Posted by: Bret Simmons | April 18, 2010

Is Your Business A Social Media Fox Or Hedgehog?

In his extremely popular book “Good To Great,” Jim Collins tells us that the 11 companies his research identified as having enduring greatness were all hedgehogs. “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing” (p. 90). The conclusion many still draw from this is that to be great, your company should only focus on what it can be really good at.

That sounds really good, but there is just one BIG problem. Because of flaws in the way his research was designed, Collins never proved anything he claimed, including the Hedgehog Concept. In fact, while the 11 companies Collins focused on were all hedgehogs, it is entirely possible that the average fox outperformed the average hedgehog. He did not offer that analysis, so we will never know.

It doesn’t matter. The real question is should your company be a social media hedgehog or a social media fox?

If you are a hedgehog, you will focus your efforts in one place because you believe that you can be really good on that platform. Do you have all of your eggs in the Facebook fan page basket, with no company blog and no presence on Twitter? If so, you’ve got a hedgehog strategy.

If you are a fox, you will experiment with several different social media platforms. Your den is most likely your own website, the hub of your inbound marketing efforts, but you forage on places like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Youtube. The only thing you are absolutely committed to is your den, but you are willing to hunt wherever you need to, even if that means giving up something familiar and learning something new from time to time.

The one sure thing about the efficacy of any single social media platform is that there is no sure thing. Do you really think Facebook is still going to be on top four years from now? I would not bet my social media engagement strategy on it.

Be a fox.

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