It’s hard not to get distracted on the social web. After all, every week there’s a new social media tip, tool, tactic or technique that comes along just begging for your attention.
I call them shiny objects.
They’re sparkling, tantalizing and we think that because everyone else has one, we need one too.
I get why they’re enticing. You see the headlines. You read about all of the results other people are getting and you don’t want to be left out. And, in some cases, some misguided speakers and consultants are even telling you to jump on every social network that you can.
But, all of this is just noise that takes your attention away from focusing on what really matters.
Does this sound like you?
You might suffer from shiny object syndrome if you:
- Have trouble sticking with one approach or strategy
- Feel like you’ve spread yourself too thin online
- Don’t feel like anything is working
- Constantly looking for the next “magic bullet”
How to avoid shiny object syndrome
Thankfully, there are a few ways to prevent contracting shiny object syndrome. Here are some tips:
Focus on your strategy.
Whenever a new social network or latest tool comes along, look at your strategy before you dive in. What are you trying to accomplish? Who are you trying to reach? Does this tool/social network align with your goals?
Just because the social network exists or because some of your customers or prospects MIGHT be there, does not mean you should invest time and resources there.
Do your homework.
Before you decide a social network might be right for you, it’s imperative to do some research first. I stress this a lot.
Here’s what this means:
- Use Google Alerts and Social Mention (they’re free!) to find out where people are talking about your business, your competitors and your industry.
- Send out a survey to your customers or ask them in conversations to see where they’re spending time online.
- Take a look at Google analytics to see where you’re traffic is coming from.
Once you do this, you should have a good idea of where you should start with social media efforts.
If you don’t take the time to find out where your people are hanging out online, you’ll end up dumping a lot of time and money into an effort that won’t help you drive results.
I often tell small businesses to pick one or two social networks to start with. This way, you can focus your attention and efforts on mastering them.
It takes time to see results with social media. If you spread yourself too thin right off the bat, your efforts may fizzle out because you can’t keep it up. It’s better to start slow and add more later than to let your social profiles become ghost towns.
Test and measure.
Once you get started with a social network, you need to track and measure your results to determine what’s working. That way, you can make educated decisions about where you should focus your efforts.
For example, my friend, Courtenay, thought that Facebook would be a good place to share information about her law firm. Turns out, it wasn’t. But, she had to test it first to find that out. After looking at website analytics, she learned that her time was better spent focusing on Twitter.
Hire a consultant.
If you’re still not sure where to spend your time on social media or how to get started, it might be time to hire some help.
Good consultants and marketing firms that specialize in social media strategy are not just well versed in the tools – they understand how social media plays into your overall marketing mix and impacts your business goals.
Because it’s their job to stay on top of the latest trends and tools, they can provide educated guidance on what would work best for you. And, they can even help you stay on track to make sure you don’t get distracted by all of those shiny objects.
What is your biggest struggle with staying focused on your social media strategy?
Image credit: Julie Faith