How do you decide to dedicate time to a new tool/platform/gadget? What is the process you go through mentally? And then later – how do you convince others to go through that process? And, last: How do you ensure that the tools you do adopt are used once the “newness” factor fades?
Given the vastness of the Internet wasteland that is social media, keeping track of and incorporating new social media tools can seem like a daunting task. Ultimately, I stick to one governing principle when it comes to social media: how will the respective tool improve (and make easier) my work as digital media editor for Urbanite magazine?
Much of the thinking associated with the position is focused on developing an online strategy that will draw readers to the website, keep their attention, and get them to click on other pages on the site. It’s a strategy hell-bent on cultivating an online readership of loyal fans (as opposed to “fly-bys“).
So, social media tools incorporated—and the manner in which said tools are used—all need to serve the same purpose: attracting readers. If I’m able to sketch out, either in paper or my own mind, the way a social media tool will accomplish that, then I add it to my toolbox. Facebook and Twitter—and, by extension, Hootsuite—are no-brainers, so to speak, when it comes to driving traffic. Add to that StumbleUpon, Google +, and Digg. Timely.is, Retweet Rank, and Qwitter are used because they allow me to gauge when most of Urbanite‘s followers are reading my tweets, which of those tweets are most successful (I submit that the arbitrary metric of retweets isn’t the best to base this off of), and which tweets result in people un-following Urbanite.
QR codes are used judiciously; I have one QR code linked to an Urbanite E-Zine sign-up list—which allows me to track just how many people actually use the damn code to sign up for our e-mail newsletters—and another linked straight to each month’s Issuu PDF.
SocialToaster, by far, is the one tool that makes perfect sense for my work. Essentially, it taps into the social networks (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn) of friends and followers of Urbanite, makes them “ambassadors” for the magazine, and then content we want pushed out is disseminated as normal updates on our friends’ and followers’ own networks. All of that is synced in with a dashboard that shows me which of Urbanite‘s followers have the greatest reach and most influence. (So, I can see, for instance, if a Tweet of an Urbanite article by “Mike” reached all 1,000 of his followers, as well as how many unique visitors to our site his one Tweet generated.)
In short, I use only the social media tools that will achieve the goal of driving traffic to our website. In the process, online engagement, online community-building, and brand management, among other things, are developed and maintained. If a tool can’t do that, then I don’t waste my time with it. It’s the same message I preach to others. Find a way to make social media work for you and your job; if you can’t find a justifiable reason to use a specific social media tool for your particular line of work (be that in advertising, marketing, journalism, and so on), don’t resort to using the tool for the sake of it.