Recently Jay Bear argued that Social Media isn’t simple. In part he was referring to the fact that you can’t automate social media and expect to get much out of it, which I agree with, but in part I also think he refers to the fact that social media can be time intensive.
He is partially correct in this assessment. Social media can be time intensive, particularly if you aren’t sure what you are doing with social media, or who you are trying to reach. One of the mistakes I see businesses frequently do is get onto a lot of social media sites, without really considering if those sites are appropriate or useful for contacting the audience the business wants to reach. They then get overwhelmed by trying to maintain a presence on those sites. And what will also happen is they won’t figure out what features they need to use on a given site. This results in a business that doesn’t know what to do on social media sites and is overwhelmed by trying to be on all of them.
We need to step away from this idea that businesses need to be on all social media sites or even that it’s an absolute requirement that they be on Twitter, Facebook, etc. There’s this idea that because these sites are talked about a lot, you need to be on them, but the reality is that Twitter, even though its discussed a lot, is a site where only 8% of Americans are on. Facebook on the other hand has over 52% of Americans on it. If you own a business in the US, Facebook is probably the better site to be on.
If we want to simplify social media, we need to look at what sites we really need to be on and then figure out what activities need to be done to get in front of our audience. It’s really that simple, if we allow it to be. You still need to dedicate time to your social media efforts, but instead of trying to be on each site, you can focus on being on the sites that will actually put you in front of your audience and do the activities that will help them understand how you can help them.
Social media is only as complex as we make it, much like other things in life. With proper planning, consistent action, and knowing what you want to accomplish with your social media activity, you can make social media simple and achieve measurable results.