Thursday, December 20, 2012

4 Steps to Being Effective on Social Media without Going Nuts

Have you ever tried to use social media to market yourself or your business, but you just kept going crazy?  Have you ever felt like it was too overwhelming?

Me, too!  (Well...Maybe it's JUST me! :)

Does social media ever make you crazy? It has for me, but I'm learning to do some things about it. (Picture from
Recently, I've returned to using social media.

When I first started using it, I really got into it.  I was contacting lots of people, and I kept making unique, thoughtful comments.

Then, people started to RESPOND to all of that, and that's when I started to get overwhelmed.  Each time I responded, often I would get another response.  Even more often, those series of responses attracted many other people.

These responses just kept piling.  So I stopped doing it, altogether.  THAT was not very sociable, and it was definitely NOT an effective to brand myself or my company.

So what I am doing differently, THIS time?

Here are four (4) steps that I am taking to be more effective with social media without going nuts.
  1. Be Available - Everywhere
  2. Be Intelligently Responsive
  3. Endorse Others/Give Spotlight
  4. Personalize Conversations
This is what I am doing right now, and it seems to be working for me.

1. Be Available - Everywhere

Of course, you cannot be everywhere.  However, you can strive to have something or someone represent you in each corner where most of your target market members are likely to be found.

For instance, I have been using Hootsuite to schedule Twitter posts.  I make sure that people have a really good chance of seeing something from me each time they look at their Twitter account.

See Also: Beginning my experiment with Hootsuite

I also try to be visible within LinkedIn.  LinkedIn has many groups, and I try to make sure that the right groups see what I have to say.  Plus, I usually share things with my LinkedIn Connections.

You don't have to post things individually, but you do need to post in many places, and there are ways to limit the number of times you post.  (Hootsuite is one of these tools.)

Whatever the case, make sure you are everywhere.  People can't connect with you if they never see you.

2. Be Intelligently Responsive

It's a horrible idea to use social media and never respond to people.  That defeats the purpose.  It's akin to going to a networking meeting and shouting YOUR message, but you never even acknowledge anyone else, much less listen to what they're saying.

When people leave comments to things you post, make sure that you respond...eventually.

This is where many people--including me--make their mistake when using social media.  Many people take pride in answering things IMMEDIATELY.

While this rapid response service is nice, it often comes at the EXPENSE of running our business--or even our lives--effectively.

Here is what I do--when I can--I try to check my messages (i.e. e-mail, Twitter Tweets, LinkedIn comments, blog comments, etc.) at least one time (1X) each day.  Sometimes, I might check it two (2) or three (3) times during the day.

This provides same day feedback, but it does not train people to demand you respect their whims more than you do your time.

Plus, have you noticed that the more you respond--especially on social media--the more people return those responses?  In other words, you're often creating more work for yourself by doing that (replying) work.

Schedule when you respond, and respect that schedule.  Otherwise, you will go nuts.

3. Endorse Others/Give Spotlight

Find key people who are influencers or people you want to help (and seem to deserve it).

Provide nice comments, or write recommendations for these people.  You might want to point other people toward some of the work that person did.

Make good people look good, and you will find your personal effectiveness skyrocketing.  Who doesn't want to spend time being around somebody who HELPS people?

The more time I spend endorsing people, the more effective I become.  Essentially, when you do this, you are building a team.  Many of these people are supporting you.

When enough people support you, they can combine to support you more than you are capable of supporting yourself.  You're growing your own "farm" of support, and it keeps harvesting (after a while).

4. Personalize Conversations

Social media is great for initiating new relationships.  Besides being a great way to leverage your communication (one post gets seen by all of the people who are connected to your account), social media provides a way to meet many people without ever leaving your home or office.

However, most people don't take that critical next step.

They do not find a way to make that conversation more personal.

Once you begin to establish a relationship on social media (think: public), now you can send them a private message or an email.  Continue that conversation in a place where you do not have to mince as many words.  (Be careful any time you put things in writing, but...)  You can customize what you want to say to THAT specific person.

How many people take the time to do that?

Think you might be able to separate yourself by doing that?  Isn't that the ultimate point, to meet new people and have them get to know you (and be impressed by you)?

These are the four (4) steps I take toward being effective on social media without going nuts.

Do you have any different suggestions?  Did I overlook anything really important?

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