Social media is a powerful tool, but it also has the potential of wasting so much of your time that it’s not really worthwhile. Getting traffic and leads is great, but to determine your ROI, you need to ask yourself how much time you’ve spent on the activities that have generated those leads. Social media is vibrant and addictive. It’s very easy to get sucked into wasting precious time on Twitter or on Facebook. Here are a few tips for avoiding social media waste:
(If you use social media for fun and leisure, please don’t read this article.)
1. Choose your social media channels carefully. You probably don’t need to be on all social media platforms. I know that there are lots of articles on social media blogs that tell you to leverage all the tools available to you, but what they don’t tell you is that these activities are costly – they cost your time, or they cost the fee of the social media consultant who manages them. So yes, you have Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and lots more, but try to pick the 2-3 social media platforms that are a good fit for your company and stick with them, at least for a while until you see if they work.
For example, most B2B businesses will waste their time on a Facebook page but should be on LinkedIn, and if your target audience does not use Twitter, there’s no reason for you to have a Twitter account.
2. Time it. Decide how much time you are willing to spend on social media each day, and make sure you don’t spend more than that. It’s easy if you pay a social media consultant to do these things for you – she will make sure she doesn’t spend more time than what you had agreed on – but if you do it yourself, decide that you are going to dip into social media for an hour each day. When that hour ends, LEAVE, log out and go do something else.
3. Review periodically. If you don’t see results from your social media activity, then by definition you are wasting your time there. Do a quarterly review of social media activity (give it an initial six months, then move to a quarterly review) and check your analytics to see if your social media efforts are sending traffic to your site, and how that traffic behaves on your site – is it engaged?
For example, with one of my B2B clients we saw after the initial six months that LinkedIn sends a LOT of traffic to the site – excellent traffic that downloads materials and registers; Twitter sends slightly less and the traffic is less engaged but still spends time on the site (4 minutes on average), and Facebook was not even among the top ten referrers to the site. So we ditched Facebook.
Social media is noisy, distracting and wasteful, but it IS possible – and crucial for businesses – to tame it, or at least to tame and control their use of social media so that it doesn’t take too many of their resources.