One of the biggest challenges to consistent social media use, and by extension, social media success, is the perception that time spent on social media becomes time lost to distraction or to activity that cannot or does not support the real, practical goals of your business.
This is a real fear, and a legitimate one. Social media is a difficult space to navigate. There is so much opportunity and there are so many paths to potential success. With competing platforms, multiple ways to build and capitalize on engagement, and imperfect methods for monitoring and measuring social media, strategy becomes difficult, often to the point of distraction.
There are a variety of solutions to this problem, including hiring a social media consultant and scheduling social media training for you and your staff. Ultimately, whether you outsource, hire a social media manager, or manage social media on your own, with a few simple guidelines, you can keep yourself out of the social media vortex and maximize the value of your social media presence, and your time.
Individual goals will depend on your business, the sector in which you work, and your overall communications and marketing strategy.
Set goals in the following categories and align your social media content, messaging and scheduling to fit: engagement; funding opportunities (in the case of non-profit organizations) and sales (in the case of for-profit organizations); marketing; message communication; partnering; relationship building; and research.
With these goals as a guide, you are able to maximize your time on social media by creating content that can be used across channels and using content you already have to stimulate interest and engagement. Outlining social media goals as they relate to overall communications and marketing goals in the above mentioned categories helps you to prioritize specific messages and content pieces and, ultimately, to leverage social media activity and the relationships that you cultivate online.
Participation in social media can and should be a positive experience for you and your team. Take some time to celebrate the successes you have earned on social media, from new partnerships you have developed to testimonials and unsolicited support voiced on your Facebook page, to press coverage garnered through the right conversations on Twitter. Doing so helps to quantify the value of the time you spend on social media. It also gives you the opportunity to have a real time, in real life outcome for online activity.
Capturing screenshots to share with the team, designing and implementing successful social media campaigns with specific goals, planning meet-ups, and a variety of other activities help to demonstrate to you and your team the very real impact that social media can have on building, promoting and engaging with your brand.
Schedule content, set limits on the time you spend on social media and chart a clear course of action for leveraging social media content and relationships. Trust that what you are doing is working and adjust as you and your audience grow and change.
Set aside a time to observe your social media activity, specifically your messaging. Evaluate your social media activity and adjust based on the following recommendations, all of which link to and support your communications and marketing goals: do not lose your voice; stay present; stay current; and be ready to respond.
Knowing you have a smart strategy and a commitment to a consistent presence across your social media channels, be sure to set limits to maximize the time – and the value of the time – you spend on social media.