Who 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.