The most dangerous thing about Social Marketing is how addicting it can be. You can easily waste an entire morning getting lost in a Twitter conversation or adding Facebook friends. These services are designed to be incredibly engaging, and it’s very easy to get sucked in for hours at a time.
And so it is critical to manage your Social Marketing time effectively. To that end, here are a few tips to be an effective marketer while NOT getting sucked into a Social Networking abyss.
Set a Goal
Before you ever log on to a Social Networking site, take some time to set a goal for what you want to accomplish and write it down. Nothing clarifies thinking and holds you accountable like putting words to paper.
Goals can be simple like:
- I want to find 5 great forums to post my material.
- I want to read 10 Digg.com headlines to help get an idea of what kinds of articles get dug.
- I want to post my new article in my Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, but not respond to any friends.
- I want to find 3 good Facebook groups to follow.
If you’re specific and limited in your goal, it will dramatically cut down on Social Media wondering syndrome.
Block Out a Specific Time
If you’re committed to making Social Media work for your business, choose an amount of time to commit and block off that time. Say, one hour per day or 5 hours per week. Once you’ve blocked off this time, you need to limit yourself to only this amount of time. If you’re strict and disciplined about this, you will find yourself wanting to be really productive in your allotted time and it will help prevent you from wasting it.
Know What Actions are High Value
A low percentage of your time spent on Social Media may be considered “high value.” The highest value things you can do, though, are:
- Document Your Expertise
Prove to the world that you are an expert in your field by writing useful articles and providing helpful content.
- Posting Your Content In Useful Places
Once you have high-quality content, put it in all of the best locations. Article directories, social networks, and social link sites are a great start, but don’t forget forums dedicated to your topic.
- Responding to Your Fans
Social networking is about building a following. Take time to respond to people who liked your work and had useful things to add to the conversation.
Most of the other activities are low value, like adding friends, obsessively monitoring your follows, commenting on photos, and getting caught in discussions with trolls (In Internet speak, a “troll” is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory or irrelevant messages in online forums with the intent of provoking others to respond.). You can dump a lot of useless time into social marketing, so pay attention to the high value tasks.
Save Low Value Tasks for Non-Work Times
We all love social networking, but keeping up with friends and chatting on Twitter are the online equivalents of watching TV. Good for relaxing after a hard day of work, but not a business building activity. If you love to network on social sites, do it after work and leave the high-value, heavy lifting for work hours.