Just Say No – You mean I don’t need every social network?

juggling balancing social mediaWith the variety of social media avenues to take, how do you choose the best one for you and your cause? You may be hindering your message by blasting it across a variety of mediums rather than using particular social media avenues.

There is a common and telling tale.

You started small by posting snippets to Facebook, but you noticed that someone “favorited” your Tweet and gave your YouTube video a “thumbs up.” Your efforts seemed effective and manageable so you created an Instagram profile, a Vine account, and a corner of the web for your business’ Google+ timeline. You are gaining followers here and there so you assume you should continue to manage these accounts. Before you realize it, you are drowning in your own efforts with very little progress to show for all of your hard work. What do we do when we find we are spread too thin across social media platforms?

Here are four important questions to ask of the way you are using social media:

1. Am I looking at the big picture when using social media?
When is the last time you took inventory of your social media? Very practically speaking, sit down and survey what social media accounts you are currently juggling. You may find that you are devoting time and energy to more channels than you realize. By stepping back and looking at the big picture of your social media efforts, you are bound to see mediums that are wasting time while others effectively accomplish your goals. Speaking of goals…

2. Am I considering what goal(s) I have for my social media?
Notice above when I said you may find yourself with “little progress to show for all of your hard work.” Your social media networks should be working for you (not the other way around) in order to accomplish your goal(s). Do you have specific goals attributed to your social media tools? If so, are you seeing progress toward your goal with the social media tool that you are using? How would you know your process unless you are surveying the facts?

3. Am I surveying the facts of my traffic?
Having looked at the big picture of your social media efforts and reestablished your goals, now consider what channels are working and what are not working. Remember that social media is not the end in and of itself but is a means to accomplish your goal. If your goal is to drive traffic to a specific page that you oversee and your social media channel is not effectively assisting in making that happen, then why are you pouring your energy into it?instagram

On my personal book review site, the primary way in which readers enter my site is by way of Twitter and Facebook and I verify that by reviewing Google Analytics. Do you have tools in place to measure your website? Without thinking it through, I jumped on the social media bandwagon and started an Instagram account in which I showed pictures of the new book covers. Candid snapshots of the book cover are both fun to edit and provides a window for my audience into my life as a reader — Great idea! Though this is great for my personal ego, as I witnessed a following quickly develop and began “liking” my images. I began to realize that these followers were not converting into either website page visits or newsletter sign-ups. Rather than spending time adjusting image filters in hopes that another follower double-taps my upload, why not focus on text-based social media avenues that better cater toward my audience of readers? Not only should I give my attention to those particular social media channels that are effective but it is also perfectly fine for me to say no to social media platforms that are not effectively accomplishing my goals.

4. Am I able to say no to social media platforms?
When you see individuals gaining popularity because of YouTube, it is tempting to try and beef up your presence on YouTube. In reality, that growth is on account of taking advantage of the best platform for their particular message. Be able to assess which is the best channel for your content and, more importantly, say no to methods that are poor vehicles for reaching your desired audience. Sometimes the hardest action to take is to take no action at all and, in this case, it may be better to refrain from adding one more social media network to your long list of daily requirements.

Have you found it difficult to manage the variety of ways you engage with your audience? Might it be time to take an inventory of your channels and, dare I say it, deactivate a channel or two? We would love to hear your thoughts if you have dealt with this firsthand.