My opinion: Why marketing needs a dose of common sense
Marketing and communications are not rocket science. Nor should they be overly complicated. Sometimes the sheer variety of tools available out there and all the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that marketing is measured by, are overwhelming. Today it's LinkedIn adverts, tomorrow it's Messenger bots and the day after that it might be incorporating voice search into your marketing. It can feel like there's a new tool or platform to learn about every day and that if you don't jump on this particular bandwagon then your marketing strategy will fail and your business will do so too.
Stop. Breathe. Ultimately, all of these tools and platforms are just that, tools in your box to be used (and more importantly, not used), as appropriate. They can all be very helpful but only when they actually serve a purpose. Otherwise you will get drawn into wasting time and money on a marketing tactic that might look good on your reporting, but ultimately doesn't help you achieve your wider goals.
By all means, when something new comes up, find out about it, consider it, but feel empowered to dismiss it, if it's not going to help you reach your target audience more effectively and hit those business goals. Don't be intimidated by providers trying to sell the latest way to "increase leads by 1000x by doing this one crazy thing" or people telling you at networking events that "you must be on LinkedIn". They don't know your business and your customers like you do!
Know your audience inside out
Along with knowing your business goals, you absolutely need to know your target audience inside out. Once you know them, it becomes easy to decide where to put your time and effort. Is your target a 55-year old professional woman? Then she's probably not on Snapchat, unless it's to communicate with her 13-year old niece. On the other hand, she might be looking for recommendations for local services on Next Door app or in a neighborhood Facebook group. If you know your audience then deciding which activities are useful should be a series of logical steps, rather than a wild stab in the dark.
If you're new to building audience personas (basically a profile of your ideal customer), marketing automation platform HubSpot has written a comprehensive guide on How to create detailed buyer personas for your business, including why they matter, and a free template to help you build them out.
Try things, but stop if they're not working
When you're putting together your marketing strategy, weigh each activity carefully and make sure that they align with what you're trying to do more broadly. It's fine to try new things out, but it's also important to be prepared to abandon them if they're not working. Your time and money are finite resources and should be treated like the valuable commodities they are. If you're running an Instagram channel for your business (maybe because it's your favorite personal social media channel), but it's not helping you achieve anything, then don't be afraid to stop it.
Marketing can feel scary for small business owners whose expertise lies elsewhere, but it should make sense. If you don't understand why your agency or marketing support is doing something, then maybe they're not doing the right thing. They should be able to explain what they're doing, and why, in logical terms that make sense. If it's not common sense, then it's probably nonsense.