10 Social Media Principles To Help You Get More Mileage

You probably get bombarded by social media every day – every hour – every minute! We all do.

If you were to clock the time you spend on social media, you’ll probably be surprise at how quickly the tweets and scraps add up into minutes and hours.

Christina Warren, in this September 2009 post on Mashable, quoted a report from The Nielsen Company which estimated the time spend on social media:

Americans spent 17% of all their Internet time using social networking sites. This was nearly triple the time spent a year ago.

I’m not questioning the amount of time you spend – you’re probably spending whatever is right for you. Or at least what you think is right for you.

Just last week, Amy Porterfield had a post on Social Media Examiner that cited a more recent statistic:

22% of Online Time Spent With Social Media

But there are 10 infallible principles that can definitely help you get more mileage from your social media investments – both in terms of time and efforts.

Here’s the list:

1. Define Your Goals, Objectives:

Defining the big picture, along with tangible goals and objectives sounds like the right thing to do. Not just with social web, but with everything else you do – or want to do.

Yet so few of us do this essential first step.

Take a pen and paper and really define what your goals and objectives for your social world are.

2. Plan:

With the goals and objectives defined, you need a plan that will help you get there.

You need a plan that will work for you – not against you. Be realistic.

If you only have a few hours a day, does it make sense burning them all on Twitter? Probably not.

Focus – on the essential – and get the big rocks in that tie back into your goals and objectives.

3. Prioritize – First Things First:

Every day, you only begin with a limited number of hours and energy available. You will probably have a much longer list of things to accomplish on your radar.

Very often, we get tempted to start with the easy things first – and by the time we get to things that really matter, we run out of gas.

Don’t flip the pyramid of doings things over – sequence your social media activities correctly, and you’ll go much farther down the road.

Use whatever sequence works best for you – but make sure you get the important things handled first – then move on the unimportant things.

4. Support, Share:

Support and sharing are two key often ignored principles of success. If you are not supporting others – and sharing with them your strokes of insight – you won’t go too far.

The best way to get a lot of mileage on your efforts is to spend some time every day carved out only for the support and share cause.

5. Connect, Engage:

Once your quota time with the support and share rule is over, move over to connect and engage slice. This is another overlooked nook for you to explore.

Search out people you can help out. Engage with them. Offer your wisdom and knowledge. Provide pointers.

Be available. Return messages and mentions. Retweet messages that resonate with credo. Add value by your presence.

6. Anything In Excess Is Bad:

And then move on. Anything in excess is bad – social web is no exception. There have been cases when too much water turned fatal for people. There have been reports of hyperventilation (too much air) hasn’t been very good. You don’t want to hyperventilate in your social world.

Everything each of these principles tells you has it’s place – don’t over do. After your time slices on each of the activities is over, move on to the next.

After your time slice for social media itself is over, disconnect.  Move on to your own life – at the end of the day, you own life is much larger and bigger than the individual pieces that make it up.

7. Don’t Be Afraid Of Making Mistakes:

Every once in a while, you’ll make mistakes in your social world. You’ll miss out on the obvious, make gaffes, come out as gimmicky and rub someone on the wrong side. Making mistakes is human – don’t beat yourself up.

As long as you have a clear conscience around the mistakes – and learn the lesson, keep forging ahead. Forgive yourself – and make it up to those you offend in a genuine way.

8. Learn The Rules, Then Break Some:

Can’t stress much on this point – it’s only when you break rules that the creative genius seems to come through with dazzling brightness. But before you break the rules, learn the rules well.

You’ll then be able to make the right calls on which rules to break – and when. You’ll come out as a visionary – rather than a rebel.

9. Keep It Authentic, Real, Genuine:

As we approach the end of the these ten social world principles, it starts to get a human touch. Everything that you do – all your acts, conversations and communications need to be authentic.

Be real. be someone everyone else can look up to for some genuine feedback, advise and insights.

10. Keep The Big Picture In Perspective:

At the end of the day, keep the big picture in perspective. Social success is as much offline, as it is online. Josh Catone’s post on Mashable last year, Before You Go Online: Talk to Your Customers Offline, is a highly recommended read to help get you skyrocket on this.

Set your own limits on what is right for your circumstances – but be sure to disconnect online – and connect offline.

Connect with your flock in person, face to face. Small personal conversations have a lasting impact. That’s where acquaintances are converted into contacts, connections and friendships.

The other aspect is don’t let the social world take away your time, so that you don’t have any other world than the social channels. Sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

We’re all guilty at time of letting this happen. Don’t be afraid to disconnect and spend time on your projects, your blogs and other things in your life that are equally important.

And finally, be sure to keep your personal life – and priorities above anything and everything in your social world.

Are you spending at least as much time with your children as you spend on social media?

Are you spending at least as much time with your partner as you spend on social media?

Are you spending at least as much time with your family as you spend on social media?

Are you spending at least as much time with your own self as you spend on social media?

Social media success doesn’t come in a silo. Be successful in other dimensions of your life – and like everything else, this too will follow!

What do you think? Would you like to add anything else to this list?

(Image Credit: redgoober4life http://www.flickr.com/photos/redgoober4life/)

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