Are you walking the Social Media tightrope too?
Do you ever think you’re going to fall off any second? Ever wrestle with yourself, thinking:
To Tweet or Not to Tweet, That is the Question.
My little Shakespearean parody here is from an intro I used while sharing a recent post by Ryan Biddulph of BloggingfromParadise and I think he makes an excellent point.
I concur. That is, I agree there is a certain excitement, if not other positive results from the ability to connect, even “talk,” to folks you respect and admire, via Twitter.
Heck, I’ve had quite a few jump-up-and-down-in-excitement encounters on Twitter and, like Ryan, I want to shout it from the rooftops, so everyone knows. But seriously, the validation that you are someone too is even more satisfying, especially for a creator.
Influencers Have Influencers Too
Heck, even superstar Copy Hacker Joanna Wiebe gets a thrill out of a follow from someone she admires. I had to chuckle when she writes in a “letter to self” blog post, the following,
James Altucher (who nearly gave you a heart attack when he started following you on Twitter this summer) … ”~Joanna Wiebe
(P.S. I had my own little heart attacks when Barry Feldman and Henneke Duistermaat, to name just a couple, followed little old me!)
Interestingly, Jo’s post is about time management, one of the major issues for planning a SMM strategy and deciding how and where it fits best in the scope of marketing your business.
Time is a resource you need to invest for SMM results but, as Jo’s post points out, there’s an element of distraction to social as well. Addictive, perhaps?
You must show up for SMM, and so, social automation isn’t how you connect with people or start a conversation to build relationships. If you’re not talking, you’re broadcasting. You’re automating, not participating.
So, tweeting—or participating in social generally—requires you be there because, as Ryan figured out, interactions happen between people.
Not people yammering on about their breakfast or sending out automated messages because business using social channels is intentional.
I like Twitter and feel it’s been a plus for my business in many ways, as I’ve already told you with a Megaphone, but lately, I’m weighing things out. Reviewing. Evaluating.
It’s time to think about the benefits or detriments of Social Media Marketing for business, overall. But, more importantly, for your business and situation.
Tweeting (or using any social media, for that matter) without thinking brings to mind the old, “Think Before You Ink” alert from the tattoo world, or in publishing.
But maybe we all need to step back and decide, “to Tweet or NOT to Tweet,” and why.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Twitter as a platform with everything in the news lately and with the direction Twitter seems to be going.
Besides, many of my Twitter business connections are more enamored and getting better results, too, with LinkedIn, among others. Here’s a Complete Guide to LinkedIn by John Soares as a reference or refresher or to examine LinkedIn for SMM consideration.
The New Year may be the perfect time to test LinkedIn and see if shifting some SMM time and work to there, outperforms Twitter for business results.
LinkedIn seems the most business-centric of the social channels, and I notice a lot more conversations going on there. Maybe, it’s because you can say the whole of your thought rather than frame it to a specific number of characters. Hmmm.
I’m also looking forward to seeing what changes LinkedIn will roll out with the final word now out that Microsoft is the proud new owner of this platform.
Automating and Participating
Also, upgrading to Buffer’s Awesome Plan will help, making a more automated “presence” to allow me to expand SMM efforts to other channels. WARNING: This doesn’t replace interactions. You know the human type.If you're not talking, you're broadcasting. You're automating, not participating.Click To Tweet
Awesome with Buffer is on my Wish List for Santa, and you may want it too.
Here’s why: because as your experience and success using SMM increases, integrations on other platforms make sense. And, it looks like a great way to learn and grow, if you’re ready.
Buffer as a productivity tool to help with time and social posting management creates a way to alleviate one of social’s red flags—time suck. Buffer also offers the bonus of giving you detailed analytical data. Useful social data! A deeper look at your audience and social share information.
Add Buffer to the Social Media Marketing Strategy and Budget for 2017!
Still, Twitter is a time and work kind of social marketing, especially for a small shop like mine. And yet I’m torn. It’s kind of like being at a party, mingling and enjoying short, snappy chats with a variety of characters as you work the room. Only guests at this party include a who’s who of influencers from every single industry and the world. Do I want to leave here?
Buffer allows me to stay, and move on, too.
Less time, less work, and better analytics are the immediate advantages I expect from using this tool. The ability to schedule content, rather than manually post it, frees up time. Time to expand your social reach and initiate new business opportunities? Like on LinkedIn, using John’ Guide, perhaps.
I like the free version of Buffer I’ve been using but, now I need more. So, after researching for a while now, I feel Buffer’s Awesome Plan offers the most bang for the buck for a smaller operation without excessive SMM demands.
Like I say and admit, good things are happening from working it on Twitter for over a year now. Quality connections are exploding, and I’m building relationships with both peers and prospects.
The Twitter social ROI isn’t just a matter of dollars and cents or easily measured, either.
And part of why accurate strategizing is helpful and integrations may be better than skipping from one social channel to another. Increasing recognition of your brand by broadening your social reach may lead to new audiences and unexpected outcomes. Like my last guest post.
Sometimes it seems the best feature in Twitter is in the role of an instant news line. That can be a good thing but, the political bitchfest of late isn’t business enticing. And, in my mind, is NOT a part of Social Media Marketing for most businesses.Social Media Marketing ROI isn't always a matter of dollars and sense, or easy to measure.Click To Tweet
Bitchfest or Business-Social, You Decide
In a popular post on Medium, Timothy R. Meyers questions FaceBook’s “social” atmosphere, calling it a “war zone.” He’s noting the same bitchfest, along with a big public fight vibe there too, making this social channel a hostile environment more than anything else.
How social is that? How businesslike?
Timothy goes on to say:
“Facebook is a war zone. A global, social, and electronic village where people were hiding in their homes afraid to come out, afraid to speak, afraid to live.”
He also notes fake news issues, advertising interference, and other problems with the FB experience of today, as further taking away from a truly social exchange.
This is the most highlighted section of the piece:
“Facebook has become a swamp of crass and obnoxious street fights and post-election hysteria where people are judging and sentencing others on the spot. It is the mecca for confrontational sound bites, click traps, and associated public lynching’s where people are hung on the spot if they dare to have their own opinion.”
Businesses swear by FB results and FB driven traffic. FB groups are a popular and possibly useful way of engaging with like-minded people in a business-social space. Or as an interactive study group. Private mastermind and other work groups seem an appealing theme for business purposes.
And yet, I remain on the FB fence.
Good thing I’m working on a documented strategy, contemplating and analyzing information to form an updated Social Media Marketing Strategy. The truth is, the best SMM evolves from:
- documenting a strategy with business objectives in mind
- implementing a plan to reach them, and
- determining a way to measure results.
Tracking results is a beginning, not an end.
Analyzing the data to determine areas for improvement, iterating endlessly to level up, and working to eradicate weaknesses, as well as testing, testing, testing, are keys!
Not to mention, relationship building, at its finest.
On Second Thought
Jennifer Mattern and Sharon Hurley Hull recently did a podcast, reminding me of several important issues as a freelance writer and business. But, when it comes to their viewpoint on SMM, any business can benefit from this tip: consider the significance in how you measure results from social.
For example, Jenn mentions how she uses Twitter as a way to stay in touch and connect with writing colleagues. She’s not looking for business there. Sharon reminds, too, how social sharing and interaction is a service in itself and goes beyond the scope of creating content, as a general rule. But, she also says, you want to promote your content and share the content of those who share your work. Whether your work was published on their site or not, isn’t the question. Value to your audience and sharing support are first.
I “met” Jenn on Twitter and it turns out, many of my favorite writing pros and friends were Jenn’s writing buddies, too. Jenn’s All Indie Writers site includes marketing and writing resources, helpful for all sorts of digital projects for my site or clients. See the benefit?
Like Jenn, I realize I am keeping the conversation going by connecting on Twitter with people I’ve met, often off Twitter, like Sharon. Or Ann Handley, who first visited here when I reviewed and created an infographic from her book, Everybody Writes. (I’m still laying on the floor from this one!)
I’ve stayed in touch with Ann since, in part, by connecting on Twitter.
Possibly my greatest Twitter victory EVER was this recent outcome from Ann Handley sharing a piece of my work (for the first time…YAY!!!) on the MarketingProf’s feed:
Psst. Did you see what Barry said!! Oh, my goodness. (I know, knock me flat on the floor AGAIN!!)
How do you measure that? Well, engagement, for one thing, the exciting engagement Ryan says gets you noticed) but some of these benefits can be slippery, hidden to some degree, too.
It’s not just sales that matter. Getting to know highly successful people in your field is an important part of connecting, learning, and growing your business.
If you need help with Twitter—to get started or to up your game—Sharon Hurley Hall has you covered! Sharon’s a go-to source for me, and in this Guide to Twitter Marketing on the Crazy Egg blog, she gives you details and how-to explanations for everything.
The ability to share information, ask a question, or knowing where to go for resources are valuable commodities but, impossible to measure.
In this econsultancy article by Celina Burnett, she talks about ways to measure the value of social media beyond dollars. She talks about brand tracking and even cost reduction, things you don’t always hear much about. Celina points out examples for measuring results, like one company using social media as a customer service platform, with this surprising result:
Setting up social media customer service channels has allowed BT to deflect 600,000+ contacts a year from the more expensive phone channel to social media, saving the business £2m a year.” ~Celina Burnett, econsultancy.com
I love this example, from Harvard Medical School showing how a workflow looks for SMM using goal-setting and attributions to link objectives to key results, in this post by Jay Shemenski.
To borrow Jay’s graphic, I recommend you use this map as a handy reference to build out a SMM Strategy, with accuracy and intent, to fit your business and audience needs, specifically:
Your Social Media Mindset
On the other hand, Cal Newport offers up a compelling argument in the New York Times, sparring against the use of social media to the extent of saying, “your career may depend on it.”
I do see Cal’s point in this article, and that’s why each business or individual needs to look at and weigh the benefits and detriments of using social media.
Some brands have no choice, needing to be present among competitors in their market or to maintain worldwide social interactions for a relevant digital brand presence. Interaction. Hmmm.
Being interactive and not just promoted as an SMM measure may be the golden goose to the perfect strategy. The smaller you are, though, the heavier this task weighs. It comes down to valuable time. And a commitment of resources.
Maybe that’s why Joanna Wiebe is so carefully examining time suck and the pull of social media at this point of year-end audits and new year scheduling.
Maybe that’s why Cal Newport denounces social media as if those of us trying to use it (even in a strictly business fashion?) are in some way trained rats, hooked on internet interactivity. Craving and needing a fix at frequent intervals. It may, he says, in fact, be a Pavlovian response becoming ingrained, forming a habit.
Yikes. Look out! Social distraction may be an actual addiction, Joanna!!
Again, Cal has an interesting point, and I think Jo’s assessment for getting a handle on time management for your best biz and self, parallels this final quote from Cal’s article:
If you’re serious about making an impact in the world, power down your smartphone, close your browser tabs, roll up your sleeves and get to work.” ~Cal Newport
Social Media Tightrope or Noose?
Finding the right balance. Time constraints—one big issue for engaging in Social Media Marketing–is a factor. But, if you’re still accomplishing “deep work” like Cal, Jo, and me too, recognize as a vital key to professional success, Social Media Marketing can be an asset for any business.
If you can’t find your balance and don’t do the work, your social will die, no noose needed.
The benefits of SMM range from:
- authority and reputation building to
- growing a network of core service partners, to
- attracting leads and increasing sales, to
- making friends, to
- quickly finding research, and a whole lot more.
But, like any business endeavor, a well-researched and strategized viewpoint will lead to better results. Along, of course, with consistency and work, until your balancing act resembles an agile acrobat on the social media wire.
Look at you! Sparkly and consistently balanced as you go, attracting more and more attention…
Special Note: Pick up this Social Media Marketing Checklist and Up Your Social Tightrope Skills right away! P.S. Share this post, please. It’s the social thing to do!