Do you groan each morning when you see the number of messages and posts from social media “friends” that have accumulated while you slept? Does it sometimes seem you could spend all day on social media and never get around to your real job? Join the club. For most of us, the explosion of social media applications has been both a blessing and a curse. The free exposure that sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google + offer is extraordinary; however, such sites can demand all of your time and energy if you’re not careful. Fortunately, there’s a way to get ahead of social media demands so you’re acting and not just reacting.
Social media trends for 2013
Social media marketing is a great and low-cost way to get your product, service or message in front of thousands of readers. However, it’s sometimes difficult to keep abreast of this constantly changing marketplace. As we start a new year, here are a few things to look for in the next 12 months:
1. Think beyond Facebook. If all your social media marketing efforts are focused on Facebook, it’s time to broaden your horizons. A recent study by Shop.org found that 68 percent of online shoppers used YouTube to browse for products. And here you thought YouTube was only for American Idol replays and cute puppy videos. Also gathering consumer interest is the electronic bulletin board site, Pinterest, especially among women.
2. Be mobile. Every social media marketing strategy needs to include mobile access. In the future, it’s likely your strategy will need to also include gaming devices and television sets. Be prepared.
3. Instruct, don’t sell. Old-time, hard-sell marketing prose is a turn-off to most modern consumers. Instead, treat your social media readers like the friends they are, sharing your knowledge of a subject rather than imploring them to buy.
Using a calendar to manage social media
An excellent and effective way to get ahead of your social media posts is by using an editorial calendar. Instead of reacting to new ideas by dropping everything to post or tweet about it, schedule it on your calendar for the next day or next week. This type of organization has several advantages. First, it allows you to take back control of your time, so you can spend more time on your primary job and less time on Facebook or Twitter. A social media calendar also can help to give a better flow and cohesiveness to your posts. Is your product a Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras or St. Patrick’s Day favorite? Use the days preceding the holiday to schedule a series of holiday-related posts. By planning ahead, you can tell a story over several days. A social media calendar will also give you a good reference for subsequent years, allowing you to build on this year’s marketing message rather than just repeating it.
If social media obligations are dragging you down, stop! Instead of making yourself crazy reacting to every tweet, make these exciting marketing platforms your own by planning ahead with a posting calendar. Expanding your horizons and paying attention to trends will help you stay ahead in the game.