Social media is a powerful tool, but it also has the potential of wasting so much of your time that it’s not really worthwhile. Getting traffic and leads is great, but to determine your ROI, you need to ask yourself how much time you’ve spent on the activities that have generated those leads. Social media is vibrant and addictive. It’s very easy to get sucked into wasting precious time on Twitter or on Facebook. Here are a few tips for avoiding social media waste:
1. Choose your social media channels carefully. You probably don’t need to be on all social media platforms. In an ideal world, you would leverage all the tools available to you, but in the real world, where you have time and money constraints, it’s best to pick the 2-3 social media platforms that are a the best fit for your company and stick with them, at least for a while until you see if they work. For example, if you’re a B2B organization, Facebook would probably be a waste of time for you; and if you’re an ecommerce website, Pinterest is a must, but Twitter – not so much.
2. Time it. Decide how much time you are willing to spend on social media activities each day, and make sure you don’t spend more than that. It’s easy if you pay a social media consultant to do these things for you – she will make sure she doesn’t spend more time than what you had agreed on – but if you do it yourself, decide that you are going to dip into social media for an hour each day. When that hour ends, log out and go do something else.
3. Review periodically. If you don’t see results from your social media activity, then by definition you are wasting your time there. Do a quarterly review of social media activity (give it an initial six months, then move to a quarterly review) and check Google analytics to see if your social media efforts are sending traffic to your site.
For example, with one of my B2B clients we saw after the initial six months that LinkedIn sends significant traffic to the site, Twitter sends slightly less and the traffic is less engaged (higher bounce rate, less time spent on the site), and Facebook was not even among the top ten referrers to the site. So we ditched Facebook.
Social media is noisy, distracting and wasteful. While I wouldn’t advise complete avoidance of social media, it’s important to control your use of it, so that it doesn’t consume too much of your precious resources.