Social Media: A Waste of Your Time?

Social Media

by Kenny Hyder

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

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