In 1906, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto first noticed that 20% of his pea pods typically contained 80% of the peas in his garden.
Shortly after, Pareto also noticed the distribution of wealth in his country was strikingly similar -- 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population -- and the Pareto principle was born.
Since then, the 80/20 has been applied to almost everything (from business to national health and safety). And it should also be applied to your own social media activities as well.
So here are 3 easy strategies you can use this week.
Strategy #1: Be Intentional From the Start
The most common mistake people make is not defining their social media goals before they begin.
Why are you on Twitter? What are you doing with your blog? And how are these activities going to support your professional goals?
Forget about the ROI. I'm talking about being able to define what success will look like.
Even today, if you asked most companies why they're using social media, they won't be able to give you a straight answer.
When you break it all down, there are only three acceptable answers:
- Increase brand awareness by growing your reach
- Build customer loyalty by increasing engagement and providing support
- Increase sales by getting more people to purchase, more frequently
So pick one, and then BE INTENTIONAL!
If you can figure out how your daily activities will support these three goals, then you'll already save yourself a lot of wasted effort.
And then cut your losses on the other stuff. Spend that time, energy and money somewhere else.
If you want to succeed in social media, then you need to do more of what people like, and less of what they don't. Pretty obvious, huh? But most people just post random updates that don't support their goals.
Instead, you could plan in advance and use Hootsuite's "bulk schedule" feature. It helps you create up to 350 messages across your networks and schedule them all to go out at once. And take the time to craft some compelling copywriting so you can use them over and over again.
For example, you can pre-load tweets into a .CSV file with a date & time, message and URL. So if you wanted to send out 2 updates per day for the next month (60 total), then it would take you roughly an hour to set it all up.
This is a great, simple way to keep your networks active and lively. Then you can simply Buffer the new stuff you're reading through-out your day.
And all you have to worry about then is checking in from time-to-time to engage and steer the conversation. Here's how you can do that...
Strategy #2: Chunk and Divide Your Time
There's almost never a reason to spend longer than 20 minutes on social networks at one time.
So instead of wasting hours with TweetDeck notifications going off every 5 minutes, break your day up and check-in and out of social media for 20 minutes, three times a day. You'll be more active throughout the day, and each time you check-in you'll have a purpose because you have no time to waste.
Social media provides you with a great opportunity to reach more people. But it will take over your life if you let it.
For example, you should create "special interest" lists on Twitter of of the people and companies you want to watch. These could be groups of journalists or bloggers that you want to include in a future social media promotion, or a list of companies that you want to reach out to. Lists will help you manage the conversation, and you can easily jump in (during your short 20 minutes) to follow what these important people are up to.
What if you don't like Twitter? What about your other networks? Then check out Contactually, which pulls in your contacts email and social data and helps you proactively stay-in-touch on a regular basis. You can create "buckets" of certain types of people, and then it will automatically remind you to follow up (as well as providing their contact history so you know where you left off).
These are simple tools that take care of the hard stuff. All you have to do is stay disciplined and do what they tell you.
Strategy #3: Work "Top Down", Not "Bottom Up"
There are two ways to build a large social network audience...
One way is to start from the bottom and try to build your presence organically. You start by tweeting to an empty room, try to engage the few followers you have, and participate in Twitter chats. This strategy takes perseverance and hours of effort. But it's pretty inefficient.
Here's what you should do instead.
Work from the top-down. Start using content marketing to get featured on larger media sites. Reach out to other bloggers and try to run a promotion for their audience. Interview influential people in your niche.
Think you're too small? Then look around and partner with peers or other up-and-comers. What's great about online marketing is that you don't need the biggest audience... you just need the right fit and you'll be able to convert well.
Another tactic that works well is to figure out what the partner needs (that you can supply). For example, partners typically looks for (1) exposure, (2) money, (3) expertise. If they're lacking in one of those areas, and you can supply it, then you have a better chance to succeed.
This is the new social media definition.
It's far more effective in the long run to build your brand (and traffic) first. Because when you're good enough, the social media audience will follow.