I am not an online marketing professional, nor am I a social media expert. Yet I have realised how important it is to be connected on many different platforms. In this blog I share my thoughts on keeping your sanity and credibility whilst building and maintaining your online presence.
There are numerous social media sites – all with different audiences and purposes. There are quite a few conferencing and webinar tools at your fingertips to choose from. Someone suggests that short videos are the next best was to connect. Then you must blog and make sure your website is representing your brand in a way that excites and invites people to do business with you. Not to mention at some point you also have to do the work that actually makes you money.
You could spend most of your working hours updating profiles, writing posts, hash tagging, commenting, liking and uploading. You could employ or contract someone to do it. But you need to ask yourself what will bring you the most money, build your online and business profile/credibility, and what tools are most effective for your business. Then add the question, “How do I balance it all so that I am not sitting on the couch at night with my family still doing ‘work’ tasks?”
I got stuck in this cycle of trying to cover all platforms – posting and blogging everywhere and all hours of the day. I spent hours attempting to make and upload that natural off the cuff three-minute video of me just saying hi to the watchers and sharing a thought that would change someone’s life! A blog would take at least two hours by the time I wrote it, edited it, uploaded it, found the right picture and then shared link. I would wake up in the morning, go for my run then spend 20 minutes checking social media before breakfast! By the end of each working day at least half of it was spent online jumping from one site to another. And if I went to a seminar that was teaching me something about an online platform you were lucky if you saw me for the next couple of days as I applied everything I had learnt with the promise of super exposure and business opportunities.
What changed? I took some time off and saw that my business and profile didn’t disappear just because I wasn’t all over it every day. I saw that there is true value in being connected, yet the value comes from a balanced, healthy and strategic approach. I thought about who was my online audience – and what they wanted to see so they could connect with my products, my professional services and me. I also looked, very closely, at which platforms were more likely to convert into sales, create brand awareness, and which were just ‘social’.
So I came up with my plan. I investigated what are the most engaging posts for different social media platforms and action that. The platforms that serve my business and book best are newsletters, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. I give no more than one hour per day up keeping my online presence. I make face to face contact and phone calls my priority. I have learnt to use Zoom to conference and webinar. I reuse and recycle a lot of my writing so that I can cover many options and platforms with little effort. I write for businesses that have huge followings online so that I increase my profile organically through that. I chat (face to face or on the phone) a lot to my friends who are online savvy or doing something that I find impressive, and discover what I could be doing differently, and how to do it without paying someone.
To be successful in the business world you have to be connecting with your audience on a regular basis. This has always been the case; it is just now we have many more ways online to increase our exposure for little or no cost. The trick is to manage your virtual world so that it is still making you money, building your profile and giving you real leads. You also have to manage your time and the energy your give to it so that it does not create a black hole of lost productivity.
In business know you and a bit of like you can come by online connecting – but trust you may need a bit more work and contact to make that sale.
I like to check in and ask myself often, “Is my online messages and profiles congruent to how I introduce myself to a room of people, have a trade table at an event, meet a prospective client for lunch or attend a business meeting?” I will always look for better ways of doing things – I think as the world gets more connected through a screen being better than your competition means keeping your message clear, your integrity in tact and balance it all out with time away from the devices and connecting face to face.
How can you make your online presence and activities more clear, meaningful and profitable, and less time wasting?