need to be present in every…single…channel…and especially in the emerging channels like TikTok. 

Now, I often talk about how startup marketers can sometimes get lazy and only focus on channels that they know work for them, and they don’t get outside of their comfort zone. If this is the case, you really do need to think about channel diversification unless you’ve got recent data proving that one channel or another just doesn’t work for you. Much of my Growth Course goes into detail about how doing the work to find your channels is critical.

And in general, you want as much channel diversification as you can get. If your entire paid acquisition strategy relies only on Facebook, you’ll eventually run into trouble. A good rule of thumb is that no channel should make up more than 75% of your total acquisition impact at scale. 

However, you simply do not need to be in every single channel.

And this is especially true if you don’t have a lot of depth yet on your team. Newer channels can be amazing. Snapchat and Pinterest right now are 2 of the best platforms to drive cheap and fairly high quality traffic. And they are much newer than Facebook or Google.

But then there are even newer platforms like TikTok. If you’re like me, you may be wondering what the advertising potential of the platform might be. But if you’re like me and are not engaging from a funny/entertaining way (not that I’m never funny or that I don’t TRY to be funny, it’s just that most of my attempts at humor are pretty lame), then a channel like TikTok may be hard for you and your brand. The voice really needs to match the brand, and the brand needs to match the personality. And if that doesn’t match up, then your efforts to fit in will look contrived.

The same holds true in other platforms, of course. But the younger the audience and the higher the entertainment factor needed within a channel, the harder it’ll be for most of us to drive truly engaging campaigns at scale on platforms like TikTok.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t try, but you absolutely should feel justified in pushing that feeling of Channel FOMO aside. 

On the entirely other end of the spectrum are brands who naturally can fit into the emerging ecosystem of TikTok (or Snapchat). These brands – perhaps D2C or consumer focused – if they appeal to a younger demographic and they have a natural ease with the entertainment aspect of the platform can do extremely well. And perhaps a channel like LinkedIn just won’t work as well for them.

The takeaway is that there is only so much you can do at any given time. Find the channels that work for you by testing your way to them, and then double down. Experiment with new channels. But don’t feel like every new channel qualifies for share of your mind and wallet. Choose wisely. 

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