Social Media: A Waste of Your Time?

ClockWho was the first person you spoke to IRL (in real life) this morning? What did you talk about? Now, can you remember the first thing you read when you logged into Facebook?

If you’re like me, you have spent WAY too much time on countless social media sites over the past 2-3 years, obsessing over what your profile looked like, what your “friends” were up to, stalking pictures, and reading the never ending fire-hose of information from social news sites.

Good & Bad Investments

Any financial consultant will tell you that as you continue to add capital to an investment, the potential payoff increases exponentially over a period of time. As you continue to add to your investments, they begin to work harder for you. Also, any investment that doesn’t have a probability of a higher return than the capital invested would be considered a bad investment.

It is up to you how you spend your time. What baffles me are the crowds of people who complain about “not having enough time” but continue to make poor decisions with where they invest their time. Over the past few years I have done my share of time wasting online. As a night owl, I have logged more hours than most on YouTube, Wikipedia, Reddit, and numerous others. But choosing to waste time, and wasting time because of ignorance are completely different.

Social Media: The Time Suck

I am a fan of most popular social media sites, and frequent them often. Some of them have helped make me and my clients tens of thousands of dollars if not more. They are often entertaining and can sometimes be useful. But aimless activity in social media is the death of your time investments.

Everyone that works online should understand their goals with each social media site they invest time into. If you are spending time on any social site with no defined purpose, you are not going to get any real value out of your time invested in that site. Understanding begets focus begets success.

Good Investments in Social Media

One saying that my dad used to say is: “The Jack of all trades is the master of none.” Like most things, this holds true for social media as well. You simply can’t dominate Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Digg, Reddit, Delicious, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Flickr all by yourself. For your sanity and success you have to choose your spots.

What is the expected value for each social site you invest time into? If your goals are to build relationships and connect with people, the expected value in Reddit is likely 0. Understanding why you’re getting involved will not only help you set your goals, but also help you set your focus priority.

Trim the Fat

Once you have a clear understanding of your goals for social media and the sites you are going to use to help you reach them, it’s time to adjust your workflow. Remember, wasting time on purpose is a hobby, wasting time because of ignorance is inexcusable.

Some social media marketers suggest that a workflow for social media can take as little as 60 minutes per day. Setting up and refining a process will help keep you on track and stop you from wondering off into the far corners of the internet. Remember, this is work, you can play later.

Reap the Rewards

Refine your time spent on social media sites to focused attention and I’m betting you get hours back out of each day. In addition, the time you do spend will actually produce results, rather than remaining stagnant and unremarkable.

Continue to add and invest time into these refined processes and strategies, and eventually your momentum will begin to work for you. Like a good financial investment, time well spent in social media will eventually begin to snowball, and time you spend will have more and more affect in the end. Rather than having your efforts dispersed because your efforts were spread too thin, and your focus unrealized, more time spent will begin to mean bigger payoffs.

With an understanding of your goals, some focus, and a plan, anyone can plan and start an effective social media campaign.

Photo Credit: steve.grosbois

10 Replies to “Social Media: A Waste of Your Time?”

  1. Some of the best advice I have ever heard were along these lines – don’t try to master all the social networks, pick your top 3 (or so) and become a master of those. The point is you don’t need to feel like you have to be a part of every conversation going on, because if you do – you are going to fall into this trap of good and bad investments (as stated above) I enjoy the relationships I have made online, but I feel I have invested my time wisely – and that is your point – Good advice here Kenny! Thanks,

  2. Hell yeah. I just deleted my FB profile because it no longer served a purpose. Not sure it ever did, to be honest. I just felt like I should have been there. So I was. It came down to the fact that I used it for event planning and Scrabble, both of which are easily replaceable.

    1. HAH! If it weren’t for the fact that there are people on facebook that I can’t get ahold of anywhere else, I’d probably do the same!

  3. I’m pretty sure our sentiments are mutual on Facebook. As for the rest, I stay away from claiming ‘expertise’ on any of them, although I know way more than most. I focus my mastery on SEO, and I use social sites to glean information about that topic. Along the way I pick up bits and pieces about each of them and end up knowledgeable of their workings by shear osmosis.

    By the way, I think you should keep the comments open . . . just my humble opinion.

    1. Agreed. SEO is my primary profession as well, though I do make money in social media as well.

      I was just testing some stuff in prior weeks with closing comments. Thanks for the input! 🙂

  4. I spend about 5-10 minutes per day on Facebook. I go to my Fortune Cookies fan page in the morning and post a fortune from one of the several dozen cookies in my drawer. We eat a lot of chinese food at work. This is all I do and I’m approaching 11,000 fans (likers?). I’m steadily building an audience to listen when I have something meaningful to offer them aside from a poorly written but legitimate fortune. Oh, and lucky numbers.

    I spend approximately 0 minutes per day on Facebook for the company I’m with, but follow filtered searches on Twitter throughout the day to engage enthusiasts and potential customers. For my company, Twitter is infinitely more powerful than Facebook.

    1. I like the fortune idea, very creative.

      Twitter & Facebook can both be very effective tools, just different strokes..

  5. Kenny thanks for this. Being an A.D.D. marketer, thought I have never been officially diagnosed, sticking to just a couple social networks is about all I can handle. I get easily distracted by the new shiny ones but stick to the old ones that I have gained the most from. In fact, I spend most of my time on Twitter following only the people that have the most impact on my knowledge.

    1. It’s really all anyone can handle, if they tell you different, they’re lying to themselves. Or they’re a robot.

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