But at my back I always hear
Time's wingèd chariot hurrying near.
– Andrew Marvel
In Stop Wasting Time With Social Media, Dan Schawbel asserts, "A lot of people are surprised that their thousands of followers on Twitter aren’t converting into leads, but I’m not… I used to spend two hours a day on Twitter, yet it didn’t result in enough opportunities to prove its marketing value."
Ben Paynter quotes Erich Joachimsthaler for Fast Company in Five Steps for Consumer Brands to Earn Social Currency: "There is a lot of wasted effort in social media… We forget that these programs have to pay into something, a shared value or a social context where the product actually gets used."
Life is short. We all want our time spent well. How then shall we spend our time with social media marketing?
At Handshake, we're not into wasting time or effort. Here's what we do.
Handshake Media, Incorporated is a digital media company. One of our enterprises provides social media marketing and consulting services to companies. Another enterprise is Handshake 2.0, a business news and public relations site.
Although Google has just announced its new search index Caffeine, we already knew the market need Google wants to fill: "Searchers want to find the latest relevant content and publishers expect to be found the instant they publish."
"Latest" is crucial. Searchers – and users of social media – want the latest everything. Companies who create content, then grind away at repeating that content in order to force it into social media channels will experience diminishing returns. Trying to force the market to want what they're offering – news that's older and dustier with each repetition – creates indifference in the market and frustration for the social media marketer. That's the waste of time, not social media marketing itself. The market wants news.
Because we offer social media marketing services and run a site and operate multiple corporate social media channels, we know the news about online news: It's like a celebrity. It's hot. Then it's not.
In the graph, we use "traffic" as a broad term to cover visits to our sites, to our clients' sites, action and sharing on Twitter and Facebook, mentions and more – any online buzz about our latest content. A "content item" can be, for example, a post on Handshake 2.0 or an update on Twitter or Facebook.
The graph shows our experience with the use of social media for our company and our clients' companies. A new content item is news. Traffic begins, peaks, and declines. Sometimes particularly outstanding content can extend a content's fame. Regardless, traffic to the content eventually decreases. The content is found occasionally through deep searches, usually by the equivalent of long-time fans or historians. It's not that the content lacks valuable insights or information. It's that it's no longer news.
Many new content items over time result in sustained traffic. Overlaying that new content graph one after the other on top of each other shows that news is famously valuable to people. Individual news items are, too, but they have a life span. Leveraging social media requires leveraging people's desire for news.
How do we spend our time with social media at Handshake? We create new content, we post it, we share it, done. We create new content, we post it, share it, done. Using the metaphor of the social media sales funnel, the more traffic, the more potential leads. The less traffic, the fewer potential leads. New content generates traffic. We create new content.
We create what people want and what they value. That's time spent well.