There are literally hundreds of social media sites with many different purposes, and you could easily devote your entire week to exploring new sites, maintaining your connections, and updating your profiles! Unfortunately, although effective social networking can and does lead to business opportunities, you can’t make a living at it, so it’s important to use your online time effectively.
Here are five tips to help you do just that.
1. Identify the sites that offer the most value for your business
If you use Facebook mainly to play games and reconnect with old friends, limit your visits to non-work times. You can still share your blog posts, post your business events, and link to your website, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that the time you spend on Facebook is helping you grow your business.
2. Connect with people in your target market
It’s great to network with other people in your industry – you can probably learn a lot from each other – but keep in mind that this should not be your main focus. If your goal is to find new clients, you need to connect directly with people in your target market, or with people who can introduce you to potential clients.
3. Choose your contacts wisely
Remember that networking isn’t about numbers; it’s about relationships. Don’t feel you have to accept every connection request you receive, especially from people who don’t explain why they want to connect with you. If you’re afraid of closing the door on a potentially valuable relationship, initiate a conversation. If the person does not respond, they’re not really interested in getting to know you, and you don’t need them on your contact list.
4. Create a schedule for your social networking
Unlike live networking events which may conflict with your best working hours, online networking can be done at any time of the day or night. Schedule specific times to visit high value sites. For some people, it may be 15 to 30 minutes at the end of each day; others may prefer to block half a day every week. The important thing is that you don’t allow it to cut into your billable hours.
5. Hire a virtual assistant to help you stay on top of things
Although you can’t really outsource relationship building, there are many ways a VA can reduce the time you spend on social media, including setting up your profiles, locating appropriate people for you to connect with, and logging into your accounts on a regular basis to deal with routine items and let you know about those that require your attention.
If you’ve avoided social media because you think it will be too time-consuming, you may be missing out on a valuable marketing tool. When you strategically select your sites and contacts and use your time wisely, you will be pleasantly surprised to see what can happen!
Today’s Question: How do you keep yourself on track when using social media?