Tips To Avoid Wasting Time In Social Media
Any time spent forging into the world of social media is best served by following a path. While tramping blindly through the social media forest might at least qualify you as a member of the community, your chances of reaching any sort of qualitative destination are slim. Without a clear plan, or map to refer back to, you run the risk of wasting a lot of effort.
Knowing how precious time is for any professional, the thought of squandering any of it makes that potential loss even more painful. In fact, knowing how much time to devote, and how best to spend that time, are primary concerns on the minds of business people I speak with in my consulting practice. No one wants to waste effort on something clearly so important.
There is no set prescription regarding a number of minutes per day or week you should spend in the social media space. But, as you do create time for this adventure, here are a few cornerstones on which to build the foundation of your experience.
One Step At A Time – Don’t try to do everything all at once. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, video – all of these can be worthwhile endeavors. But it is a sure-fire path to system overload if you attempt to push yourself into everything all at once. Consider your immediate marketing goals (and perhaps your mid- and long-term goals as well), and choose as few roads in as possible. Even if you decide only to do one thing for now, that’s better than attempting to make a splash into everything.
Leverage Content – Directly behind finding time to venture into social media, the creation of content (so much content!) is the next burning concern as one makes their way into the web 2.0 world. Consider that you might already have volumes of inspirational and repurpose-able content right at your feet. White papers? Case Studies? Presentation decks? Marketing research? Product and service descriptions? All of these can become the seeds of future blog posts and conversation points in micro-blogging and discussions online.
Plus, there’s no foul in referencing (linking back to) something you’ve read online while offering your informed opinion on the subject. Not every scrap of content you produce needs to be the game-changing, paradigm shift-inspiring Holy Grail of information that’s going to change your industry forever. Leveraging the content available to you can ease the pressure of having to fill a lot of empty white virtual paper.
Be Present Where Your Audience Gets Its Information – “If a tree falls in a forest…” Don’t make the mistake of delivering compelling and useful content in a venue where your audience hasn’t shown up. Blasting your messages across Facebook when your professional client base might be hanging out over on LinkIn is a wasteful mistake. Invest a bit of front end time to explore where your audience is before you pick the platforms you are going to exploit.
Control Message – In that moment of breath before you plow ahead with your social media “voice,” give some consideration to your messaging strategy. Is it your goal to be informational, instructive, promotional? Without considering the overarching plan to your message, it could become a bit fractured and disjointed. You’ll also find that planning a messaging strategy can help identify the sort of content you will come to produce. It will act as a guiding light.
Stay Open To Dialogue – At the end of the day, everything you do in social media is about facilitating an interaction with your audience. For business, social media is a two-way street of Communitising – marketing through communication. Be ready for people to interact with the content you produce (it’s a great measure of your success in the space), and be sure to respond back.
These are a few beacons that can help pave your way into successful social media marketing. Remember some of the core reasons you should be using social media in the first place: to listen, learn, respond, influence, and collaborate. Using these principles to evaluate your next step can insure that you are heading in the right direction.