One of the biggest issues people seem to have when beginning to grasp the world of Social Media is the time factor. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, the Blogosphere – they’re all 24/7. Unless you want to make yourself into a zombie, you’re simply not going to be able to keep track of everyone and everything all of the time (I apologize if this is laying a hard truth upon you in an overly blunt fashion, by the way!). So what can you do?
Perhaps the most common question people ask me is, “OK, so where should I engage the most?” The question makes sense. You have limited time, so you want to make sure you spend it in the best way possible (kind of metaphorical for life too, when you stop and think about it). The obstacle in the way of answering this question is that it’s different for everybody, and getting the answer requires asking still other questions.
With that in mind, I thought I would give you some ideas of questions you might want to ask yourself about your online plan because answering THOSE questions is really the best way to answer the ultimate question – where should you focus your time and energy.
1. What type of business are you?
• If you’re a business-to-business company, I would suggest you explore LinkedIn and blogs to see if there is interest there. Those will *probably* be the best matches for you (but not always)
• If you’re a business-to-consumer company, you (most likely) will need to move on to question 2 a bit faster than a B2B company
2. Where are your customers, prospects, and competitors?
This will probably require some research on your part. I know a lot of people say that you should just jump into the world of Social Media full throttle, but doing a bit of research, maybe even just for a couple of weeks, can reveal where there is industry buzz relevant to you and your company and where there is nothing going on at all. Sometimes there will be surprises – a B2B company may find a lot of activity on Facebook while a consumer company may find some relevant groups in LinkedIn. Be open to the possibilities and follow the breadcrumbs.
3. What are you hoping to accomplish?
If you are trying to build brand recognition, Twitter can be a great way to go because, essentially, every time you tweet with someone you are getting your brand out there. Facebook can also be good, but be careful how you interact with your fans.
On the other hand, what if your goal is to immediate start driving sales? Twitter and Facebook can be tough because it takes awhile for people to start to trust you and people so entirely abhor the hard sell. Besides that, trying to get a nuanced sales pitch out in 140 characters can be quite the challenge. Blogging or LinkedIn groups may be the best way to spend your time (or maybe, and I know this might make you feel faint, something that is not Social Media related!!!).
It really depends on what your objectives are. That’s why I really believe that you need to have objectives before you can find any success in the world of Social Media. Otherwise you have nothing to guide you.
These are just three key questions that can help guide you towards deciding how you want to spend your time online. Engagement differs based on the platform you’re using and based on what you are trying to accomplish, so establishing an engagement strategy can really only be accomplished after all of this preliminary planning is finished.
Does this help? How do you decide where to spend your time online? Let’s talk about it!
This is post #69 in the Engagement Series. I hope you are finding it useful!
Image by chris gilbert. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/iotdfi