With the recent end to the LinkedIn Answers section, I found myself feeling frustrated with the various social media sites. It seems like every time I get a handle on a site, they change it. Those changes can cause us to spend what, in my opinion, is unnecessary time online; time updating, changing, and adapting.
So how can you focus your social media marketing?
The first step is to identify what really matters and make sure you are participating. From what I can tell, relevant content and participation are the most important aspects of social media marketing:
1. Relevant Content
One of the best ways to utilize social media is to share content. It can be something you have created or something you have read or watched. When you share information that you created, you are positioning yourself as an expert. It’s an opportunity to show your level of knowledge. Moreover, giving away information is a great way to build a following.
When you share someone else’s article, podcast or video, you are increasing your value to your connections. You are making sure they are getting what they need. At the same time, you are helping the content creators expand their audience.
No matter what, you are establishing yourself as a thought leader, connector and professional. People know you mean business. They gain awareness of you and are provided a window into your business practices and values.
It’s not enough to post. You have to engage in conversations. One of the most significant exercises is to start a conversation with your clients and contacts. You can ask a question on one of your profiles, start a discussion in a group, start a Google+ hangout or launch a tweet chat. These are all ways to engage with people.
Carve out some time and read what others are saying and talking about. Then weigh in. In this way, you remind people that you are there and have knowledge that is of value. This kind of relationship building is invaluable.
3. Quality Time
It may sound counterintuitive but I’m going to suggest that you not spend a lot of time keeping up with the changes that occur almost daily on the social platforms. You can get lost in the upkeep and never make an impact. Instead, spend your time participating in quality conversations. Provide interesting, valuable information that others can use. This means finding the most consistent way to engage.
Blogging, status updates and groups seem to be mainstays. Applications and new stuff seems to have a shelf life, so only spend time there if it is contained. For quite a while, I spent a good amount of time on LinkedIn Answers. It made sense to share my expertise and the exposure was great. Now it’s gone. The collateral I built up no longer exists. My time might have been better spent blogging about those topics.
Carve out a small space, about once a month, in your calendar to visit your social media platforms and review any changes that may have occurred. It is this structured approach that will help you invest your time where it matters most.
When you are providing content and conversation, it won’t really matter what changes occur or what is added or removed. Your exposure and credibility will remain. That’s the goal.
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In my industry I’ve found the #ppcchat Twitter chat is one of the most effective places to learn and participate. Finding similar conversations to join can be hugely beneficial.
I agree that time spent blogging on your own blog is always a better choice when it comes to time investment. LinkedIn Answers as you say, here today tomorrow…what answers. (and what content)
Great, concise article. I completely agree with you and think #3 is an invaluable reminder. The social media landscape changes so quickly that it is almost impossible to keep you with; and that is when keeping up with it IS your full-time job. Better time investment to stay connected to with your customers and followers. Kudos on this blog post! I have shared it with my network! Thanks for great content.
Glad you like it. The LinkedIn Answers situation forced me to re-evaluate my energy online. I had a feeling others were feeling the same way!
No doubt! It felt so weird to have all the answers gone! And so. many. people. spent so much time sharing their expertise!! I love the idea of people sharing expertise on their blogs where they have control over content and what happens to it.
Yes I’ve realized that blogging is where it needs to be. I wish I’d captured my answers!
Great post, Diane. I especially agree that’s it’s important to stay up to date with all the different changes that take place in social media, it happens everyday. It’s also important to spend time with your customers and directly interact with them. Ask them what they want and give it to them. This is one of the best ways to increase conversions. Thanks for sharing your insights.
It is sad to know that a lot of bloggers still see social networks as ways to share links to their websites. I agree with you that participation is key. In fact, a social media campaign should always include focusing on building connections with readers/followers.
Thank you for such an insightful post 🙂