Social Media as a promotional tool for your business can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is a great way to interact and form bonds with existing customers and to find new ones. On the other hand, it’s easy to spend a lot of time on social media without really knowing if you’re getting good value in exchange for that time.
Are you wasting time with social media, or getting the return you’re hoping to? That’s a question everyone using social media as a promotional tool should be asking themselves.
If you’re not sure what the answer is for you, here are 5 signs you might be wasting time with social media:
- You don’t have a clear social media strategy.
Why are you using social media in the first place? How does it support your business goals? Investing time in social media simply because it’s popular or because you heard it can be an effective marketing tool doesn’t guarantee success.
Your social media strategy doesn’t need to be complicated. It just needs to set some goals and define a path for acheiving them.
Do you want to attract new customers/readers or strengthen relationships with existing ones? Do you want to influence people or win friends? Which social media platforms will you invest time in? How much time will you invest? What message are you trying to get across?
Start by answering questions like these. Then, once you’ve started using your strategy you can change it later if it isn’t working like you had hoped.
You need a social media strategy. Without one, you might be wasting time.
- You have no idea what your return on investment is.
What are you getting back from all that time you’re spending on social media? Again, the right answer depends on your particular goals. Once you know your goals, you need to try to measure how social media is contributing to reaching your goals.
Measuring your return on investment might be as easy as knowing how many visitors are coming to your website from your social outposts. It could me more difficult though, like figuring out how well you’re improving relationships with existing contacts.
In any case, if you have no idea what your return on investment in social media is, you might be wasting time.
- You find yourself putting off other important activities in favor of hanging out on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Are you a Twitter procrastinator? Do you often spend hours on Twitter or other social media platforms when you know you should be doing something else?
You might be able to justify all the time you spend tweeting as being valuable promotion time. The problem is that promotion isn’t all that it takes to build a high-traffic website or blog. Without solid content, all the promotion you can muster won’t lead to a sustainable business.
Putting off other important business activities like creating content in favor of spending time chatting on social media might be a sign you’re wasting time.
- You spread yourself too thin across many different social media platforms.
Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Reddit, Blogs, Google Buzz, StumbleUpon… If social media is a good marketing tool, why not spend a little time on every platform out there, right? The truth is, it’s much better to focus your efforts.
The real benefits of using social media as a promotional tool don’t become apparent until you’ve really dug in and invested time in one single place. One of the easiest mistakes to make is spreading yourself thin across lots of different platforms instead of focusing on just one or two.
When you spread yourself thin, you risk never establishing credibility within any of your presences. Without credibility, your efforts to make new friends and get the word out about your business or site will be weak. On the other hand, a strong reputation within a social media platform will make it easier to accomplish your goals.
Try to establish a strong reputation in one single platform before moving on to the next hot thing in social media. Spreading yourself too think is an easy way to waste time.
- You’re viewing social media success according to traditional metrics and demographics.
Social media is all about human connections and relationships. It’s a two-way conversation instead of the old one-way broadcast. If you’re measuring success like you would in older marketing channels, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Success is no longer about page views or CPMs.
To get maximum benefit from social media, you’ll probably have to give before you get. You should focus on how you can be useful to your connections and try to make friends. Real friends can become raving fans who share your story far-and-wide, but you don’t create raving fans by just pushing your own interests.
Success in social media looks much different than it did in traditional media. Measuring your success according to outdated metrics is a sign you might be wasting time.
Are you wasting time with social media, or getting the return you’re hoping to? How do you know? Let’s discuss in the comments.
photo by LeeLeFever