8 Social Marketing Strategies You Shouldn’t Waste Your Time On

LAST UPDATED 3/28/2017: Biggest changes since last year are that I’m now enjoying Instagram, we do ads on Instagram for clients, and we are testing Pinterest ads.

Getting the best possible marketing results is not only about doing the most effective things.

It’s also about not wasting time on the least effective things.

You can’t get great digital marketing results if you’re always try to do EVERYTHING.
To be effective in digital marketing you have to BE PICKY about which things you do.

Digital marketing and social media is full of blog posts like…

  • “52 More Ways To Market On Pinterest!”
  • “37 New Social Marketing Tools!”
  • “10 Reasons Snapchat Is Awesome!”

What would happen if you did all the things that all these posts recommended? You’d be stretched thin on a mix of things. Some would work, some wouldn’t.

As a result, your overall marketing results would be mediocre.

Maybe one of them worked for somebody- but is it transferable to most companies? Will it work if it’s a corporate, not a person-to-person strategy? Is it scalable?

Yes, I get sucked into those blog posts just like you do. Yes, I have FEAR OF MISSING OUT, too. But I’ve read enough blog posts that…

  • Don’t deliver on the promise of their headline. “Wow, these ideas are pretty lame.”
  • Promise great results but when you implement their suggestion, you find the real results don’t measure up to their claims. “They were lying… or they didn’t really test this… or they didn’t give away their secret.”

Ironic: I tried, “The 17 Coolest Chrome Productivity Plugins” and found only one plugin was worth it. The other 16 decreased my productivity while I was trying them out. Some secretly required me to pay a monthly fee after I installed them.

What just happened?

Somebody had to write a list-post to try to get more traffic to their blog, and they wasted my time. Irresponsible. You’re supposed to help me and save me time with your content. Not used up my time and attention in blind pursuit of “time on site” and pageviews.

Bad blog post writers should be blindfolded, given a cigarette and shot.

Too far?

Sorry, it’s frustrating. I have limited time on Earth here, buddy.

The social marketer must protect their time. There are dozens of things we COULD do, but only a few things we SHOULD do. [click to tweet]

I’m ruthless in my exclusion of strategies tactics that I don’t judge to be worth my time.

Time is our most precious commodity. You can’t get more of it.

Yes, there are exceptions to my list below. Any of the tactics below might be important because of your niche or goal. And I’m also always open to being wrong on these. I bet I’ll hear something at Social Media Marketing World this year that makes me look at one of these tactics again.

But for the most part, it would be worth your while to consider avoiding some of the below.

8 Social Media Strategies I Don’t Waste Time With

I rarely do LinkedIn ads. They are not prominent enough for people to see and click. I can’t waste time on ads that no one will click. My goal is to get leads and sales.

If I can’t even get clicks… well, LinkedIn, let me know when your ads graduate from elementary school. We sometimes manage LinkedIn Ad campaigns for companies that are already using them. But I’ve yet to be surprised by an effective one.

(They are a good way to jumpstart a new LinkedIn Group, though. And Groups are one of the most effective marketing activities on LinkedIn.)

I rarely do Twitter ads. They have shown promise as they’ve developed. But Google and Facebook ads are so much more effective. What do Twitter ads add to what I get from Facebook ads? I’ve tested Twitter ads occasionally, particularly when people start to buzz about something like Twitter lead cards. But they do not perform as well as Facebook ads.

I might get better results if I invested more time and testing, but I don’t have that time right now. This is something I can afford to procrastinate, since Twitter has 1/5th of the users that Facebook does.

And, you know, there might be a reason why conferences can’t find any Twitter ad experts… that reason would be: it’s not worth your time because you can get so much more out of Facebook and Google.

I mostly ignore social networks that don’t have an ad platform. If you don’t have ads, I can’t scale what works on demand. I don’t have enough time to do everything by clever labor. Yes we sometimes fail, but I can fail and succeed on a grander scale.

Social networks with ads can become sales machines.

Without ads, ugh. That means:

I do Snapchat but only for fun and I actually save my snaps to my iPhone then post them on Instagram!

I don’t spend much time on LinkedIn Company Pages. If less than 1% of people go back to actual Facebook business pages, why would we think it would be any different with the LI Company Page? An exception would be the Human Resources department of a huge company- the company page has to look good and may be quite valuable for them in terms of new hires.

I don’t go out of my way to post to the LinkedIn (“home”) stream. I’m not sure people are really looking at their LinkedIn content streams. Most of your LinkedIn posts won’t be seen by most of your connections.

I do use Buffer and include LinkedIn, so my content does get posted there. But it doesn’t cost me any extra time or effort.

I don’t create Twitter Lists. I find that my actual networking is more effective on LinkedIn and Facebook. I confess, I use Twitter to broadcast blog posts. It’s not very 2.0 of me, is it? But it works.

But I would recommend Twitter Lists to heavy online networkers or salespeople. But people have begun to complain that people don’t engage on Twitter anymore. They certainly were most engaged up until 2010, and then it began to drop. Twitter has been almost completely marginalized by Facebook and has slowly added more and more Facebook-like features in a – perhaps unintentional – admission that their platform isn’t as successful as Facebook.

I don’t add apps to Facebook pages, because no one goes to FB pages. I have to advertise to get them to the app? Then why wouldn’t I just send them to a squeeze page (which I can split-test for optimal conversion rates) to obtain their email, instead? I have to pay for visibility to both fans and non-fans, so why would I advertise to just fans.

Emails are more valuable than fans.

I don’t spend time recklessly on new social networks like Ello. Remember Ello? It was supposed to kill Facebook. Scores of social media gurus (of which there are about 12 million) spent hours posting and buzzing about the promise of Ello. “More transparent than Facebook!”

Checking back in on the Ello buzz a month or two later, no one was using it. Surprise: it wasn’t sticky.

Flash in the pan.

Waste of time.

Shiny object.

Let other people waste their time on new social networks while you use the proven ones to get results. What if that new social network becomes powerful enough to rival Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn a year from now? Ok, jump on it then. You will be able read how-to blog posts by people who spent their time figuring out how to use it, and you’ll suddenly be as good at it as they are. That will save you a ton of time and money. In the meantime you can use the most effective networks. Stick with best practices as far as platforms and strategies go, and innovate with your content and tactics.

I recommend not early-adopting but reasonably early adoption. Wait until there is a significant amount of your target market using it. And there’s an ad platform.

I don’t use SlideShare. I used to, but I noticed no matter how many views I got, it didn’t turn into hardly any website visits for me. Good for slideshare, not good for me. I asked a peer who was using their lead gen offering and he said it didn’t work well. Ok.

Plus, as a paid speaker, do I really want to make it easier for the other 12 million social media experts to put my slides in their presentations? Nope.

I don’t try to motivate or manipulate influencers. Still waiting on any proof that it does more than raise awareness. There are easier more affordable ways to get awareness like Facebook ads. Big-time (slappa da bass mon) influencers are hard to influence. And maybe disgustingly egotistical.

Yes, I have tons of influencer friends. And yes, networking is super valuable. But should the average company try to coral a stable of influencers and get them to influence on their behalf? I haven’t seen case studies to convince me it does more than raise awareness- which you can do much more affordably with TV or Facebook ads.

I’m sure there are more time wasters I’ve forgotten about! Thank goodness. They aren’t cluttering my brain. I can focus.

This month, try cutting out some of the less effective things you do. It’ll increase your results and profits.