The last question in our series of Top Social Media Marketing Questions for 2011 is “How do I best use my time to maximize my social media activities?”
The answer to this question is along the lines of the answer to some of the other questions in this series. What’s really important in using social media effectively is not spreading your efforts too thin. Don’t take on more platforms than you have the resources to manage. Social media efforts are successful when they are tended to. Your audience can tell when you’re just on social media platforms to say you’re on them. It’s important to be present and active.
If you don’t have the time, don’t have an account. The only thing worse than not being in social media is being there and neglecting it. Think about how frustrating it would be to see that XYZ Widgets had a presence on Facebook, but never answered the question you posted on their wall. It would be like calling the advertised customer service line only to find that no one answers the phone.
When you’re picking your platforms it’s important to look at two things:
- Is your audience present on this platform? Are people talking about your brand or your industry on this platform? If not, it doesn’t make much sense for you to be there. It’s a lot more work for you to try and create conversation on a platform, than to join an existing one. Check out our post on Finding Your Target Audience for more info on this.
- What is the culture of this platform? How quickly are you expected to respond? How often are you expected to post? What are the types of content you should be posting? Figuring out the answers to these questions beforehand will help you to be effective with your social media presence from the get-go. Check out our post on Mastering Social Media Platforms for more info on this part.
Once you have an active presence on these platforms, you may wonder how to keep up with these efforts without neglecting your other work.
It’s no secret that the more time you spend on social media, the more effective it will be. There are so many things to do–including monitoring, response, outreach, content creation and advertising. The good news is that although these are all very helpful for building your presence, it’s ok to start small.
Monitoring and response are key. This is where you “pick up the phone.” There are several tools (both paid and free) to help you with this. For example, both Facebook and Twitter have notification features. Twitter will email you if someone mentions your handle or DMs you. Facebook will email you if someone comments on your wall. Another tool you can use through Twitter is Twitter search. You can search your brand name, and save the search so that you can refer to it often in order to catch brand mentions that don’t include your Twitter handle.
Other monitoring tools are available that will catch brand mentions all over the web–tools like Radian6 and Sysomos. With these you can set up alerts for brand mentions, negative mentions, etc.
Responding to these mentions, especially customer service related posts, will present your brand as a brand who cares about its customers and what they have to say. This, of course, is why social media has become so popular among consumers. Each one now has a place to voice his or her opinion, and the success of a business in this platform will depend on its listening and acknowledgement of those very public opinions.
Photo by ~Bob~West~