I’ve long been a loud advocate of the power of social media and digital marketing if used in the right way. The biggest issue that I try to drive home to all of my clients, however, is the simple truth that social media is – and must be seen as – an investment for your business.

It costs money in terms of resources, but it also costs far more in terms of time – the time it takes to develop a social media strategy, to build an audience of friends, fans and followers and to maintain that tribe of people in a way that makes them feel valued by both the brand and the people behind the brand.

Which is why I was so disheartened to see this article on Mashable.com this week on time-saving tips for Twitter.  While I agree that there are ways to increase your productivity by developing processes and systems to optimise you and your company’s time on social media sites, I was taken aback to read this (under Number 3):

Another way to fit tweeting into your schedule is to develop tweets in bulk and schedule them to go out later.

Leyl Master Black, mashable.com

This is possibly the single most misleading piece of advice that is bandied around about Twitter. Scheduling Tweets isn’t conversation, it’s broadcasting.  Social media is specifically that: social. It’s about interaction, conversation and community, not about broadcasting your “message”1 – that’s what traditional media and paid-for advertising is for.

If you only take one thing away from this blog over however many weeks, months and years it exists and you subscribe, let it be this: don’t schedule your Tweets. If you’re not prepared to invest the time to be part of the conversation with your tribe around your brand, then this form of online marketing isn’t for you.

Most importantly, remember that not being on Twitter, or Facebook, or LinkedIn, or Tumblr, or Blogger, or WordPress or any other social media, blogging or online marketing site doesn’t automatically make you “un-hip” or “out-of-the-loop”. If it’s not right for you, your audience or your budget, then not being on them makes you a far savvier marketer than anyone who’s simply using them as just another broadcasting platform.

I’m getting down off my soapbox now.

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  1. whatever that may be: sales, social good, charitable []