We all waste time, sometimes.
Latest Pew Research data shows that 76% of Americans who use Facebook visit the site daily.
And while wasting your time on social media as a general consumer isn't too bad - particularly when you're trying to avoid work or homework - wasting your time on social media as a business can be a huge problem.
We all know that social media marketing is becoming an increasingly important way to interact with customers in the engagement-rich era - after all:
- 2.8 billion people were using social media by the end of 2016
- 83% of Americans have a social media account
- 41% of Americans say it's important for their favorite brands to have a strong social media presence.
Unfortunately, just because you're making a start with social media doesn't necessarily mean that you're doing social media right. As with any marketing or business-boosting effort, wasted time on social media means wasted money, wasted opportunities for growth, and wasted potential.
In this post, we're going to take a look at how you're wasting your social media time - and what you can do to break these bad habits.
Time Waster #1: Joining Every Social Media Network
How many social media networks is your business currently active on?
Many companies make the mistake of thinking that if they want to be successful at social media marketing, they need to create an account on every platform - from Instagram, to Twitter, to Snapchat and Pinterest. However, making social accounts on all of these platforms also means that you need to devote time each day to maintain them in order for them to be effective. This can be a wasteful process if you're putting time into platforms your target market isn't interested in.
Don't just jump into every network head-first, assuming that you need to be everywhere to make an impact. A better approach is to target your outreach.
If you're wasting too much time on platforms which aren't producing results, narrow your focus. While only time and stringent testing will tell which social platforms give you the best results, there are a few golden rules and demographic stats that can get you started. For example:
- Facebook and Twitter are usually an effective tool for any kind of business. They're quick and easy to use, and ideal for interacting with customers on a more intimate level
- Instagram is better suited for visual companies, those in the industry of fashion, food, or lifestyle - and those with plenty of personality
- LinkedIn is ideal for business-to-business (B2B) selling. It's well-suited for job posting, company descriptions, and employee research
- Pinterest is well-suited to companies that offer rich, visual content on a regular basis.
If you're testing multiple platforms, use your Google Analytics data to help you pinpoint the ones which are driving the best results.
Simply go to Google Analytics, click on "Acquisition," then move through to "All Traffic," and "Channels." From there, you should be able to see which of your channels are sending the most traffic to your website.
Time Waster #2: You Forget to be Social
Surprise, surprise: If you want to make your social media strategy work, then you have to focus on being social.
Some companies think they can just sign up for a Facebook account and the traffic will just start rolling in, however, that line of thinking ignores what social media marketing is all about - being social.
Using social media as nothing more than a broadcasting platform through which you can share new blog posts and deals on your website means that you're missing out on a crucial opportunity to engage with your audience.
So, how can you make sure that you use your social media marketing time effectively by being social? The answer is simpler than you think - all you need to do is reach out to your customers:
- Creating conversations - asking questions is a fantastic way to draw people into a conversation with your brand. Ask questions that are relevant not only to your industry, but to the concerns of your target customers, and perhaps trending topics too!
- Getting involved in existing conversations - If you search for keywords that are relevant to your business, you're sure to find conversations that your business can get involved with. Stay on top of the most appealing topics in your industry at any given time to ensure that you're relevant and interesting.
- Respond - If your customers interact with you, interact back. While you might not be able to have a conversation with every person who speaks to you online - particularly as your business starts to grow - you will be able to offer feedback to important questions and comments, and prove that your social accounts are there for a reason.
- Offer customer service solutions - If people need help, let them know that they can reach you on social media. Many customers are beginning to appreciate the opportunity to share their concerns and ask questions through their favorite online channels, rather than having to call a company or send an email.
- Run competitions - Finally, social competitions can be a great way to interact with your audience, as everyone loves having the opportunity to win something. Social promotions incentivize active participation, and prompt valuable engagement.
Time Waster #3: You're Tracking the Wrong Metrics
Finally, no matter how much you convince yourself you're taking the right measures and doing the right things on social media, you're wasting your time if you can't prove that your actions are having a measurable impact.
After all, you want to know for sure that you're moving steadily towards success, right?
Knowing how to track and analyze the value of your social media strategies will give you the insight you need to make changes to your existing efforts, and build upon successes that come your way. If you're looking to generate leads and make sales through social media, there are plenty of metrics that really matter, but some of the most essential are: click through rate, social media shares, and bounce rate.
While metrics like views or likes are fantastic for boosting your self-esteem, they may not contribute significantly to the bigger picture of your marketing efforts. If you want to make money with social media, focus on the right metrics to ensure you're producing a good ROI.
- Click Through Rate gives you insight into how much your target audience is actually engaging with the content you post
- Bounce Rate helps you to see how many people who click on your content and engage with your website are actually reading what you have to say (though it's worth noting that bounce rate can be a fickle metric at certain times)
- Social media shares show that your content is interesting enough for your audience to share it with their own followers or network.
Don't Waste Your Social Media Time
Social media can be a powerful tool for your business, but you need to know how to make the most of it. Focus your social efforts in the right direction, and you'll avoid wasting time, money, and opportunities on marketing schemes that have no chance of delivering measurable results.