As I began my foray into the social media arena, I knew I had a lot to learn. I don’t profess to be an expert. Just someone who loves the feeling of connecting with something bigger than myself. That may sound a bit sappy but it’s true. I love the idea that social media and social networks make this big wide world just a bit smaller and cozier. That being said, I had an epiphany today. In going about my usual Monday morning tasks, checking client sites, monitoring social media conversations, returning e-mails, I came about a blog written by a new online friend of mine @DawnMentzer. It talks of the Solopreneur. Of the unusual hours the Solopreneur must keep and of the difficulty balancing the work and family in this 24/7 world of the Internet. It really hit home. I then realized (this is the epiphany part) that in trying to do it all, I am doing it all wrong.
As the president of a small social media agency, I often feel that I have to do it all. Between working on my client’s accounts, I also have to find time to tweet, post, “like,” +1 and check-in for my own business. After reading Dawn’s post, I realized that I have been making a common rookie mistake in believing that I could do it all. With this recognition, I thought I would share with you what I think are the top four social media myths when trying to manage your social media business:
- I must always be increasing my “numbers”: I do believe that this is the most common misperception that those in the social media field have. That they must always be increasing their “numbers,” whether it’s followers on Twitter or “likes” on Facebook. While increasing these numbers does often increase sales, in reality, it is the conversation that matters, not the numbers. Someone with 2K following them may not stop tweeting long enough to actually listen to what their customers are saying. Or not saying. I know that I’d rather have 100 loyal repeat customers than 1000’s who will leave the moment delay between tweets is longer than normal because I’m trying to watch my daughter’s dance recital.
- I must try to do it all: When the experts (of which I am NOT one) recommend finding your niche, it really is good advice. Some social media managers believe that they have to be knowledgeable in all areas related to social media, SEO, web design, etc. In reality, the more people you try to connect with, the more diluted your original message becomes, and then you just may find that no one is listening. If you stay focused on what your interests are and what your client wants, you will be better able to deliver what your target markets needs. Remember, it’s ok NOT to do it all.
- I must do it on my own: One of the first lessons you learned in Kindergarten was that when you don’t understand something, it’s ok to ask for help. The same rule still applies today. While it is important to spend your time cultivating your business, I often need to remind myself that there is a whole network of people out there who are willing to share their knowledge. If in doubt, ask.
- Never take time off or you will loose customers: This, unfortunately, may be the most ingrained myth of all. Taking time off in a world that doesn’t stop, where news is 24/7 and there is always someone online. This seems daunting and a tad scary. But learning how to balance work, friends (the real face-to-face kind), kids, and books (I do love a good book) is critical so you can stay on your game. Setting boundaries is important and necessary so that you can be the top in your game. I promise, this is good advice.
As social media managers, we may often feel like we have to do it all, alone, all the time. It is crucial to remember, however, that with a little perseverance and a lot of balance, we can make it work in this brave new world of social media.