Social Media Marketing is a helpful tool, but you have to be careful not to waste time on unnecessary and even harmful actions in your quest to make the most of this new tool. Here are six big time-wasters to be aware of:
Subscribing to too many Blogs. I highly recommend that you subscribe to relevant blogs for your industry, but be picky, be realistic, and set an egg timer. The point is that you cannot be everywhere, you just can't. So choose your feeds wisely. Following blogs won't do you any good if you don't have time to read, understand, and respond when necessary. You may want to respond by sharing with others, you might join the conversation, you might need to adjust something you are doing based on this new information. So don't over do it, because if you read ALL the relevant blogs there will be no time to respond accordingly.
Reading every Tweet, Facebook post, or Status Update. This is similar to subscribing to too many blogs. You want to follow them because they have good stuff to say, but once you begin to follow a big crowd you can't catch every little thing. So don't feel guilty if you miss some posts. I highly recommend making Favorites Lists ("Groups" in Facebook) so that you can make sure to catch everything that the most relevant people have to say. **Disclaimer: if you have time to read a ton, read as much as you realistically have time for. I think listening (reading) is one of the most important parts of social media marketing, but don't kill your productivity by reading all day long.
Getting involved in too many different social media sites. Keep it to the sites that are most relevant to your immediate fan base. We use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, & a few Forums. We post to a few main forums that speak to our industry. We comment on blog articles that are relevant and we can add some value to. We write our own blog, and we are maintaining our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube profiles. There certainly are more options for us, but this is where we find our specific community interacts. Your industry may have a ton of forums but not a lot of bloggers. It is certainly industry specific. Don't be afraid to ask customers where they "hang-out", and don't be afraid to try something, give it the appropriate time to see if it works, and then make your exit if you find it does not work for your needs.
Checking your social media too often. Block out specific times of day where you spend 30 minutes or an hour, reading and replying on your social media pages. Don't let the urge to hop over and check it every hour pull you under. Then the day is over and all you have to show for it is your social media posts and by then you are running out of good original work and content to talk about anyway.
Following or Friending people who are not a part of your community. Do you automatically let anyone who asks you to be a friend, be a friend? Do you automatically follow any Twitter follower that follows you? This can be a humongous waste of time. Again, you have to be choosy. Don't let anyone who is not relevant to your business take any of your time or energy. There are many types of relevant people in this world; mentors, prospects, clients, industry experts, P.R. connections, local connections, you will have to make the final decision. The important thing here is to not let a bunch of spamming, get rich quick, time wasters get mixed into your community.
Posting repeat messages or setting up automated messages. I know this sounds ridiculous that these two things actually waste your time, but let me explain. If you set up automated status updates through ping or an rss feed you are wasting your time and everyone else's. No one wants to read automatic status updates. Everyone knows they are automated, especially if they are following several industry giants and see the same thing posted, verbatim, over and over. Those messages are not personal and will send your followers straight to their Unfollow buttons.
I have seen many companies on many occasions who have a slogan or an elevator pitch or a special claim to fame, use that message non-stop on their social media feeds. I have even witnessed updates like these containing the exact same typo they had in the previous version of it. I have also seen this status update posted multiple times in the same day! Talk about exasperating. Can you imagine in your twitter feed, over and over again all day "companyxyz: We're the home of the Award Winning Acme XYZ Thing-a-ma-jig!" Literally copied & pasted all day long? Not so good. #Unfollow
How do you keep from wasting valuable time while tackling your Social Media Marketing?