Sunday, January 31, 2021

Who’s the boss? – Social media and business users


[Thinking man*]

At an online meetup session sponsored by the ATA Mastermind group, the moderators noted the importance of managing use of social media in terms of proper time investment. Just as in face-to-face meetings, it is neither practical nor healthy to be interacting with people every waking hour of a day. They noted several factors for a healthy presence on social media, including focus, frequency, feeling and effectiveness. Clearly, the ratio of time investment to benefit should be appropriate.

[Upward chart]
Whatever the media, including Facebook, Tweeter, Linked and Instagram, the participant can attain enjoyment, information, work or strategic position. Clearly, people follow certain sites for the pure pleasure of the content, whether it be pictures of cats or jokes about husbands, to name a few that I have heard of. It is perfectly legitimate to start and even end the day with a smile on the face. Information sites are more practical as colleagues are often the fastest source of help in overcoming the challenges of running a business and solving technical mysteries. Many freelancers actively use social media either to advertise their goods and services or find customers, a practice that has only increased in the last year. Finally, for certain services, a constant presence on social media is a key factor in creating and maintaining a market presence. All these results are potential benefits of social media use.

[Media types]
Given the sheer number of media types and forums, it is neither possible nor desirable to be everywhere even if you are a full-time social media director. The ideal strategy is to identify a few forums where your target audience, whether customers, colleagues or both, are found and continually monitor and participate in them. Not only will the time spent managing the media stay reasonable but the long-term benefit will be substantially higher as you become known or you catch the available job minutes after it is posted. Clearly, identifying the ideal forum is partly a matter of trial and error and may need to be assessed periodically. Still, properly directed efforts are a worthwhile investment of time.

Unlike teenagers during the summer vacation, business people generally have too many tasks to accomplish during a day. This fact creates the need for prioritization and scheduling. Social media management is one of these tasks and should be conducted when and how often as required, depending on the goal. Information and marketing can be on once a day without any loss while lead searching is a time-dependent goal and may have to done more frequently to be effective. However, it is clear that a one-minute scan of new posts should not regularly turn into a half hour break because it means that more vital tasks are being postponed. To attain the best results, scheduling a regular time for business media monitoring ensures proper attention without overinvestment of time.

One of the keys to daily and long-term success is positive energy. In other words, people must strive to eliminate any avoidable factor that saps energy. In practice, any site whose content and discussions mainly contain pessimism, hostility and one-upmanship should be avoided as their damage is greater than any benefit they provide. By contrast, forums that professionally and objectively discuss dilemmas help us form an opinion as if we had personally talked with a colleague. Thus, it is vital not only to consider the content of the media but also its tone. As said, since social media is an alternative, albeit a forced one, to face-to-face discussions, always choose positive people even if they disagree with you. You should feel encouraged after a personally social media exchange.

Bull and bear]

The ultimate test of social media time is the benefit attained. The assessment depends on the desired goal. For example, one or two leads a month may justify the time spent monitoring a certain site while it may be necessary to wait a year before reaping the benefits of a long-term marketing campaign. For information sites, an effective and quick solution for a time-consuming problem may justify a regular scan of the posts as it shows that that the site can be beneficial. As for the sites that makes us laugh, the measure is obvious – it makes us smile almost every morning. By contrast, if the site content is generally not relevant for whatever reason, it would be advisable to search for a better forum in terms of the time investment.

Entrepreneurs can utilize social media to improve their business or allow it to sap their time and energy. A conscious decision of how and where to allocate work time leads to effective use of these media for the intended purpose. These choices need to be periodically reassessed as circumstances change. It is vital that the entrepreneurs make active choices and show that they are the boss.

* Pictures allow the blind to fully access the Internet. All picture via Pixabay.

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