This post may be reflective of where my brain is right now (June is traditionally a very busy month for me, and I’m starting to feel pretty burnt out), but I’ve been doing a lot of serious thinking lately about how much time I’m spending on social media.
As someone who considers it her job to be on the cutting edge, and always on top of what’s new, I see a lot of social media. Every new network is something I need to get an account on and explore, in case I get asked questions about it in a class, a workshop, or here on the blog. I need to be knowledgeable and up-to-date, and that requires a lot of constant research.
In addition, every day, I am active on about 10 different social networks. And by “active,” I mean, I am checking them at least once a day (often more) and posting to them. Networks like Facebook and Twitter (Hootsuite) are always actively running in my browser–I basically never log out of them. Every time I publish a blog post, I have a process I go through which involves posting it to usually around 6 different networks.
But here’s the question: where’s the ROI? Am I just blindly doing something because it’s a habit I’ve created? Or because of depression mentality?
Now, when I say depression mentality, I’m not referring to clinical depression, or even the more fleeting kind that accompanies a loss or a change in your life. I’m talking about The Great Depression that took place between WWI and WWII. When the Depression was over, some people became hoarders. They had lived without for so long, when they had access again to food or whatever it was they missed having the most during the Depression, they began to stockpile it, in case something like that ever happened again.
Sometimes, I feel like that with social media. I participate in things just in case. Just in case someone sees my post there, and it leads traffic to my blog. It’s a kind of digital hoarding.
Here’s the thing: it’s incredibly easy to see what’s working and what’s not. A quick look at my analytics, for example, tells me that I’ve had 51 hits from G+ over the last quarter. 51! That accounts for such a small amount of traffic, that I could cut that step (and the time it takes me to complete it) from my posting routine, and it probably wouldn’t make any difference to my traffic whatsoever.
Additionally, because social media has now reached the saturation point, I think it’s important to really choose what tools work best for you, and focus on those. You’ll be able to do a much better job and build your following much easier. I love, for example, how Steve Dotto has focussed on YouTube for the past year. The results are impressive.
It’s a big shiny world, and there’s always going to be something new coming along that might be “the next Facebook.” But in the mean time, find the thing that works best for you, and put your heart and soul into it. For me, it’s blogging, and growing my Twitter and Instagram followings, which support my blogs (Twitter for this blog, and Instagram for my cooking blog).
It’s hard not to be distracted. I have that creative and artistic mindset that is constantly seeking out the next shiny thing. But time is finite, and for your personal brand and for ROI, it’s best to find your focus and spend your energy there. The results will be worth it in the long run.