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How to Make Your Social Networking Efforts More Productive

August 2, 2012

Its Not a Popularity Contest

Pinterest. It's the it social media site. Or, at least, it was back in March. There have probably been four other it sites since then. Feeling pulled this way and that by the latest and (supposedly) greatest social media channel? Remember: While you don't want to miss out on the action, don't waste time with the Next Big Thing unless it's also The Right Thing. With that in mind, here are some guidelines for making the most of your social media minutes.

Snoop. Ignore the chatter about how much web traffic a certain site is receiving each month, and take a look at what your competition is really doing. Poke around online to find out which sites work best for others in your industry. Spend time observing now, and you'll spend less time backpedaling from the latest social fad later.

Answer these questions about your competition's efforts:

Consider your team. Once you have a social media strategy in mind, figure out which staffers will be your company's voice for each channel. Every social site has a distinct rhythm and personality. Which member of your team can get right to the point on Twitter? Who would excel on the visual channels, like Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr? Is there a department best suited to handling Facebook's round-the-clock conversation? Make the most of your team members' personalities. Some folks are more comfortable with certain social media platforms than with others.

Ask yourself:

Commit to your choices--but know when to pull the plug. Your strategy and team are in place. Now, commit to that plan, a time frame and some goals.

Don't just putter along willy-nilly, hoping what you've built will work. Commitment is about saying, "We will do this, but within these bounds." You have to measure your social media efforts to make sure they're working.

Consider these questions:

Snooping, team building and committing to the process will lead to more productive and focused social efforts. Everything you do should feel natural for your company and your customers. Pinterest and Twitter just might not be it for your company--and that's OK. Take the time to find your rhythm, and your customers will respond.