Thursday, March 21, 2013

Stress Less With Social Media: 5 Surprisingly Simple Tactics

WomenInGrass16995302You know social media is an important part of your marketing strategy. But it might seem that the only way to succeed is to spend hours on it every day - or pay somebody else to do that for you. Fortunately, that doesn't have to be the case. Here are five surprisingly simple things you can do to enhance your social media presence, while spending less time on it - for less effort and less stress.

The key is to start treating social media differently: Use it as a content tool, not a conversation tool. In other words, use it to distribute your expertise and knowledge to people who want it, rather than an informal channel for chat and conversation. I admit this is very different from the way most people use social media, but it allows you to stand out from the crowd and be seen as a leader in your social media circles.

So here are five things you can do to use social media in this way.

1. Consume lots of content.

You should already be on the path of constant learning and improvement in your business - just because you need to do it in a fast-paced world. So be sure you are consuming high-quality, relevant, appropriate content for your business. You can do this by subscribing to blogs and e-mail newsletters, setting up Google Alerts for important topic areas, watching videos and slide shows, listening to podcasts, and so on.

You do need to be selective, of course, so you don't suffer from information overload. But you do need to be constantly learning for your own business first, before you start sharing it with your social media circles.

2. Share content with your networks.

Some of the content you receive is worth sharing with your network. So share it!

You can do this by posting links to all the social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Simply post a short message with the title of the content (article, blog post, video, whatever) and a link to it for readers to find out more.

Don't worry that you're sending people to other people's Web sites. The goal here is not to increase traffic to your site; it's to demonstrate your expertise as a source of high-quality material. That builds your reputation, and the traffic will follow later.

3. Add value with your comments.

Whenever you comment on something - whether it's a blog post, Facebook picture, or tweet - make sure you're adding value to the conversation. You can make purely personal comments from time to time (on Facebook, in particular), but aim to make most of your comments useful and educational.

4. Publish more to your blog.

Every blog post you write doesn't have to be a well-consider 500-word article. It's appropriate - and in fact, very useful - to publish shorter blog posts that comment on other people's material.

For example, you could link to a relevant news story, embed a YouTube video, embed a Slideshare presentation, or share an infographic somebody else has created. In each case, add a paragraph or two explaining why you're sharing this, so your networks understand how it's relevant for them.

5. Auto-post to your social media networks.

Connect your blog to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, so that every blog post gets posted automatically to those networks as well. Ask your webmaster how to do this, or use the free Twitterfeed service.

Auto-posting is a slightly controversial topic, with some experts recommending you never do it, because it doesn't allow for free-flowing conversations. But remember, our aim is to focus on content, not conversations!

How much of this can you do?

Some of the ideas above might sound a bit daunting. But if you try putting them into practice, you'll find them easy and quick - especially because you no longer have to spend hours every day on social media conversations!

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