Social media can feel daunting and people often hesitate taking the first step in committing to social media. One reason is the amount of time people perceive it to take with all of the real-time Tweets and sharing, they assume it could be a huge distraction. I would be remiss not to acknowledge that yes, social media does pose a hurdle to time-management, but I have discovered, in my own professional journey, that with proper planning, the benefits far outweigh the effort.
I believe to be effective; one needs to manage social media like any other element in your professional tool kit. The first step is to really decide why you are joining the millions in the social media network. Is it to promote a product or service? Is it to network in your industry? Is it to market special events? Answering these questions will direct you to the social media tools that will best represent you and meet your goals. For me, it is to share information and resources with other professionals in the online learning and social media industry and to keep myself abreast of the latest trends.
The next step is to find a few sites, like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs that you will focus your energies on. Targeting 2-4 is probably sufficient. Spreading yourself too thin will not help your social media strategy. Quality content and quality relationships are where it’s at.
The third step is to write down your specific tasks, breaking them into smaller chunks, maybe weekly to start. This will help keep you on the right track and allow you the flexibility to adjust and change strategies along the way. Stay focused on task and don’t forget to check in with the conversations to keep them going. In no time, you will see your network community flourish.
Finally, to touch on the biggest question of them all, “How much time does it take?” well that will be different for each person depending on purpose, goals and effort. I did come across an article that included a fabulous chart which gives a base for beginners to start with. Have bigger aspirations? A study by Burson-Martseller of Fortune 100 global companies and their social media use showed:
- 82% posted to Twitter 27 times per week
- 59% posted to Facebook 3.6 times per week
- 68% posted to YouTube 10 posts per month
- 36% posted to a blog 7 times per month
I am not suggesting that you commit to doing all of these tasks but it shows the commitment it takes some of these companies to build thousands of followers.What are your insights and tips? Please share!