I came across a phrase recently that really resonated with me. Stop Glorifying Busy. We’ve all been there. Everyone is so keen to prove how busy and important they are, rushing here there and everywhere, that it’s easy to just assume that it all must be doing something worthwhile.
Digital marketing is no different. Clients complain about two main problems.
- It’s distracting – they can’t focus on work because there’s too much chatter going on.
- They don’t have time to keep everything up to date.
I must confess it’s true. Twitter is the easiest way to lose a day. One minute you’re trying to research local businesses and the next you’re working out whether John Travolta is inappropriate and examining Oscar dresses and an hour’s gone by (never happened to me, no never).
If you are using social media socially, then fine. However if you are looking to social media to grow your business, then it’s vital that you get the results you want – otherwise you can spend hours online and achieve very little.
So here are some rules to follow to turn you into a Digital Marketing Ninja.
Rule Number 1 – Know Your Limits
Stop trying to do too much. I tell all of my clients not to overdo it, especially in the early stages. It’s an easy trap to fall into – to think you need to maintain all of them, write a blog, write a newsletter as well as trying to squeeze in some actual work. It’s a sure fire way to get loads done for about a week and then give up.
I don’t believe that you have to be on all networks. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and they are not all going to be right for your business. Facebook for example is hard work at the moment and you need to be sure the effort will be worth it.
Pick one network and use it well. Get to know exactly how it works to the best of your advantage.
Which network should that be? Well it depends. Take a look and ask yourself a two questions. Are my clients here? Do I enjoy using it? If the answer to either of these is No, then you’re probably not going to get much back and you should look at another.
As your activity grows you can gradually add more. If you find you don’t have time, then consider outsourcing some of it but whatever you do don’t spread yourself too thin..
Rule Number 2 – Set Some Goals
It’s so much easier if you have some defined goals. Get a piece of paper and decided what you want digital marketing to do for you. Whether it’s raising your profile, finding new customers, getting insider info, keeping track of industry developments or showing off your expertise, keep these in mind when you’re posting. What is this post doing for me? They don’t all have to be sales messages, they should be anything but they should have a purpose.
Rule Number 3 – Choose your target
Give some serious thought to who you want to talk to. What does your ideal client look like and what do they want to see? Aim all of your messages at them. Will they find this interesting? Will they find this funny? Will they care? Do you need to do quite that many networking hours? Obviously you will have other followers, but they will come and go. Keep your activity focused on the ones you really care about.
Rule Number 4 – Plan in advance
Now this can be controversial. Many people say that you should schedule your posts (particularly on Twitter) as it ruins the magic. However I would argue that these people have too much time on their hands and maybe don’t understand what it’s like to have a business to run in the meantime. Scheduling platforms such as Buffer (the best one) or Hootsuite or Tweetdeck all allow you to work out exactly what messages you need to share, to provide balance and a steady flow.
Rule Number 5 – Talk to People
This doesn’t mean that’s all you have to do. Engagement is the key to social media. So many people just talk about themselves and never listen (not just on social media either). The beauty of planning your content in advance, is that it frees up a lot of the time and mental headspace you need to really talk to other people. You don’t need to panic that you can’t think of something to post, because it’s already done. Instead, take the time to listen and respond to your network; reply to posts, comment on articles. Here is where you will find the real value and the real relationships.
Rule Number 6 – Resist temptation
Sometimes, (oh who am I kidding) I find it hard to resist temptation. Therefore I there are days when I need to be fairly ruthless about my activity. I use lists to organize my Twitter feeds. I will often just look at my ‘local businesses’ list if I want to engage with my network, or just look at my ‘social media experts’ list if I’m looking for specific information. I follow pages as my business on Facebook and just look at those, so I’m not tempted to flick through random wedding photos.
Rule Number 7 – Give yourself a break
Having said that I love social media. It has given me a huge amount of knowledge and conversations I never would have had. Some of those conversations have led to business, a lot of them haven’t. It makes me laugh. It stops me from being lonely when I’m working in the office all day. So allow the cat pictures, and the Frozen parodies and the ballet dancers. Make yourself a cup of coffee and dive in. Just don’t kid yourself that it’s always work.
Rule Number 8 – Let It Go
It’s important to keep your social media content consistent. Don’t post sporadically from month to month, don’t spend a whole day on it and then leave it alone for 6 weeks. However, having said that, don’t feel it has to take over your life. Several times a year I ‘go dark’. There’s not point scheduling posts if I’m not intending to look at any responses for fortnight so I don’t bother. Family holidays, Christmas, the odd tired weekend and I won’t look at it at all. Do you know what? No one’s died, no worlds have crumbled and the poles didn’t switch. We’ll all still be here when you get back.
So there you have it. Make sure your social media is working for you. To quote Kate Winslet ‘Here’s to making it count’
If you want to learn more about how to plan your social media activity, or gain in-depth knowledge about a particular platform, take a look at my Social Media School Workshops or book yourself a training session.