As businesspeople we spend most of our time working out details. Our lives are consumed by the planning and execution of stuff. “Getting things done” seems to be the reason that we get up in the morning. What we don’t do as often as we should is ask ourselves why?
This post is about the “why?” of social media
Why is it that we do the things that we do? Sometimes that question may feel ridiculous – like why do we call to check up on an old client, or why do we give talks to groups when they ask us to attend? Those things seem to require no justification, but it is worthwhile to look at the outcome that we’re hoping to gain from those activities: Was the client we met with ever likely to repurchase, or were any of the people in our talk’s audience ever likely to provide any real business benefit?
Social media is no different
Hundreds, even thousands of self-proclaimed social media experts have attempted to define what the purpose of social media is and the single best way that it should be used.
I guess that I’m a guy writing a blog post about the why of social media, so I’m no different, but my intention is to convince you that the business benefits that can be gained are as broad as you can come up with, but first you must come up with one.
Twitter for the sake of Twitter is little than a grown-up multi-player video game
Video games are fantastic for entertainment, especially when you get to interact with other people in them – some of them were the only reasons that I survived my first few semesters of University – but no one is sitting in his office playing Starcraft and calling it a business activity.
Millions of productive hours are wasted every day by businesspeople who scroll through feeds rather than doing real market research, or repin incessantly rather than review financials. As the Admin for 39 Facebook, 10 Twitter, 5 Youtube, 4 Pinterest and 3 Instagram accounts – among others – I am certainly guilty of scrolling without a cause on occasion.
The way to avoid social media wheel spinning is to take a huge step back and consider why the hours that you’re spending on there are worth the valuable hours that you could otherwise be devoting to your business.
You’re thinking: “The social media guy isn’t really telling me to leave my Twitter account unattended, is he?”
No, I’m not. What I am telling you is that you are doing your business a disservice if you don’t clearly define what you intend to get out of social media in a certain time period, then turn around and evaluate whether those goals were met.
In next week’s post I’ll explore the potential benefits that a business can realistically look to gain from a reasonable amount of time spent on social media, but for now I’ll tell you that it’s got nothing to do with your Klout Score or Follower count.
For this week, I encourage you to look at your days and weeks and consider how many hours are being spent on your social media efforts.
Tally that number up, then think about all of the things that go unfinished at the end of every week, or what some extra time left over to add to the things that are delivering the most benefit to your business could do.
If those things outweigh the benefit that your business is getting out of your social media efforts, then you owe it to your business to either reduce the amount of time that you’re spending there, or redevelop your social media strategy.
Check back next week for the real, tangible benefits that social media could be delivering to your business.