Social Media Content Social Media PlansIf you have been working with social media for more than a few minutes, you have probably uttered some variation of the phrase: “great, something new I have to learn.”

If there is a constant in social media marketing these days, it is that as soon as you learn one platform, there will be a new one emerging that will demand your attention. Keeping up with the latest and greatest applications – because they all bill themselves as the next killer app – is enough to wear a person out, never mind actually deploying the platform as a marketing and public relations tool.

It’s an issue that’s dominated conversations here at Weidert as we have watching the growing interest in Pinterest, which has been the topic of the most popular blog posts and tip sheets we have ever compiled. If need to catch up, here’s a recap:

Now, just a day after our latest post on Pinterest, the following e-mail subject line caught my attention: 15 Social Media Platforms to Invest in This Year.

The first reaction was frustration – we are just getting the hang of Pinterest, and now there are 15 new things to figure out! My second thought was to put on the brakes and pause for a minute, thinking that just because it’s the latest and greatest does not mean it will make sense for our business.

That second thought is the one I want to emphasize. We know there will always be something new. In some ways, we love that. But new does not always mean effective. Not every platform is going to be effective for every business. You could wind up expending a lot of time, energy and money trying to master outlets that won’t deliver qualified leads.

No one wants to try and explain that. To avoid it, keep some simple rules and practices in mind.

Have well-defined social media plans

You can avoid wasting time and effort on channels that won’t help you if you develop a social media plan and stick with it. Important elements include your message, your content and your targets. Yes, the plan will need to be flexible and there may be a need to adopt a new platform. But if you have those fundamentals in place, you will be in a better position to evaluate whether those new tools will work for your business.

Go with what you know works

If you have been engaged in social media for a while, you will have some pretty good ideas what works for you and what does not. For example, we know here at Weidert that LinkedIn is a priority social media channel for us, generating 900 percent more leads than the next social media channel. Whatever we do with social media, and even if we add something new, we would be hard pressed to take away resources from a channel with that kind of success.

Go where your customers are

If you really know your targets, then you know the social media channels they are most likely to use. Use that information. If it’s unlikely that your targets use Facebook for business, then it probably doesn’t make much sense for you to spend a lot of time and energy on your presence there. Conversely, if your targets are likely to be on Twitter, spending time each day making sure you have compelling content links is a wise investment. Each new platform should be evaluated the same way.

Of course, you should never rule out that a new social media channel will work for you. The channels are changing all of the time, and new players are always coming into the market. One may work for you particularly well. You will be a lot smarter at finding it – and avoiding wasting time with others – if you follow these simple rules.

By staying true to your social media plans, you will spend less time chasing the latest and greatest and more time attracting qualified visitors and leads that you can convert to customers.

Learn more about using social media to market your business: