Your boss told you it’s time to start “doing” social media, so you enrolled in a Social Media Boot Camp and learned the basics. Now you are wondering if this is time well spent. Are you making an impact, or floundering? Feeling overwhelmed? Good – that’s normal.
At first, diving into social media is kind of like real life diving. Suddenly you’re surrounded – not by water and underwater creatures, but a stream of tweets and posts coming at you constantly. Are they friendly? Or will they bite? It’s overwhelming in the first few days/weeks, so you come up for air, unsure of any of it.
Hang in there! What you are experiencing is a normal response to navigating the social media waters. Here’s a few tips on swimming in the right direction rather than simply floating:
- Take a deep breath and relax. You will NOT be able to consume every post and tweet so don’t even try. Once you accept that, you will relax.
- Filter the noise. When you first join Twitter, you’ll follow about 20 people and you can keep up with most of it. But when you’re following 1000, it’s impossible to make sense of it – unless you filter it. Use HootSuite, a social media dashboard to categorize people into lists. For example: customers, prospects, industry thought leaders, team members and topics. Now when you look at the streams of tweets divided into those lists, your brain has an idea of how to take it in.
- Actively target your prospects. Rather than just floating around posting here or there, decide WHO you want to engage with and then find them in the social channels. For example, who are the industry thought leaders in your area of expertise? Does he or she have a blog or e-newsletter? Does that person tweet? Usually thought leaders are also bloggers and actively involved in social media. Get on their radar by retweeting their content and commenting on their blog posts. You will become their champion and they will most likely return the favor. Use Twitonomy to figure out what hashtags and topics your prospects use most often, and then join them there.
Taking the plunge into social media can feel like jumping into a lake where you don’t know what’s lurking beneath the surface (ew). A good set of goggles and flippers (social media filters and tools) can make a murky situation, crystal clear.