Top 5 Reasons Social Media Requires Commitment

Commitment Social Media is a commitment.  It's not something individuals or businesses can dabble in and expect to be successful.  Here are some top ways that I've found Social Media to require commitment.  Chalk this one up to both lessons learned personally and bordering on the obvious to folks who have been leveraging social media for awhile. 

1. Blog Frequency

Best practice often suggests that while maintaining a blog, the author(s) should post new content 2-3 times a week at a minimum.  This keeps readers engaged and setting a regular pattern will keep them coming back.  For anyone whose main responsibilities have nothing to do with blogging, it can really be a challenge to keep up.  There are lots of strategies, from keeping a queue of posts and topics drafted, to scheduling regular time to dedicate.  What helps most of all is having an author or authors who are passionate about the topic.  Those folks will find a way to make it work, but long term dedication is a major factor in a blog's success.

2. Personal (or Professional) Brand Management

Once you have a blog, a twitter account, an account on Friendfeed, etc – you need to keep up with those who comment and respond.  It takes time to search twitter results for posts with your name buried in the middle, blog posts and other tools for people to keep up.  I sometimes stumble across a valuable response to a comment I made days earlier and regret not addressing it right away or capturing the RSS feed for that comment train.  A great aspect of these social media tools is that the information lives on, but much of the conversation takes place in a short time.  You can miss a window to participate with the primary group if you don't take time to keep up.

There are lots of free tools to leverage for this, including search.twitter.com, Google alerts and Technorati among others.  Our agency recently partnered with Radian6, a social media monitoring package.  I'm still learning about it, but so far I would compare it to robust web analytics packages – with a major advantage that you can gain insight not just to your own brand, but competitors.

3. Ubiquitous Content

The beauty of RSS is the distribution of content.  Social networks are proliferating.  New blogs are cropping up, and new tools are adding to the way we can share information with each other.  Frankly, there is so much valuable information to digest it's hard to keep up with it all.  There also is plenty of less than valuable content to sort through.  I use Google Reader and at times feel like I have to declare "feed bankruptcy" and mark everything as read, and I'm sure I miss valuable content in there.  Imagine if everyone you know had a blog, was connected to you on Friendfeed and was on Facebook.  Even apply this just to your company, or your industry.  Would you be able to really keep up with all of the content?

4. Relationship Building

I mentioned before that I use LinkedIn and Facebook regularly and recommend scrutinizing your social media connections.  These are great tools to keep up with friends and colleagues, but also to build relationships with contacts from networking events, business meetings and other settings.  Setting up a profile is a one time event for the most part, but truly using these tools to build upon relationships takes effort and consistent usage over time. 

5. Participating

Regardless of whether you have a few dozen or a few hundred connections, tools like Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed and others require dedication to participate in conversations, answer questions and 'consume' the media.  Uploading and tagging photos, booking trips on Dopplr, checking out events on Upcoming…  When you start to interact with other folks, there is almost an informal contract you sign jumping in to participate.  You license people to reach out to you and they expect a response back, otherwise they may move on.  It takes a long term commitment to get the most out of these tools.

When people ask me for advice about social media, I often start with, "It's a commitment – are you ready for it?"  What other ways do you see social media needing commitment?  A logical next question – what advice do you have for folks trying to balance the commitment with everything else they have to do?

Photo credit: eschipul via Flickr

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  • Sigh. You’re making me feel bad about my lack of commitment lately. My blog has suffered in direct proportion to the amount of work I have on my plate right now.
    But you’ve sufficiently shamed me. I’ll take your advice and start setting aside time.

  • Sigh. You’re making me feel bad about my lack of commitment lately. My blog has suffered in direct proportion to the amount of work I have on my plate right now.

    But you’ve sufficiently shamed me. I’ll take your advice and start setting aside time.

  • I’d offer the suggestion, Adam, that your use of “social media” is really meant for “social networking.”
    As someone blogged the other day (I don’t remember the source), social media is the what but social networking is the why and how.

  • I’d offer the suggestion, Adam, that your use of “social media” is really meant for “social networking.”

    As someone blogged the other day (I don’t remember the source), social media is the what but social networking is the why and how.

  • @Michelle Sorry about the social media guilt trip, no shame intended!
    @Ari Perhaps I didn’t articulate it well, but the tools are all time consuming – not just social networks. Blogs, link sharing sites, microblogs, podcasts, and the subsequent ways to monitor my own social breadcrumbs along the way… it is a big commitment to participate in all of these, and I didn’t understand that when I started. I am still learning how to balance these and am trying hard to work them into a routine, but it’s challenging to say the least.
    If all of those still comprise “social networking” than I would love to read that blog post so I can be straightened out 😉
    Thanks for the comments!

  • @Michelle Sorry about the social media guilt trip, no shame intended!

    @Ari Perhaps I didn’t articulate it well, but the tools are all time consuming – not just social networks. Blogs, link sharing sites, microblogs, podcasts, and the subsequent ways to monitor my own social breadcrumbs along the way… it is a big commitment to participate in all of these, and I didn’t understand that when I started. I am still learning how to balance these and am trying hard to work them into a routine, but it’s challenging to say the least.

    If all of those still comprise “social networking” than I would love to read that blog post so I can be straightened out 😉

    Thanks for the comments!

  • Another great post, Adam. As someone doing social media work for clients everyday,I find it equally difficult to log onto Twitter and find all of my social media compadres linking to all of their new posts as my blog sits neglected. I do all of the things that take little time – like logging travel in Dopplr, and thankfully Twitter updates on my Facebook page, otherwise it may seem like I rarely visit there. I’m in need of another jumpstart. Your ideas are a good starting point.

  • Another great post, Adam. As someone doing social media work for clients everyday,I find it equally difficult to log onto Twitter and find all of my social media compadres linking to all of their new posts as my blog sits neglected. I do all of the things that take little time – like logging travel in Dopplr, and thankfully Twitter updates on my Facebook page, otherwise it may seem like I rarely visit there. I’m in need of another jumpstart. Your ideas are a good starting point.

  • Great post Adam. I wish I was better at No. 1 but alas there is always something to strive for 🙂 I really like how you’ve framed social media up as a commitment. Social media is primarily about relationships with people as opposed to being a “media” to simply use at will.
    And thanks for the Radian6 mention. Glad to hear you are getting up to speed on all the things you can do with it.

  • Great post Adam. I wish I was better at No. 1 but alas there is always something to strive for 🙂 I really like how you’ve framed social media up as a commitment. Social media is primarily about relationships with people as opposed to being a “media” to simply use at will.

    And thanks for the Radian6 mention. Glad to hear you are getting up to speed on all the things you can do with it.

  • Adam –
    Great post. I’d love to hear from you sometime about how you use LinkedIn/Facebook. I would say that I use LinkedIn more for professional purposes, but I use it passively and would like to learn how other people use it more assertively.
    Hope to see you around sometime 🙂
    Kate

  • Adam –

    Great post. I’d love to hear from you sometime about how you use LinkedIn/Facebook. I would say that I use LinkedIn more for professional purposes, but I use it passively and would like to learn how other people use it more assertively.

    Hope to see you around sometime 🙂
    Kate

  • @Brad thanks for the comment and I look forward to conversations on Twitter. Perhaps we can come up with better ways/tips to share to manage through it. If you figure something out please share.
    @David Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. And I love that Radian6 is listening – just shows how compelling the tool is since I’m guessing that’s how you found my post. I’m looking forward to leveraging the tool set for our clients – great stuff, and lots to learn.
    @Kate – thank you! great idea for a future blog post on how I use these tools in more detail. I did write a couple months back about how I scrutinize connections, but there’s room to expand on using the tools on a regular basis: http://adamcohen.typepad.com/adamsblog/2008/07/choose-wisely-scrutinizing-your-social-network-connections.html
    Thanks again!

  • @Brad thanks for the comment and I look forward to conversations on Twitter. Perhaps we can come up with better ways/tips to share to manage through it. If you figure something out please share.

    @David Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. And I love that Radian6 is listening – just shows how compelling the tool is since I’m guessing that’s how you found my post. I’m looking forward to leveraging the tool set for our clients – great stuff, and lots to learn.

    @Kate – thank you! great idea for a future blog post on how I use these tools in more detail. I did write a couple months back about how I scrutinize connections, but there’s room to expand on using the tools on a regular basis: http://adamcohen.typepad.com/adamsblog/2008/07/choose-wisely-scrutinizing-your-social-network-connections.html

    Thanks again!

  • Social media does require lots of commitment; it’s not the responsibility and hence not a burden but still since there is so much conversation going on and if you want to be a part of it then you have to communicate, you have to offer your two cents.

  • Social media does require lots of commitment; it’s not the responsibility and hence not a burden but still since there is so much conversation going on and if you want to be a part of it then you have to communicate, you have to offer your two cents.

  • I would add:
    – Don’t just “post” for the sake of posting.
    – Don’t regurgitate news that everyone has already read on the traditional media.

  • I would add:

    – Don’t just “post” for the sake of posting.

    – Don’t regurgitate news that everyone has already read on the traditional media.

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  • Pingback: 10 Quick Tips for Retailers to Engage in Social Media Right Now()

  • Alot of companies underestimate the amount of time and effort required for social networking to really be effective from a business standpoint. However there is the flip side where companies are going so far as to create their own custom social networking website as part of their overall online marketing strategies, but no matter which side of the spectrum they are on, in order for it to do well, it takes work, and alot of it.

  • Alot of companies underestimate the amount of time and effort required for social networking to really be effective from a business standpoint. However there is the flip side where companies are going so far as to create their own custom social networking website as part of their overall online marketing strategies, but no matter which side of the spectrum they are on, in order for it to do well, it takes work, and alot of it.

  • Keeping up to date with the latest news in your industry is critical to your success. Also, publishing and creating your own take on the subject helps your readers digest and share.

    I have found by setting a set schedule helps me stay focused on adding fresh content.
    thanks for the article.
    sandy

  • Very well said.