Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Right Tool May Be in Your Head

46 and 2 Tool Head by Justin Roberts

In its younger days, social media was full of  conversations related to tools - tools for using social media, tools for managing social media, tools for measuring social media...

Tool Overload

New platforms and tools were coming out like water from a broken pipe and I imagine that a lot of people either threw their hands up in disgust and walked away or took the first recommendation they came across.

If you haven't taken time to sit down with yourself and think about the tools you're using and how you're using them, I recommend strongly that you do.

By now you have probably been using social media for a while. You are familiar with buzzwords like transparency, authenticity, and social media optimization. Now is a good time to ask yourself:
  • Have my social media goals changed since I started? At the beginning, you might have just wanted to try social media. After you got more comfortable with it, did you set new goals? If not, maybe it's time for that.
  • How are the platforms and tools helping me reach my goals? Can you look at the interactions you're having with your community and be able to quickly know which platforms or tools have helped you significantly or maybe not much at all? Do you know why - is it comfort level or return on your sweat equity or maybe something else?
  • How am I spending my social media time? Are you spending most of it on Facebook and ignoring Twitter? Are you giving social media the same amount of time as before or more or are you giving it less? If you're spending less time than before or more time than before, is it because you don't like the platform or tool? You could be avoiding social media platforms or tools because they don't fit the way you work or if you're forcing yourself to use them, you could be spending more time than you want to.
Review and Revise

Check your platforms and tools against your goals and ask yourself if you've got the right mix to achieve your goals? If not, you need to make some changes. This might involve trying a different platform, like Pinterest. Or it might involve finding the right tool for really making the most of your accounts, like Hootsuite. Or maybe now that you understand Twitter, it might be time to add timing tweets to the mix; finding out when your community is online, then setting up and scheduling tweets to post when they're more likely to see them.

Retreat! Retreat!

With everything you have to do, it's hard to try to keep up with changes. But, being able to craft a good strategy requires knowing what your options are. Once a year, many nonprofits have board retreats to cover where the NP has been and where it might go and how it might get there.

Social media is your NP's public face. It's worth it to take a day or two to review that face and decide how and when it might be displayed to its best. By doing that, you're using probably the best tool you have available.

Good Reading:

If you're on FB, you might want to take a look at this post by Beth Kanter on how applications coming into FB because of "open graph" may change things for your small nonprofit.

Treat: The Situation

Because even doing good can have its bad days, here's a great illustrated story about business as usual can look familiar even if its in another world.

Please leave a contribution in the comment box.


Dain Binder said...

This is great! When I started blogging I worked tirelessly to interact with and post to every social network out here. The list I had easily topped 100 different sites/services to be "social" with. Tools where coming from left and right in order to organize this flood and I must have tried them all. In under a year, I was burnt out.

It taught me the valuable lesson of focusing on the writing. In my next blogging venture I scaled way back and surprisingly found more success. If you need a tool to manage all the networks you are on then you are on to many. Now I only have three primary social networks (Twitter, Facebook, and Google+) and I use their services directly from their website or apps. A secondary group I connect with when I have time includes Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, and Hacker News. To stay on top of the next big thing I do experiment on other newer networks like Pinterest, Chime.in, and Tumblr. Under 10 networks, that is it! With all but the top three social networks I monitor the benefit using a couple other tools and often cut one out for a while or completely; Chime.in is on the chopping block. Also, when I drop a network I delete all my data and close the account.

By focusing on fewer networks, being more genuine, and monitoring their performance I have formed better relationships and increased traffic.

Robyn McIntyre said...

Thanks for coming by, Dain!

That's a great plan, limiting the number of social media networks you interact with. Love that line "If you need a tool to manage all the networks you are on, then you are on too many."

Indeed, simpler is better, and when you simplify you can allocate your energy better and likely see better results!