Paralysis by Analysis – Stop Over-Thinking Social Media!

A week ago Ann Handley gave a Hubspot Bold Talk about following your fear. Her message is something that resonates with a lot of people. Essentially, she tells us to get out of our comfort zone even if our first instinct is to say “hell, no.” That fear of getting out of our comfort zone may be something that many of us feel on a daily basis as we interact on social media. It’s one thing to represent yourself on social media where you’re free to Tweet what you want when you want, how you want. It’s another when you’re a representative of your company. With the overlap between personal and professional social profiles increasing, it gets harder and harder to feel entirely comfortable posting on social media. That being said, the point of this blog post is don’t overthink it, and here’s why.

Learn to Optimize

Social media moves in real-time. Whenever I feel anxiety about sending out a Tweet I look over at my home feed tab in HootSuite. How often do I look at this? Not that often. That means I’m missing 98% of Tweets by users I’m following being sent out on a normal day. I like to think that if I do make a mistake, my Tweet will quickly be swallowed up in the never-ending onslaught of Tweets being pushed out by other users.

However, the more often you Tweet, the higher the likelihood someone will notice you, and you want to be noticed! The whole point of social media is that you don’t have to sit in the corner twiddling your thumbs. People that you never would have otherwise been connected to can respond to, favourite or ReTweet your content. That’s an aspect of social media that’s incredibly special.

 These engagements also help you learn how to optimize your posts. The more you’re posting, the more feedback you’ll get. If you use applications like HootSuite or Buffer, you’ll be able to easily keep track of which posts were ignored, which were favourited, or which were ReTweeted. From there you’ll see if there’s a commonality between these posts and if so, that’s where you can tweak your editorial calendar to better fit the interests of your audience.

Don’t Be Paralyzed by Overanalyzing

Paralysis caused by too much analysis is something many of us are affected by. We get caught up with doubts like: “I don’t know what to say,” “is this worded correctly?” “Are people going to misinterpret what I’m saying?” “Is this something my audience will be interested in?” This second, third, and fourth guessing hinder our ability to confidently send outposts to our followers.

To combat this, as well as save time, I tell myself to post it if I’m 60% sure. That means I’m 60% sure this could be a successful post. Why do I do this? Because I’ve learned that doing nothing hurts you a lot more than taking a leap of faith and putting yourself out there. As long as you have a clear understanding of what your goal is on social media (and you’re not in charge of coordinating a social media team) your time shouldn’t be centred on planning each post. As we’ve discussed before, try to be in the habit of planning and scheduling your posts and Tweets a week in advance so that you’re not caught up spending an inordinate amount of time labouring over tweets to send out.

Test the Boundaries

Now, here comes the scary part. You’ve got to get out there and start talking to people. Think about starting a conversation with someone you don’t know, or consider adding someone on Linkedin you’ve never met in person. Push the boundaries and see what you can do because social media is an extremely powerful medium. If you’re not comfortable starting a conversation or adding someone on LinkedIn, try favouriting people’s Tweets or posts. It’s an easy way to show you’re engaged without actually having to start a conversation. It’ll help you ease into this mindset that it’s okay to put yourself out there on social media.

Don’t get caught up in the action thinking the whole world can see you. Inevitably you’ll get pushback, but the positive return outweighs the negative. Leverage scheduling tools like those we discussed above in order to make sure planning your posts doesn’t cost you valuable time. Don’t be afraid to poke the box and see what happens. Social media happens in real-time, what you did yesterday doesn’t matter anymore.

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