The Internet: simultaneously exciting and exhausting, useful and useless. Social media, in particular, is a hot topic these days for businesses large and small. You can try to tackle it all yourself, slough it off onto an intern, or hire someone to train you or take it over completely. It's tempting, especially when you hear one success story after the next about how Twitter launched a business from nobody to household name in 128 characters, to want to devote a ton of time to social networking. With new services launching constantly, it's hard not to feel like your business needs to have a presence on every single one.
I played that game for a while, and I always felt like I was fighting a losing battle. Honestly, unless your company is big enough that it can dedicate significant resources to maintaining a million different profiles, I think it's better to just pick the few that most easily lend themselves to your area of business. And be really good at those. Having a Twitter account that you only tweet from or check a few times a week does nothing for you, and you might as well just not do it at all. We all dream of having a vast social media following -- thousands of eager listeners hanging on our every word. We think one brilliant Instagram photo will somehow launch our business into the stratosphere.
But just like everything else in business, success comes from dedication and vision. Sure, there are a few people who are in the right place at the right time -- but the rest of us have to dig in and stick it out. Instead of spreading yourself too thin with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Foursquare, just be awesome at two or three. There are lots of ways to be awesome, which is another post entirely (or you can get some tips from Lightspan Digital). But the important thing for me to remember is that I don't have to be good at everything to win. Creative, interactive and (most importantly) consistent output is the key to developing a dedicated audience.
Nina Interlandi Bell, co-owner of Tweedle Press, a small letterpress printing company in Chicago’s Rogers Park. Nina is Tweedle Press' fearless leader of design, letterpress printing, and sustainability research. Her laserlike focus and penchant for mission-hood make her prone to both fits of creative excitement and, occasionally, an overwhelming urge to do everything.