Social media can be a major asset - but it can also be a waste of our time.
I talk with small-to-midsize businesses and organizations every week, and the number one thing I hear from them about why they're admittedly not doing enough on social media is because they just don't have the time.
So they upload a few posts here and there, or they link their Facebook page to their Twitter account - which means whatever they post on Facebook automatically gets tweeted as well (BIG no-no, by the way - more on that below). Regardless, it's all driven by the herd mentality: "Well, everyone else is using social media, so I guess I should too."
But really, if we don't have a well-thought out plan of social media goals and objectives and benchmarks and metrics - which of course takes time - we're better off putting our energy elsewhere. We plan our payroll, our budget, our inventory, our meetings ... what makes social media (which is just a fancy term for branding, customer service, word-of-mouth marketing, advertising and PR) any different?
Here are three ways to stop wasting your time on social media:
- You don't need to be on every social media platform. You're better off being awesome on one of them, instead of being average (or worse) on a few. Get in the routine of producing epic content and growing your audience on, let's say, Facebook - and then add another platform once you've mastered the first one. Plus, by spreading yourself too thin on social media, you could end up hurting your brand - even with loyal customers - by coming off as unengaging, annoying or socially incompetent.
- Don't link your accounts (like Facebook > Twitter or Instagram > Twitter). You wouldn't invite your book club to your workout group, or your family to girls-night-out - the same applies to your online communities. People use different platforms for different reasons, so either (a) give your followers the content they want on each platform (different content for each platform = more time) or (b) only use the platforms on which you can consistently churn out awesomeness with each piece of content.
- You don't need to tweet to be on Twitter. Don't take it from me - take it from the CEO of Twitter himself. "Irrespective of whether you want to tweet, everyone can get value out of Twitter right away," he recently said. For businesses and organizations, that value is (a) engaging your customers or would-be customers by responding to people who tweet about your business or organization; (b) engaging people who are tweeting about your industry or field; and (c) finding content to re-post on your social media. (Just a quick tip on content curation: Before re-posting, ask yourself: Is this something I would share with a friend? If the answer is no, move on.)