Social media can be a time suck. But if you clean up your act a bit, and focus on what’s important, social can actually save you time and bring in new business. So claim your independence from all that’s holding you back! You know, like this stuff:

Social Media Time Suck #1: Worrying too much about the competition

Don’t spend so much time lurking around other people’s social media profiles to see if you’re missing something, doing things “right,” or staying on trend. The only way to stand apart and be heard above all the noise is to be unique. Follow your gut – not your competitors.

Social Media Time Suck #2: Chasing “likes” and followers

Vanity metrics are an important component of your overall social media analytics, but they should not be your sole focus. An audience – of any size – that’s engaged (commenting and clicking on, sharing and liking your content and reviewing your products and services) is far more valuable than buying Likes and Followers to gain a larger quantity. When you share content that your audience is interested in, that entertains or informs them, on a regular basis, your Likes and Followers will grow organically. These are the consumers who will pay more for your products and services, and recommend you to their friends, because they have come to see you as a trusted brand and solid source for information on your industry. Pay attention to Impressions, Engagement and Reach.

Social Media Time Suck #3: Being chained to analytics

Are your eyes crossing from staring at Google reports or graphs of retweets and mentions? Can you recite your influence and engagement levels in your sleep? Step away from the analytics! Not forever, mind you. But, don’t be so caught up in what they say – especially if you’re just starting out. Instead, immerse yourself in the engagement! Start conversations, share great content, write even better content, say “hello” to new followers – just enjoy the social space and when you do check your analytics again, you just might be surprised at the rise in all of those numbers.

Social Media Time Suck #4: Social shortcuts

You the know the stuff: hitting “retweet” on great content rather than taking the time to add a thought or two about why you’re sharing it. Or clicking the “connect” button on LinkedIn instead of sending a personalized email letting someone know that you’d like to connect – and why. These shortcuts might help you get things done faster, but they’re a waste of your valuable time that could be spent connecting in more meaningful ways.

Social Media Time Suck #5: Focusing only on high profile accounts 

I know a lot of folks whose M.O. is to only follow back or engage with high profile twitter accounts. They believe that engaging with anyone else will only make them look less important.  The truth is that spending time engaging with accounts that have smaller followings is most likely a valuable use of your time. These folks may turn out to be your greatest assets. They are the ones who’ll engage the most, share your content and make time for conversations. Remember this: with just 140 (okay, 280) characters, there is no room for ego. Arrogance is a complete waste of time. Be humble, respectful, and generous. Authenticity rules in social media.

Social Media Time Suck #6: Hashtagitis

Hashtags can be beneficial in helping others find your content. But putting hashtags in front of every other word of your tweet makes them hard to read, and makes you look either A) like you don’t know what you’re doing, or B) desperate. Be selective about which hashtag(s) you use, and remember that one or two is quite enough. Any more than three, and you’ve gone too far. If you’re not sure which hashtags to use, try using a tool like http://hashtagify.methat lets you type in your topic and spits out the top trending associated hashtags.

Managing your brand’s social media profiles can be daunting and time consuming. If you’d like some help getting started, reach out! We get pretty geeked up around here talking about all things marketing.

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