I'm exhausted yet, I haven't moved from my desk in hours. I have Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn all open on my desktop. I barely need to move my left hand to grasp my phone--not that I need to pick it up. I've mastered monitoring texts and notifications out of my peripheral vision.
I have the whole world at my fingertips and yet something is missing. When I kissed my children goodbye this morning at daycare, I made my daily promise to do my best work for them today.
Is that what this is?
If you mic'd the voices in my head at this moment, you'd hear snippets of an ongoing dialog I have with myself about social media. It goes something like, "Eek. This is fun. 5 more likes!...You're wasting time...This is critical research...What am I doing? There is nothing here for me... Is this worth sharing?... Just keep going. The perfect insight that unlocks everything might be in this next click..." And on and on and on.
With the myriad of decisions we need to make everyday (in business and life), decision fatigue is a huge problem. Untamed social media doesn't help.
For many women entrepreneurs and freelancers like myself, networking online is key to their marketing strategy. Niche entrepreneur communities like Facebook and LinkedIn groups or Vendeve have become go-to resources for many women entrepreneurs. But choosing which groups to participate in (there are over 700 million Facebook groups alone) and how to contribute to the conversation requires an enormous amount of mental energy.
It's easy to get sucked in only to stumble out hours later feeling overwhelmed, burnt out and unsure whether you're making progress. The fix is to avoid the social media vortex by having a clear strategy going in, being hyper targeted to start, and aggressively monitoring your return on investment (ROI.)
1. Set clearly defined objectives
If you want to be a thought leader, look for and engage in conversations where you can position yourself as an expert.
2. Figure out where your ideal customers are hanging out and visit often, but be ultra choosy
Don't "spray and pray". Pick two or three places to spend your time, looking for groups or platforms that aren't already too noisy.
3. Help others and create value... purposely
A lot of groups are spammy and salesy. Look for conversational networks where people are genuinely there to help each other.
4. Look for ways to create "sticky" content
5. Manage your notifications (or they will manage you)
Facebook sends notifications for "highlights" in groups. Be sure to turn these off or else you'll get hundreds of notifications.
6. Set goals and measure your results
Know how many clients you want to get so you know if your efforts are working.
When I came across Vendeve, I immediately registered and started poking around. Within 12 minutes, I'd completed my profile, posted some information on my business, and actually found a graphic designer (more on this experience in a moment). What I first loved about this site is that it's beautiful and easy to navigate. Content is carefully categorized, making it easy to find and participate in conversations that align with my objectives. You can get in, get the answers you need, perhaps address someone else's question, and get out fast. No vortex!
Another thing about it that I love is that Vendeve targets women. My business doesn't specifically target women but at least 50 percent of my clients are women. Vendeve is like my personal focus group. And because Vendeve is still in its infancy, it's much less noisy than other platforms, increasing the visibility of your posts and quality of the content.
Lastly, Vendeve is working on analytics reporting that will show users how much engagement their profiles are getting and will notify them when conversations are happening where their specific expertise is needed. They haven't released these features yet though but I'll be sure to check them out.
Now back to finding the exact right graphics person at the moment I needed her most. I needed a freelance graphic designer for a big proposal. I know, of course, that there are a zillion amazing ones out there. On Vendeve, I was able to put my search criteria in which included the skill needed and target rate. Searching with this information, a number of people popped up--all with cute bios and pictures! I reached out to one person who responded immediately. She accepted my project and we were collaborating within 4 hours of this initial contact. She completed the work as we agreed and I love it! I feel like I found a new "go to" graphic designer AND a site to use as my first stop next time I'm looking for help.
Click here for additional tips on avoiding social media burnout from Julie Lowe, a Facebook Ads expert.