The human attention span is now shorter than a goldfish.
If you didn’t already click that link, in roughly 3 seconds, you’ll be itching to be read something else.
If that tab you dedicate to Twitter suddenly changes to “(1) Twitter / Interactions” for instance, my chances of keeping you reading this article diminish drastically.
Same goes for when Facebook notifies you, you get a text, a Snap, an email or whatever.
“Social Media Marketer” is a dangerous job for your attention span.
It doesn’t help that the platforms you rely on for communicating value are intentionally designed to be habit forming products either.
One wrong click, and you’re sucked in like a vortex-like rabbit hole, murdering your productivity and your career if you’re not careful.
What do you do?
Savvy social media marketers filter out what they're supposed to
In computer science, there’s a phrase “Garbage In, Garbage Out” that basically states that a computer will unquestionably process useless data input and produce undesired, often nonsensical output.
If you’re spending most of your day on Facebook clicking on the baby photos your cousin just posted and falling for the most recent clickbait post from Upworthy, the odds are inexorably stacked against you when it comes time to produce something that gets your target market’s attention.
This is why virtually every social media platform has some method of filtering the content you’re exposed to.
On Facebook there are groups, on Pinterest there are topic specific boards, Google+ uses Circles and Communities, and on Twitter there are often #hashtag chats around very specific topics.
At the very least, as a social media marketer, you should be using these to find your target market, and filter out everything everyone else is saying.
Step 1: Make sure you properly categorize the information on your website
Here’s a question for you, if you haven’t really organized the information on your site, what chance do you stand of knowing where to put that content once it’s time to publish?
For example, If I have a category dedicated to “Email Marketing” as part of my online marketing blog, wouldn’t it make sense to look at all of the different social media communities dedicated to “email marketing”?
As simple as that may sound, it’s the lack of organization on the website that is often the root of ineffective social media marketing processes.
The result is taking a freshly published piece of content and distributing to a Facebook Page, Twitter Page, Google Plus and maybe LinkedIn, then wondering, “now what?”
While that’s a necessary part of the distribution mix, it completely misses out on the other 99% of what social media communities have to offer.
This article on CrazyEgg goes deep into how to properly categorize your content and the many other understated benefits this kind of structured thinking provides for publishers.
Step 2: Build a spreadsheet to find relevant groups on social media
Once you’ve organized the categories on your site, it’s time to build a spreadsheet. I use Google Docs because it’s free and easy to use/share with team members.
That spreadsheet will track various groups across social media that are directly related to the categories on your site.
It looks something like this.
To ensure the groups are as tightly organized as possible, you’ll want to create a new sheet at the bottom of the page, and name each new sheet after the categories on your site.
Once this framework is set up, search Facebook, Google+, Twitter hashtags, Tumblr, Pinterest, and any other social site for groups that are centered around each category on your site and build your network database.
If you want to get really deep, you can use Google’s advanced search operators to find niche forums that are also likely comprised of your target market.
Step 3: Use ONLY the spreadsheet for social engagement
After you’ve built your database – I recommend between 25 to 50 groups per category – work only off of this spreadsheet when you do your social media marketing.
During work hours, resist the temptation to go to your main feeds, and instead use only this spreadsheet as a way to put yourself smack dab in the middle of your target market.
Interact with everyone normally, help where you can, and distribute content only when it’s appropriate (do not spam these groups)
In no time you’ll find that your filters will make you a better content producer, and your distribution has multiplied exponentially because you’re producing with very specific groups of people in mind.
If you allow it this will also influence every level of your digital strategy from product development to landing page optimization, customer service and more.
About the Author
Tommy Walker is an Online Marketing Strategist and Host of two YouTube shows, Inside The Mind & The Mindfire Chats. Tommy's main mission is to make the concepts of online marketing fun and interesting to learn.