Managing Your Social Networking Efficiently in 2009

With the economy making things harder every day, companies are looking for new, creative, and affordable ways to reach their customers. The state of the economy ensures that social media will continue to grow rapidly throughout 2009.

Of course, with social media still being a relatively new concept, a lot of companies don’t know how much time to put into it or how to measure its ROI. For many, this leads to frustration and eventually to a denouncing of social media marketing as a fad that fails to live up to the hype.
For this reason, I think it’s important to discuss setting social media goals and managing social media campaigns more efficiently in 2009.

Defining Social Media Success

One of the reasons social media marketing is difficult to sell is because everyone seems to have a different definition of what success is. For some, generating a large amount of inbound links is enough. Others want to get a lot of followers on Twitter or Facebook. And some people define success as others commenting on their blog or interacting with them on the social network of their choice.

But the problem is these aren’t the only benefits that you can get from social media. Sure, they’re the easiest to measure, but social media is about more than traffic and link building. It’s about increasing brand awareness, improving customer relationships/retention, getting instant feedback on your ideas, monitoring your online reputation, building your authority, connecting with others who can help you, and simply learning new tips and techniques from others that you can use in your business. Of course, all of the things I just mentioned can’t really be measured on a neat little graph which is why social media has so many detractors.

However, instead of getting mad because you don’t have a firm grasp on how effective your social media marketing is, why not try being more efficient?

Maximizing Social Media Efficiency

So, what can you do to get the most out of the time you put into social media? Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Think Twice before Following- Whether it’s an RSS feed or someone on Twitter, always take a second to ask yourself “Should I really be following this? Do I have time to properly devote to it? And is there a potential gain in it for me?” If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you shouldn’t follow them. Don’t overload your social media plate; otherwise, you won’t be able to focus on the things that really make it profitable in the long run.
  • Tools are Your Friend- Instead of hopping from one social media site to another, use tools that bring them all together in one quick, easy to use interface. Frankly, there are so many tools out there that do this that it’s not fair to link to just one or two. Here’s a good list of the top social media tools you can use to boost your efficiency.
  • Set a Schedule- Social media can be highly addictive. Many of us don’t even realize how much time we spend on it. That’s why it’s a good idea to set a schedule or to track the time you spend on social media. How can you know how much time you’re wasting if you don’t track how long you’re using these sites? A schedule will help you focus on getting the most out of your time and on reaching your social media goals.
  • Keep Your Goals in Mind- Whether your goals are easy to track (links, traffic, etc.) or a bit murkier (brand awareness, strength of relationships, etc.), you should always keep them in mind when using social media. Everything you do should be a stepping stone toward reaching that goal. For instance, if your goal is to create relationships you can leverage, make sure to spend time each day interacting with the people who can make this a reality. Sure, a comment or a Tweet here or there might not seem like much, but you’re steadily increasing the strength of your relationships with each one.
  • Be Consistent- Despite its instant interactivity, social media marketing isn’t a short-term strategy. It requires a long-term commitment in order to reap true success. By staying consistent with your efforts, you’ll never fall behind, and your efficiency will be at peak levels. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

Do you have a social media plan for 2009? Share it with us in the replies!

About Eric Brantner

You can follow Eric on Twitter at @Eric_Brantner.