Avoiding Social Media Overload

We’re all looking for simple ways to market our products and services and many of us have at least started down the path to social media.

It’s true that social media does not require an outlay of cash or special equipment. What is not true is the notion that social media a free medium. After all, if you added up all the time you spent writing blogs, updating your Facebook account, and searching for new contacts on LinkedIn, I’m willing to bet it would be a substantial sum. That is, if you take the time to keep them up-to-date.

That, my friends, is the catch-22 of social media — it takes time to update all your activities and not keeping them up-to-date costs reputation and will cause the gains you’ve made to slip. My advice? Choose the best social media bits for your business and keep them up-to-date.

But, how do you choose which bits are best for you?

Here are some tips:

  • Take a look at your web stats: (pleeeease tell me you have a website!) Log in to your web stats page (call your web host if you have no idea what I’m talking about) and look at where your referrals are coming from. Referrals are the sites that send visitors to your website.  If you never receive referrals from, say Facebook, then maybe that bit can be retired from your social media schedule. If, however, you receive a lot of traffic from LinkedIn, you may want to increase the amount of effort you put into the LinkedIn community.
  • Do what you enjoy: Social media is — well — social. It’s meant to be an informal place to chat, learn, and share. Others can tell when it’s not fun for you. Stiff, formal essays or efficient comments don’t communicate “I know my stuff and I’m happy to share.”; rather, they scream, “I’m just here because I need to market!” Choose the mediums you’re comfortable with and you enjoy contributing to. Love commenting on blogs but don’t like list building in LinkedIn? Well, there you go.
  • Go where you can be helpful: If you’re using social media to market, find areas where you can show your stuff. I don’t mean become the show-off of the forum, but go where you can intelligently contribute to discussions and offer advice when it’s called for.

Okay, have your short-list of social media activities ready? Now, do what ever you need to do to keep them up-to-date. Schedule in time, pre-write blogs, ask colleagues to contribute, add a Twitter function to your Blackberry. Whatever it takes…figure out how it will work best for you, your schedule, and personality, and do it. It’s easy for this stuff to slip (I know from personal experience!) but, if social media is a piece of your marketing activities, it needs to be a priority.

As always, please let me know how your social media activities are going. Did you pare down the list? Did it help?