Social Media – Boon for business or waste of time?

I am asked this question every day. Is social media really good for my business or is it just a time waster??

Easy. It’s both. Social media is what you make of it. If you really want to use social media for your business then you need to stay focused on what your goals are. You need to have goals for how you expect it to work for you and a social media plan.You may need to hire a social media coach, or a little help with implementation, or you might be able to do it all on your own. This varies from business to business and depends a lot on whether you are a solo-preneur trying to do it all or you have a team at your disposal.

Can social media be a black hole for your energy?
Absolutely. But that’s a choice you make. If you allow yourself to be distracted by the shiny new applications, the games, the videos and the banter you may very well find it’s a waste of your time. Let’s face it, even without social media there are plenty of distractions in the workplace and online. If it’s not for business, then you shouldn’t be doing it at work.

So how do you take control and bend social media to fit your business?
Be realistic about the time you have to spend on social media. Start with an hour a day commitment and stick to that until it pays off. Then decide if more time is warranted. You’ll see what networks work for you and which don’t. Get rid of the ones that don’t or re-assess why it’s not working.

Get some good tools. Hootsuite allows you to manage your social media profiles and get back some good data to boot. Use their dashboard to schedule important posts so you don’t dump them on your network all at once, and use their analytics to decide when is a good time for you to participate in your social networks and which posts are he most effective and at what times people are responding to you.

Set up good social listening tools. These can be set up to listen for mentions of you, your business, your competitors and your market. Let these tools bring the news to you.

Create a social media schedule so you make sure to get everything you need done accomplished and assign people on your team to get it done.

If you can’t do it all yourself, there are a lot of basic things you can outsource to professional social media help without compromising the integrity of the relationships you’re trying to build. Hire somebody who has a demonstrated social media presence and track record.

Bottom line?
Social media is a lot of fun and it can be very good for business. Or it can be a tremendously fun and un-productive time suck. You decide which it’s going to be.

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Great info, it’s true that social media is what you make of it. Thanks!


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