Social Media experts and gurus are EVERYWHERE these days.  They tell us we MUST do this and we MUST do that.  And if we aren’t yet on Twitter, Facebook, Squidoo, LinkedIn and all kinds of Forums EVERY day, we must be losing out.  But are we really losing out if we aren’t using ALL of these tools ALL of the time?

After more than six months of being bombarded with all of the hype and quite frankly, pressure, and getting involved in most of the social media tools, I’ve taken a step back to evaluate.  And I found that I need to make some modifications so that social media best fits WHAT I do and WHO I want to be friends, fans, and follow with.

Help buttonObservations:

  1. Its’ okay to be choosy.  There are a LOT of people on all the Media tools, just like the hype says.  For my potential prospects though, they aren’t on ALL the sites in droves and droves.  Identifying where they “hang out” and focusing my energies there will allow what I share and what I can learn to be more meaningful.
  2. Spending hours every day plugging into these sites is NOT necessary.  More important is finding a good pattern and frequency that realistically works for me.  And there are great tools to help me “stack” messages to be dripped out when I doing my “real” work and am not available.
  3. A long list of YOU MUSTs is frustrating.  I’m a small business owner, like many of you, and adding MUSTs to my daily lists became overwhelming.  I experimented and found that I could easily spend 4-6 hours a day just keeping up with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.  When does my “real” work of selling and servicing get done?  And when do I communicate “live” with anyone (including my children?)
  4. Stepping back to evaluate how these tools fit into the overall strategy – for both marketing and sales is extremely important!  it was really easy to get into task-mode and just DO all the things the experts said I should.  One day I actually said “Stop the craziness!” and stepped back to evaluate. And I made adjustments to my social media strategy.
  5. Social media helps some people hide from other sales activities.  Its easy to feel that we are being productive when we are so busy…but are we picking up the phone and advancing the sale?  Many products and services cannot be sold well without something more than hoping social media sites drive people to say “yes”.  Of course e-marketing and selling does work  – but it needs to be a piece of a sales and marketing plan.
  6. Like most “tools”, social media tools need to be in the right hands and used for the right job to be most effective

Those are my observations at this time.  With an emerging trend and tools, things might be very different a few months from now.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not negative on social media at all.  I think it is VERY powerful when used appropriately and within a strategy.  I see that to use it effectively takes planning and then the best results will follow.

What do you think? What are your experiences and observations with social media?  Am I on track or full of smoke?

And if you would like to  follow  me on  Twitter, click on that link for my details (I promise not to bombard you with meaningless messages.)