Many of my social media friends and clients have been expressing how stressed out and overwhelmed the sheer number of social media platforms being launched have made them feel. I began hearing of this overwhelm when we learned of the addition of Quara and Empire Avenue. However, when Goggle+ was launched, it was as if one loud exasperated sigh was heard around the world. Another social media “must” platform, another thing to add to our “must do” list. How do we know which sites to monitor and engage on? How do we manage it all?
Lets get clear! Social Media has given us the ability to form connections that we otherwise would not have made and we are now able to take word of mouth from Main Street to the global level. Such global leverage and brand exposure is simply priceless. Having choices is truly an opportunity we should embrace, not fear. We must only be sure that we have the clarity needed, so that our choices are made well. Once you are clear, you can easily devise a plan that will benefit you and your business without throwing your hands up in overwhelm. Let’s start with the basics needed to gain this clarity…
Know Your Objective
What is your objective? Are you operating within social media as a form of networking? If so, what are your goals? Are you hoping to learn, increase traffic to your website, increase brand exposure, or market your services? If you don’t know what your objectives are, then you will never meet them. If you don’t map out your path, you will be wondering aimlessly on social media with no productivity or success at all.
Plan Your Social Schedule
Think of social media as many events occurring online. When you have an objective, it is easy to determine which event, you would like attend. Determine where your audience is while keeping your objectives in mind. For example, many of my private coaching clients find me on Facebook. My audience there is primarily women who are looking for direction and personal growth. On the other hand, my private business- coaching clients often funnel in via Twitter, while my speaking engagements, corporate clients and joint partnerships typically generate from LinkedIn exposure. So, my social media schedule typically rotates within these platforms, as my objective is to meet the needs of my audience and convert my efforts to an increase in business. If time allows, I will venture to other platforms to simply engage, assess and educate myself.
Put a Strategic Time Schedule in Place
Once you know where you are going on social media, you must decide how much time you will spend there in advance. I often recommend that active participation take place in fifteen-minute increments. Active means you are purposely engaging online and I recommend you do this at a minimum of three times a day for fifteen minutes, as part of your daily routine and marketing strategy. I use a timer on my desk. When it rings, I move on to my scheduled meetings, calls and other business tasks. Use your time wisely. I will often respond to mentions and Rt’s from my phone while multitasking household duties or waiting for dance class and football practices to end. Just ask my children.
For strategy, keep in mind that most mornings, many people are having their coffee while checking into their social media sites instead of reading the paper. This is a great time of day to share information and engage. During the afternoon, many are sharing content, while in the evenings many platforms become more social. So, it is wise to follow the “feel” of the room you are working while keeping your objectives in mind. I often ask others about their goals in the morning and learn of the offerings of the day such as webinars etc. I share my content and the content of my followers in the afternoon and in the evenings I often participate in live twitter chats and establish and meaningful connections that often lead to amazing friendships and business opportunities.
Outsource & Automate
It seems the big “secret” on social media is that those who are successful are using virtual assistants and automation as core components of their social media strategy. It is the unspoken yet core component that many will tell you about in private only, as some believe to do so is “out of integrity” or in poor social media manners. I disagree. In fact, if you are a successful business owner, how can you possibly be on twitter and other platforms all day long? When do you meet your clients or run your business? I have my assistant schedule tweets that I have prepared to go out during key times of the day. These tweets include information such as content as well as inspiring quotes that I love to share. While I am busy working with clients and running my business, these tweets go out between my active participation times. As a result, my brand presence and reputation are maintained during key times and in all time zones. More importantly, my audience is engaged and this is happening via my words being posted automatically. I am not using an rss feed and I am not having someone “pretend” to be me.
Outsourcing and automating will give you the “breathing space” needed to avoid overwhelm. You do not need to be “in the nest” twenty-four hours a day, nor should you be. I found that my sense of overwhelm diminished greatly when I integrated these services into my business. My business grew as a result and my social media success did as well.
Tools, Tools, Baby
There are many, social media tools and applications that you can and must implement into your social media strategy. I often find my mouth drops when someone tells me they tweet from twitter.com and do not use an effective tool. There are far too many to go into details here, but at a minimum you should consider integrating hootsuite or a similar tool into your business if you do not do so already. This tool alone will allow you to post on most of your social networking sites and set up auto posts and tweets in advance. By researching and educating yourself in regard to systems and tools, you will toss much of the overwhelm you are feeling right out of the window. I promise.
Inspired Action Will Bring Results
It is important to remember that finding success on social media is not an easy task.
It takes education, time and great effort. Those who have found success on social media will share with you that they spent countless hours researching tools and applications, educating themselves on all platforms and engaging with connections daily. You cannot expect to find success in any area of life without objectives, effort and time. Time is valuable and the management of your time is critical. Don’t get lost wondering around social media platforms. Prepare your plan and then enjoy it. Remember…if love what you do, and are true to who you really are, you cannot hide from success!
Join us tonight in our LIVE chat on Twitter…Social Media Manners using the hashtag #SMmanners. We meet each Tuesday at 10pm/est!