“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”
– James Joyce
As we approach the end of another year, it’s only natural to do a little navel-gazing and ponder the lessons of the previous 12 months.
In the course of this exercise, we usually discover that it’s the mistakes—the missteps, the over- and under-estimations, the coulda-woulda-shouldas—that offer the meatiest food for thought. And the best fodder for growth.
This blogger is, of course, no exception. Having founded Resonance in late 2010, I did a fair amount of stumbling through my first year in business, learning some valuable lessons along the way.
So, to the extent that they may save someone else the trouble of making them, I’m sharing my Top 3 Social Media Mistakes of 2011:
Mistake #1: Thinking “If I build it, they will come.”
I had been forewarned about this phenomenon many times before: thinking that simply putting quality content “out there” and engaging your network is enough to attract thousands of worshipping followers. So I promoted my blog on Facebook and Twitter, I interacted, I submitted links to Digg and StumbleUpon, I pleaded with my friends to hit me up with a few visits and the occasional share. And then … crickets.
At least for a while. As time went by, I evaluated and readjusted my promotion strategy, and yes, eventually the sound of crickets was replaced with the buzz of conversation. The key word here is eventually. As a good friend of mine is fond of saying, “Time takes time.” And there’s no substitute for it.
Lesson Learned: Even in the fast-paced world of social media, there are no overnight sensations. Produce quality content consistently over time and promote it strategically, and the traffic will come.
Mistake #2: Relying on social media to the exclusion of other methods
When I set out to market Resonance, I scoffed at email marketing. “Don’t need it,” I said to myself, “I’ve got the entire socialverse at my disposal.”
I’ve only recently realized that man does not live by social alone. Yes, Facebook, Twitter, and other networks are vital tools in reaching your audience (I’d be out of business if they didn’t) but without that added element of direct, personalized messaging, it can only go so far.
Lesson Learned: Assumptions are dangerous things; don’t let them stand between you and the results you’re trying to achieve.
Mistake #3: Not measuring results
Sure, I give my clients a detailed analytics report every month, complete with “lessons learned” and an action plan for the following month. But for myself … well, you know that old saying about the cobbler’s kids having no shoes?
It wasn’t that I didn’t see the value in looking at my own analytics; it’s just that for a long I just never made it a priority. Then I started looking at them and started taking in the lessons that only analytics can teach you.
For example, do you know what my most popular topic is? No, it’s not blogging or Twitter or even Facebook. It’s LinkedIn. It’s not something I would ever have assumed, but any post with the word “LinkedIn” in the title is about twice as likely to attract comments and shares. Not that I’ll be making this a LinkedIn-only blog anytime soon, but it is nice to know.
Lesson Learned: You can’t improve what you don’t measure, so make the time to measure.
So now you know my top 3 social media mistakes of 2011. Care to share any of yours and the wisdom that you’ve earned as a result? Let us know in the comments—we’d love to hear from you!