Practical Steps to Getting Started in Social Media – Step 6: Implement & Adjust

social media adjustmentsIf you’ve been following this series of practical steps to getting started in social media, at this point you should have fairly good understanding of the platform you’re jumping onto and have some goals.  Now it’s time to do your plan and refine your tactics along the way.

If you haven’t read the previous posts in this series, check out Practical Steps to Getting Started in Social Media.

The adjustments you’ll need to make can be summarized in 6 basic questions – who, what, where, when, why, and how.

1)    Who?

Going into this step, you should have a pretty good idea of who you’re trying to connect with in this social media platform – your target market.  But, as you implement, you should start to notice certain sub-groups within your target market standing out.

Additionally, as your network of connections grows, you’ll realize you can’t spend the same amount of time on everyone.  It’s a good idea to create a list or group of your core people – the people who you want to engage with most.  These are the people who provide the best content themselves, share your content, or interact with you most.  Give them priority.

2)    What?

Note which kinds of posts gain the most traction with your connections.  Note which posts get the most replies, comments, and shares.  Note which drive the most people to your website or help you accomplish your goals.  Focus on the types of posts that are working, eliminate the ones that aren’t.  Continue to experiment with different types of content.

3)    Where?

One of the coolest developments in social media are mobile apps.  Now it’s possible to post updates, pics, and even stream video live from anywhere.  This can add a new dimension to your social media presence and make you a key person to watch in your field.

4)    When?

Two biggest pitfalls people run into with social media are inconsistency are…

1) Inconsistency.  Some people check and post to social networks when they get around to it. Their goal is to post regularly, but other tasks take priority and they may go days without posting.

2) Overuse.  Other people get sucked into a social network and find themselves reading and posting for hours at a time.

The solution to both problems is the same… schedule blocks of time to do social media throughout the day.

Personally, I set aside 6 or 7 30-minute “communication” blocks of time each day.  During these blocks of time I check voicemail and make calls, check and send email, check and post to social media.  This strategy ensures consistency, and sets boundaries to prevent overuse.  It also enables me to block out all communication distractions and focus on other work between those communication blocks.

Blocking out time for social media is something that takes some trial and error to find what works best for you.

4b) When Part II

Another piece of the “when?” question to look at is what days and times do posts get the best response?  A number of people have posted best time to tweet articles.  They’re good to read, but also make your own observations.

5)    Why?

Why you’re engaging in this social media platform is defined in your goals, so it shouldn’t change very often.  A quarterly review should be sufficient.  More important, though, is reminding yourself of why you’re engaging social media.  It’s very easy to get caught up in the number of connections you have and trying to be popular.  So, it’s good to review goals regularly to stay on track.

6)    How?

This is the area with the most options and the biggest opportunities for adjustment.  There are lots of tools out there to help you manage social media.  There are tools that enable you to post to multiple social networks at once, tools to automate following, tools to schedule posts, tools to organize others’ posts.  Looking at all these tools is beyond the scope of this post, but it’s worth trying out new tools and experimenting with the features and settings of the tools you use on a regular basis.

Wrap-up

The important thing to remember is that social networks are constantly changing.  Plus the more you use a particular social media platform, the better you understand the best ways to use it and the people you connect with there.  Constant learning and regular adjustments are a must.

What sorts of adjustments have you made in your social media tactics along the way?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

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