It's easy to get caught up trying to keep up with all the advice in the social media press. I myself am guilty of this. So it's refreshing to read a different approach to using social media: Stop. You're probably doing too much with too few results.
This advice comes from David Spark of Spark Media Solutions. In his free e-book Hazardous To Your Social Media Health, David offers the message that you can't, and shouldn't, try to be everything to everyone on social media. By spreading yourself too thin, you exhaust yourself and you won't get the message across to potential customers anyway.
Hazardous lists 50 behaviors David (and many others) urged clients to adopt in the past but no longer recommended. I had the honor of contributing to this book myself. See, behavior #10 Posting Non-Relevant, Engagement-Baiting Questions.
People are doing too much and losing their messages in the process. In fact, if you are on social media, chances are you are dabbling here and there and not getting any real marketing success from it. In the book, David advises focusing on finding ways to help people find you and your expert services.
Blog About What You Know
I asked David if busy professionals like doctors and attorneys should even bother with social media. Yes, he said, but he didn't endorse one platform over another. Instead, he says, professional service providers should, above all else, blog. This is something many of you have heard from me and read on the pages of this blog before.
"I don't have time for this," you're thinking. But you do. Just do it right.
You probably have "thought pieces" laid out about your work. It might be on your hardcopy marketing pieces. Go back and revisit and update them. Record them in blog format, video, or podcast (David is particularly enthusiastic about podcasting). There is no need to repeat this over and over again-do it once. Then post it on your LinkedIn page (you do have one, right?) and a couple of other easy-to-use platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
"But what about fresh content? How will I get new topics?"
This is much easier than you might think. David pointed me to an excellent post from 2010, Blogging advice for people who have no time to blog for tips on coming up with fresh topics.
Be Choosy About Social Media
Stop using social media platforms that don't work for you, particularly if you're a B2B. I come across a lot of pieces that insist businesses must have a Facebook page. But David and I agree that Facebook is not currently set up for B2B success.
Most businesses, particularly B2Bs, should focus on email marketing. Just be sure that the people on your email list have agreed to let you contact them. For more information on this, David recommends Constant Contact as a great engagement marketing service that explains the anti-spam rules and how to get permission to send email blasts.
Don't Be Afraid To Try Something New
If you come across a new platform that sounds good, by all means give it a try. Be open to new approaches. Remember, podcasting and Twitter were once the latest and greatest. If it doesn't work for you, drop it.
Don't expect innovative approaches to necessarily have an ROI. The two are mutually exclusive, David says. While it's great to be the first mover, only a handful will get the instant results fashion designer Michael Kors had with the first-ever Facebook Instagram ad in October 2013. As thousands hissed, he gained 34,000 new followers.
Take a few minutes and read Hazardous To Your Social Media Health. In addition to yours truly, 56 influencers like Brian Solis, Michael Stelzner, Andrea Vahl and Robert Scoble also contributed their thinking to the book.