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How Often Should I Be Logged Into Social Media?
By: Don McLean
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Being a social marketing professional I have noticed the same question popping up over the years — how often should I be logged in? This and other questions seem to reform themselves and surface in most conversations regarding social media strategy. The problem is, it is entirely the wrong way to look at business.

To truly understand social media you must stay on top of it daily, read continuous amounts of articles and insight from other industry professionals, and overall just use it. Compiled below are a list of three social media questions that seem to arise in most conversations with people who may not truly understand social media. They are as follows: 

  1. How often should I be logged in? The better question I have is how often can you afford not to listen to your customers and engage with them? When you word the question that way it is much more difficult to even ask. Social media does not start at 9AM and stop at 5PM, especially if you are a global brand. For some companies, their best engagement happens after 10PM. This is why it is very important to have at least one dedicated social media specialist at an organization, and depending on the size of the organization you may need more. For the entire General Motors brand, they have four experts in their social media command center. Log in with a laptop, desktop, and/or smartphone depending on where you are to stay connected virtually all the time. Customers won't wait for you to be in the office and an hour of bad publicity on social media can have years of harmful effects on a brand.
  2. What should I post? This seems to be the second most asked question. There is a rule called the 80/20 rule in social media that is used to help guide what you post. Professor Gina Luttrell, Ph.D. explains the rule this way: "The premise behind the 80/20 rule is to post content that is relevant to your audience at least 80% of the time. That means content explicitly about your company or products should be posted no more than 20% of the time. By minimizing the amount of time spent on selling or pitching to your social community you will help increase engagement and build loyalty." That means you should include posts from your blog and accolades about your products or services. However, you should also share content that is useful and interesting to your audience. If you are in pharmaceuticals you could share a new regulatory guidance for the FDA. If you are in home improvement, you can share "how-to" videos. If you are in automotive, you can share first car stories. No matter the industry, you need to brainstorm. Connect creative ideas. Get your audience engaged.
  3. How do I get more followers? One of the third most popular questions is in regards to the amount of followers. Mark Twain once said, “It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog." When he first published these words, who knew he would be talking about social media? More followers does not mean more engagement. I think almost all marketing and public relations professionals would agree that they would prefer an engaged audience of 2,000 followers over a passive audience of 5,000 followers. An engaged audience will get the word out on you quicker and they will influence others to get involved with your brand. The question should not be focused on more followers but on what you can do to build consistency and share relevant content to your social audiences.

Now the next time you strategize about your social media you will go into the meeting room with more knowledge of what questions to ask and how to start moving forward. It is important to remember the simple fact that the key word in social media is "social." Focus on that.

What other questions do you have about social media strategy?

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About the Author
Don McLean, MBA is an account supervisor at Airfoil Group, an independent marketing and public relations firm serving tech companies and innovation-centric brands with offices in Detroit, New York and Silicon Valley. Follow Don on twitter at@mclean_don.  
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