Some people jump on every new social media platform before it's even out of beta. The social sharing buttons on their blog seem to go on forever, and they've got profiles on every site from Bebo to Yelp.

Here's the problem this can create. You can't jump in head first and use social media just for the sake of using it and be successful. It can be overwhelming and will certainly become frustrating when you're not seeing any positive results from your efforts. And how could you, when you're spending 5 minutes a month on each site?

Instead, before jumping aboard every new network, you need to take some time and research the different platforms to determine which ones will give you the best results for your target. Not all social media networks will be beneficial to you. The most important thing to keep in mind when researching these networks is where are your clients and competitors hanging out? This is where you're going to want to be spending the most time.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while networking is free, it still takes time and ultimately time equals money. You have to invest your time into building your profiles and interacting with your followers; otherwise you end up just like the guy with too many profiles. If you don't have a goal or plan in place you could find yourself wasting lots of valuable time just using social media for the sake of using it.

This is where having a plan really increases your benefits. Think about what you want to achieve. For example, let's say your goal is to increase how many people you follow on Twitter (which in turn will increase how many followers you have) by 500 in 30 days. Break that goal down into smaller, easier-to-achieve daily goals. To follow 500 new people in 30 days you'll have to find and follow 16 new people every day. That's totally doable without spending a lot of time, and there is a clear benefit and value to your overall program.

Let's say another goal you have is to Increase your Facebook Business page likes by 100 in 30 days. If we break that down into smaller daily goals that are easier to achieve - to reach 100 new likes in 30 days you'll have to get 3 new likes every day. It's much easier to reach your social media goals when you have a clear plan in place.

Just like people so easily fail at New Year's Resolutions, if you don't put a plan in place when it comes to what you want to achieve with social media, you'll find yourself frustrated and not getting the results you want and need in order to attain your overall goals.

Keep in mind when it comes to having a plan, is that it's not all about you - yes, your ultimate goal is to get more followers and to turn those followers into clients, but the main focus needs to be your target audience and building strong relationships with them. Remember, people buy from those they know, like and trust.

Take the time to consider what social media platform will best serve your needs, and devote your time to enhancing your profiles so they speak to your prospects challenges and how you will solve them. Then set some attainable goals, and create a system to consistently participate in a meaningful way and watch your business grow!

Author's Bio: 

Jeannine Clontz, IVAA CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit:, or contact her at