Why is it that social media marketing seems to take up so much of our time? It’s so easy to pop on to Twitter or Facebook for “just a few minutes” only to find hours later that it has sucked you in and kept you away from that other work you should have been doing.
I don’t by any stretch of the imagination claim to have mastered the art of social media time management, but I thought I’d share some tips with you to help minimise the amount of wasted time spent on social media sites without giving up on social media marketing altogether!
- Stick to a schedule – decide in advance exactly what you want to accomplish on each social media platform each day and how long it should take you then schedule that exact time into your calendar. Avoid checking your accounts on an ad hoc basis as this inevitably leads to time wastage.
- Plan cleverly – schedule your social media time before meetings or appointments so you can’t get carried away.
- Minimise the distractions – figure out what distracts you the most and take steps to control it. For instance create a shortcut to take you straight to your Facebook business page without going via your personal account if it’s too tempting to click on those personal notifications.
- Use timesaving tools – using a tool such as Hootsuite or Social Oomph to schedule some of your tweets and updates in advance can help you to go into your accounts less often and thereby minimise distraction. A simple alarm set on a timer can also help remind you when you’ve spent enough time on a task.
- Create content in bulk – sometimes it can be more efficient to create your content in batches, e.g. cranking out a number of blog posts at once or researching several interesting news links to share on Twitter or Facebook, then use a tool like those mentioned above to post them out at regular intervals.
Do you have any other tips to share with us on how to save time on social media marketing?
I found the recent news about how a writer is being sued by his former employer for his 17,000 Twitter followers really interesting. What struck me most was how they’d put a value of $2.50 on each follower, which seems quite bizarre, and it got me thinking about the value of my own Twitter followers in the various accounts I have.
The thing is though, that not all followers are equal. Some follow you because they want to hear what you have to say, others because you share content that their followers would be interested in, but there are still a large majority that randomly follow shedloads of people in the hope that they’ll be followed back. Others follow you then lose interest in Twitter and stop visiting, so never see anything you tweet anyway.
I’m increasingly of the opinion that the quality of your followers is much more important than the quantity if you are using Twitter as a marketing tool. Particularly if you have a niche business, a few followers who are truly interested in your tweets are much more valuable than a lot who aren’t.
Obviously you don’t have an awful lot of control over who follows you, only who you follow, but being discerning about whom you follow will play a part in the type of followers you attract, as will the type of tweets you send out and whether you’re engaging with others.
A couple of tools I’ve found useful in cleaning out my Twitter account are:
- Twitcleaner works by showing you who you’re following that isn’t worth bothering with, e.g. because they never converse, they haven’t been active for a while, etc. You will lose a few followers as a result (those who only follow people to get followed back) but this isn’t a bad thing as they weren’t interested in what you have to say anyway.
- who.unfollowed.me is a useful little tool for tracking who has unfollowed you, who isn’t following you back and who you aren’t following back and there is a free version which is perfectly adequate. Initially I thought it was only useful for those who won’t follow anyone who doesn’t follow them back but I’ve found it makes checking through your followers and those you follow much more efficient.
So go on, don’t be afraid to have a bit of a clearout, as any followers you lose as a result weren’t worth having in the first place. You’ll enjoy Twitter more if you’re only following interesting people and you’ll gradually build a higher quality list of followers too.
I blogged recently about creating quality content. Once you’ve gone to the trouble of creating great content, that people actually want to read, it makes sense to get the most out of it, so here are some suggestions for how to do that.
Syndicate your content
It seems obvious, but it’s surprising how often it gets forgotten in the rush to move onto the next item on your to do list. Whether it’s a blog post or a new page on your website make sure you share it with as many different people as possible. Tools like NetworkedBlogs make this easier by automatically sending your blog posts out to your Twitter and Facebook feeds and save you having to remember.
Social bookmarking is another good way to get your content out there. Sites like Delicious, Digg and StumbleUpon are all useful, as well as niche bookmarking sites that relate to your industry. Just make sure you follow the guidelines and don’t only bookmark your own content.
If you write an email newsletter then you can also use this to point subscribers towards content that they might find useful too.
Make it easy for others to share
Getting others to share your content is even more effective than doing it yourself as it will then be read by people out of your network too. Hopefully you’ve already got social media buttons added to each of your web pages and blog posts to make it easy for others to share them on their favourite social networking sites. An occasional little nudge or reminder asking people to share a particular article if they find it useful won’t do any harm either.
If you’re referring to a topic already covered in a previous blog post or on another website page then link directly to it to make it easy for people to find other relevant content. Internal linking is important within your website and blog and helps both search engines and readers to find more of your content.
If you’ve written a good article or blog post it won’t take you long to rewrite it (to avoid duplicate content which the search engines frown on) so that it’s suitable for use on another website or blog. Writing guest posts on another blog or articles for another website is a great way to get more exposure for your own website as well as a link back. Using existing content and rewriting it saves you from having to come up with another idea or having do any additional research for a brand new article.
Do you know of any other great ways to get the most out of your content? Please add a comment to share your suggestions.
Twitter has become such an accepted tool as part of an online marketing strategy that more and more businesses are getting involved. However getting your business on Twitter just for the sake of it, because everyone says you need to, is not enough of a reason.If you’re going to market your business on Twitter you need to first figure out why and what for?
These are just some of the things businesses can use Twitter for:
- To offer existing contacts another way of engaging with the business
- To provide customer service
- To find new customers or prospects
- For research purposes
- For brand awareness
- To drive traffic to the business website
There are many other valid uses for Twitter as a marketing tool, but these are probably the main ones. Do any of these fit in with your goals for using Twitter? If so, are you monitoring the results you are getting to find out whether you are meeting your goals?
I see so many businesses on Twitter that have no idea about how to use Twitter to engage with people and end up alienating others rather than drawing them in. They post only self promotional tweets and offer nothing of value to their followers, then can’t figure out why they’re not getting any benefit from their efforts.
The shame of it is that it is ruining Twitter for a lot of people and businesses who are using it as intended. There is so much rubbish and spam on Twitter that genuine users constantly have to find new ways of filtering all this noise out. If you decide to use Twitter for your business remember that whatever your goals you need to be having conversations and engaging with people. It is not just a broadcast channel and those that treat it as one are never going to get the full benefit out of it that they could.
Before you jump on the Twitter bandwagon (or before you go any further if you’ve already climbed aboard), first figure out what your business is trying to use Twitter for. You’ll then be in a much better position to educate yourself and your staff on how to use Twitter effectively to meet those goals.
Many businesses use Twitter as a way of broadcasting their content across the web with the aim of engaging in conversation with their audience and ultimately drive traffic back to their websites. One of the difficulties has always been a lack of performance statistics. Anyone who embarks on any kind of marketing activity needs to be able to accurately measure it so that they can see if it’s working for them.
There are website analytics tools out there but they don’t really give much information about traffic coming from social sites like Twitter, one of the reason is the sheer speed at which these sites have grown in popularity.
So comes the advent of Twitter Web Analytics its sole aim to help increase an understanding of the traffic they receive from Twitter, but not only that, it allows you to understand how your content is being shared amongst Twitter users and see the effectiveness of integration of Twitter into your website through ‘Tweet’ buttons.
It will certainly be interesting to see the real value of Twitter, there is a lot of noise on the social networking site and it’s difficult to gauge which posts get the best response and if all of your efforts are actually achieving the results that you are looking for.
Twitter is certainly effective for some businesses, I have come across those that use nothing else for lead generation, but to use it successfully you really need to have a bit of a plan in the first place, ensure that you post frequently and try and engage with your followers. One of the most difficult things to get started is to build up your followers in the first place. It can be quite tempting to follow anyone and everyone and this works well for some. But for others they need to take a much more strategic approach.
All that said I shall certainly be taking a closer look at Twitter Web Analytics to see if the tool will make a useful addition to my ‘tool shed’ – sorry trying to be funny again.
This is a question that seems to crop up a lot. It can be overwhelming to manage too many different social media accounts when you’re just getting started with social media marketing, so naturally you want to choose the most effective one.
Unfortunately there is no one right answer for every business. Facebook works wonderfully for some businesses and dismally for others, ditto with Twitter, LinkedIn and all the rest.
Business to business social media marketing tends to work well in LinkedIn, while business to consumer seems to work better in Facebook. This is a generalisation though and there will naturally be exceptions.
Different social media platforms tend to be more important for different industries too. For instance, in the education industry YouTube can be extremely effective, but in the Print and Newspaper industry it is not nearly as useful.
Here are a few examples of the most important social media for various industries*:
- The industries that seem to benefit most from Facebook are Fitness & Wellness, Retail, Travel & Tourism, Real Estate and Non Profit.
- Twitter is the most important social media for Telecoms.
- Businesses in the Development & Construction industry will usually find LinkedIn to be the most effective for them.
- Blogging is most important for those in the Professional Services, Medical Health, Manufacturing, Technology, Marketing Agency, Financial & Mortgage, Government & Politics and Print & Newspaper industries, though it can still be very effective for others.
- YouTube and Flickr can work very well alongside other social media marketing for some industries but are not usually recommended on their own.
*Source: WSI Social Media Experts Think Tank, July 2009
If you’re still not sure where to start, think about your target market and then decide which social media they are most likely to frequent. Of course your own personality and social media knowledge will also affect how effective you are on various platforms, so perhaps the best place to start is where you feel most comfortable.
Whichever social media platform you choose to start with, it’s important to make sure you understand how to use it properly to engage with people. Building relationships is one of the key benefits of social media, so focus on that and you won’t go far wrong.