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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