Almost everyone who has jumped on social media at one point or another has realized that this can be time consuming. That is the nature of the beast. But do not need be like that. You just need a plan.
Here are what I consider the top 10 habits of those who use social marketing efficiently and effectively:
1. Participate. Obviously. But really, update your status. Add some photos so your friends know you a little better. Mix personal with professional, comment, share, etc.
2. Find and USE tools that save you time. Ping.fm and HelloTxt are tools that let you stream your status updates to most social networking sites you may be a part of. And even sites that used to be strictly Twitter clients, such as TweetDeck and Hootsuite, now allow you to update multiple sites. Forget signing in to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. whenever you want to update your status.
3. Have a set deadline for your social marketing efforts. It’s very easy to look up and realize that you spent two hours talking and talking to friends and couldn’t do anything else (guilty!).
4. Connect with people on multiple sites. This allows you to establish a web presence. Heck, they’ll see you everywhere! And when they do, you will stand out in their minds a little more. They will automatically feel that they know you better. And they can think of you as an expert when they see you interacting and sharing valuable information with others.
5. Find an experienced virtual assistant of social media / internet marketing. Now this may seem like shameless self-promotion, but listen … It’s much easier to get in and take care of many of the little tasks that take time without distracting us. We know how to make the most of your social marketing efforts and can make suggestions for improvements. So think about it, ok?
6. If you want to submit news to improve the profile of your social news site, find popular news on one site and consider sending it to another site where it would do well. This works well on niche sites, which do not have the same level of activity as the larger general news sites.
7. Find the sites that work best for you and focus on them. Just because I’m encouraging you to be social doesn’t mean you need to be active daily on all existing sites. Focus on the most important ones (those where your JV customers / readers / partners / etc.) are and get past others as you get time.
8. Take advantage of tools like RSS readers. My preference is Netvibes. Instead of navigating from one blog to another, you can focus on the headlines and find the stories that matter to you. You can click to comment, post, trip, etc. Use your RSS reader’s tabs to separate different subjects. Then you can focus on one subject at a time and not be distracted.
9. Do to others what you would like them to do to you. Want more people to comment on your blog posts? Go out and actively comment on others (see item 8 above to avoid distractions!). Want more stumbles, Diggs, social bookmarking submissions? Regularly submit quality third-party content to these sites.
10. Last but certainly not least, know why you are there. Maybe this should be number 1? What is your intention for the site? Are you looking for more newsletter subscriptions? Want more exposure for your teleseminars? More customers? You must know why you are doing this before spending any time. Then configure your profiles to focus on that. Have your updates focused on this. The more diluted your message, the less results you will see.