To explain what I mean by that, I need to mention an excellent item I read on Search Engine Land by Ciaran Norris. He spoke at the SMX Sydney conference a couple of weeks ago, and attended a presentation given by Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz. After I stopped wishing I’d been there myself, I skimmed Fishkin’s presentation deck. He’d spoken on the topic of social media marketing for SEO links, and a slide a little past midway through the presentation pulled both me and Norris up short.
That slide baldly stated that “You Should Have a Profile on Every One of these Social Sites (and probably at least a dozen more).” The slide lists 15 sites, so if we add at least a dozen more, that’s a total of 27. Who, exactly, has time to do all that AND run a business?
Every person gets 24 hours in a day to do what they need to do. How they manage that resource makes all the difference. If you don’t own your own business, you might think they have more resources, so they can accomplish more. That’s only partly true, and in many cases it’s hardly true at all; tasks can be delegated, but you’re still playing the delicate game of resource management.
To manage your time and resources successfully, you need to spend it where it will give you the biggest return on investment. On a small scale, this is why a seamstress will buy fabric rather than weaving her own; it takes up less of her time and resources. The time and resources she saves by buying rather than weaving, in turn, can be spent on something that will actually bring in a return (creating samples or clothes for a client).
Before you get involved in a social media site, you need to ask yourself a few questions. What resources will you deploy? What kind of a return can you expect on your investment? Can those resources be spent better elsewhere? What do you hope to accomplish by participating in this site? Will you be able to stay involved on an ongoing basis?
In considering these points, Norris noted that “if you decide to jump into Facebook, or YouTube, or wherever, but haven’t planned for how you will manage and continue the conversations that this is likely to create (if your strategy works), then you may as well not even start, as all you’ll be doing is wasting time and money.” So if you’re going to use social media to promote your website, you must go into it with your eyes wide open. Do your research! That goes double for large companies trying to get a running start with lots of different social media sites. Norris observed that “jumping headlong into multiple platforms is basically a recipe for disaster.”
Does this mean you shouldn’t even try to promote your website on social media sites? Not at all. But don’t be afraid to take things slowly and do your research. Different social media sites were designed with different purposes in mind. Many of them facilitate some forms of interaction but minimize others. Some social platforms don’t require you to do much to maintain a presence; if you already give regular presentations or write a lot, SlideShare and Scribd might work well, for instance. But other sites will require more love and attention to deliver a good return – quite possibly more than you can afford to invest.
Ultimately, you need to consider your purpose in getting involved in social media. If you’re simply trying to generate links and interest to promote your site, you might want to get active on lots of social media sites (though even then, I’d recommend moving slowly and really learning the platform). Promoting your website, however, should be just a part of your overall business objectives – which brings us right back to time and resource management. Overextending yourself can be both costly and difficult to recover from. So limit your involvement to the sites on which you’ve done your research, and decided that it makes sense to continue to invest your resources. Good luck!