Is Social Media Worth the Effort? One Blogger’s Year End Review

As 2009 becomes yesterday’s tweet, I’m reflecting on 12 month’s worth of professional adventures and social media endeavors.

Back when ’09 was shiny and new, I was already strapped in for a bumpy ride.  2008 had taken its toll, with nearly every client o’ mine on budget freeze and retainer accounts devolving to project-basis only.  I opted to make use of the slow down to bone up on the emerging and increasingly relevant realm of social media.  ‘Twas an important decision, indeed.

By March, I had two Twitter accounts, this blog and a valuable involvement with my ultimate laboratory of social media learning: the Social Media Connection website.  I also started nurturing my LinkedIn account, launched a Facebook group and absorbed practical knowledge from any reputable source I could follow.

Between these social media commitments, my day/pay job and an expanded freelance business, I often found myself working triple normal hours during the anticipated “slow down.”  As attested by timestamps on emails and status updates, I was often up and blogging…or writing copy…or editing video at 3:30 a.m.  I lived a weekendless life much of this year.  First and second quarters ’09 shall always be a sleepy, hazy blur in my memory.  And if I were to calculate an hourly rate on those nutty-long days, I’m sure I’d be quite humbled.

It was totally worth it.

Considering what I do for a living, social media is essential.  As a writer, I use social media to find and connect with readers, showcase my skills for potential clients and promote my career.  When wearing my PR hat, I use social media to broadly, efficiently purvey client news and directly interact with those who want or need to know the latest.  For marketing communications, I incorporate social media to give brands personality and build relationships and reputations.   I love the immediacy and trackability.  I love being able to shape messages directly and interact with audiences consistently.  I love adding punch to traditional tactics and getting better results.

The good news is that clients also love these aspects of social media, and they often need someone like me to make it all happen.  More marketing decision makers are admitting social media’s not a passing fancy, thus I’m starting 2010 with a nice roster of social media projects.  Nearly 12 months of 3:30 a.m. start times, triple hours and lost weekends are bearing fruit.

If you want a more fruitful 2010, embrace social media. Inject your traditional and familiar marketing and PR efforts with an infusion of dynamic interactions.  And if you need help to make that happen, let’s connect.  I’d love to help take your small biz big time in Twenty-ten!

Happy New Year!

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13 Responses to Is Social Media Worth the Effort? One Blogger’s Year End Review

  1. dearsheep says:

    Glad it’s paying off. Thanks for your help too.

  2. Happy New Year Irene…

    I’ll cut to the chase – I’ve resisted social media hardcore, but it does seem, sadly, that it is here to stay and to grow. Looking at 2010 as a way for me to become less of a 20th Century Dinosaur. Do you have any recommendations as to how one can wrap their resistant brain around this “new way” and how to learn more about the “beast?” Congratulations to you and more power to you in the coming year! Thanks and be well. CJB ~

    • Happy New Year, Christopher J Bowen, O Chief of Creative, Griller of Chicken and Grower of Facial Hair!

      First of all, I think the “dinosaur” comment and claim of hardcore resistance to social media may be erroneous. After all, you happened upon my blog through a social network and proceeded to reply accordingly. This string of activity is exactly what social media and online communities are all about!

      As my reference to your chicken grilling and facial hair reveals, I visited your website (www.fellswaycreatives.com for those playing at home). You and your trusty sidekicks are so “ripe for the picking” when it comes to social media participation. You guys are creative (hence the company name) and very, very funny!

      Social media can be a great stage for you to showcase your senses of humor, your latest and greatest work, as well as your insights—and to connect with kindred spirited clients.

      Consider
      (1) a blog – updated weekly with an anecdote, featured project or creative observation and repostable on your LinkedIn account
      (2) a company Twitter account, through which you can purvey random hilarities and drive traffic to your blog/website
      (3) a Facebook fan page to engage clients and potentials in a primarily social forum (link your blog here as well
      a LinkedIn company profile for Fellsway

      For inspiration, I suggest you check out
      The Daily Heller, a blog by Steven Heller via Print Magazine (http://www.printmag.com/dailyheller/)
      Tim Siedell – hilarious Twitter guy (http://twitter.com/badbanana) and amusing blogger (http://badbanana.typepad.com/)

      Both the aforementioned fellows are very prolific, but you could have great impact by doing a weekly blog entry and a few funny/insightful/eyebrow-raising “tweets” a week. Considering what I saw on your website, I’d sooo follow you on Twitter and check out your blog just to see what you’d come up with.

      Of course, should you opt to dive in, you want to have a community to connect with (notice I didn’t say “audience” since social media is about relationships and not selling). Just as in life, the way to have friends is to be a friend online. Reach out, just as you’ve done with me, and you’ll gather momentum organically.

      Hope these ideas help you! As a creative type myself, I’ve found social media is a good spark-starter and sparring ground. You’re gonna have plenty of fun with this, I have no doubt.

      Godspeed and pass the garlic chicken!
      –Irene

    • p.s. – Create a YouTube channel for posting video. Links easily embed into your blog platform.

  3. Margie Simon says:

    What wonderful, upbeat advice. I look forward to following your posts, Irene. It’s time to join the ranks of social media mavens–even if I was a naysayer.

    Thanks for great suggestions on how to begin and for doing so in such a positive manner.

    Margie

  4. This is a great article and many thanks for it. I am still surprised at how many people don’t think Social Media should be part of their essential marketing mix. It doesn’t replace conventional marketing strategies but it should certainly be part of it. Creating on line relationships and building trust are key to establishing an on line presence. I have met some amazing people through Social Media and continue to receive excellent advice and articles on a daily basis.

    Many thanks again

    Lesley-Anne

    • Hi Lesley-Anne!
      I, too, have made some incredible connections through social media and am consistently energized by the ideas and inspirations. Who wouldn’t want to participate in something so valuable? I deeply appreciate the time you took to read my blog, as well as the kindness shared in your comment!
      Thank YOU,
      Irene

  5. Keith Warner says:

    Hi Irene,

    Thanks for your insight on social media “ROI”. Certainly a question I often ask myself, usually at 3:30 am as well… Like you, I dove in head first in 2009 and am having a blast interacting with clients and potential connections via blog, linkedin, facebook, twitter (PBCkeith). I look forward to your insight on this blog!

    Cheers,
    Keith

    • Keith,
      Thanks for reading–and relating! It’s nice to know I’m not alone in those early morning endeavors. I appreciate the feedback very much and will gladly reciprocate any time!
      Happy New Year and new connection,
      –Irene

  6. Patty Mooney says:

    Irene, Thanks for sharing this blog post. Anytime you dedicate large chunks of your lifetime (I call it a “pile of time chips”) you need to decide if it’s really worth it. I, too, began a blog and a large social marketing push in late ’08. I had more time to sit in front of the computer, after a Total Knee Replacement followed by a retinal detachment (well, two in a row, actually…) I’ve found it to be an essential way to keep our business site up in SEO rankings, and a side benefit is that an online community has opened up to welcome and nurture me. It’s a good thing I can type 120 wpm!!! 🙂

    • Patty, hello!
      Thanks for sparing some time chips to read and respond (and thanks for head’s up on the Technorati link, too!!). Sounds like circumstances sidelined you, yet you had the chutzpah to come out shining. What a journey you’ve been on! Let’s stay in touch, please; I hope the knee and the retinas are all in place as they should be. Happy blogging…
      Thanks again!
      –Irene
      –Irene

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