Social Media Lessons Learned! Am I the only one, or did you feel like the last year just flew by? It seemed like such a challenge most days just to ‘keep up.’ I kept thinking how nice it would be to have an hour to just sit and “think” about things. I finally took some time between Christmas and New Year’s to look back and ask myself what were some lessons learned as we dove deeper into social media and online marketing. In keeping with our commitment to simplify this year, here are my key take-aways about social media from 2011. The cycle in itself is fairly simple: Plan, Execute, Measure, Repeat.
Social Media Lessons: Proactive or Reactive?
It’s so easy to be drawn in by the hype, and to be driven by the fear, that if you’re not online 24-7, you’re going to miss something important. It’s that same fear and fascination with new things that can drive us to open accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, etc. without having a strategy. Before you know it, you’ve got 5 things going at once, a serious battle with “overwhelm,” and a sinking feeling that your efforts are too scattered to yield any significant results. And you may well be right.
Social Media Lessons Learned: You Gotta Have a Plan
How do you correct a scattered approach to social media?
I remember reading once how Jason Falls answered this question. Using the analogy of packing up your family for vacation, he asked if you typically pile your family into the car and take off down the road without reservations, tickets, directions, a full tank of gas and clothes packed? Just like your vacation, starting with a plan for your social media marketing is critical to your success. You can have multiple goals, but each goal needs to be singular, to help keep your efforts focused. Some examples of goals might be to increase traffic to your website, to build your email list or to identify the influencers in your industry on each of your social networks.
Social Media Lessons: Listen Closely
Part of your planning phase needs to identify and define your audience. You can’t be everywhere all the time. Take time to build that audience profile and identify the questions they’re asking. The “listening” component in social media is a gold mine of information about what questions your audience is asking and what buzz words they’re using. If you’re just starting, don’t expect sales right off. They call it SOCIAL media for a reason—relationships take time!
Social Media Lessons: Turn Off the Fire Hose
Having a plan also helps you to weed through the stream of “too much information.” Having the time to attend a webinar or training session is one challenge. The bigger challenge is finding the time to execute what you learn. As you look back at your goals, be picky about committing to sessions and be sure you make time in your schedule for implementing what you learn. Look for that strategy component. Knowing the “why” behind what you’re doing is the most valuable piece of any learning experience.