Social media is an amazing networking and marketing tool, but it can suck away your time and productivity. Here are some tips for using social media as a professional with an optimal time:reward ratio:
1. Frequency: It is more effective to spend 1/2 an hour on social media everyday than 1 hour every two days or four consecutive hours every week. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and many other platforms push the freshest content to the top.
2. Be selective: If you are an individual doing your own social media marketing you need to be selective.
- Be realistic about the amount of time you can actually dedicate to social media daily.
- Identify what your goals are and what you expect to gain from time spent on social networks. Are you trying to attract new clients? Are you trying to stay up to date in your industry? Both?
- Evaluate which networks your target market spends the most time on, not you, and focus on your presence there.
3. Stay focused: Social media does take time, but it doesn’t take as much time if you shut out the noise. Social media is full of distracting content and the layout is designed to get you caught up in it. While going to update your Facebook page you might see a picture of your friend’s adorable kid, click into it, comment, then get caught up in chat or conversation.
- Go offline. If you going on Facebook to update your page, ad campaigns, or whatever else take yourself out of the chat so you don’t find yourself getting messaged by family and friends.
- Go straight to your work and accomplish what you need to get done before you allow yourself to engage leisurely. Tweet your latest tweet, reply to direct messages and mentions, followback, manage your Facebook ads, reply to page posts… whatever the task is be sure to prioritize it.
4. Be consistent: Whatever your strategy may be, try to keep it consistent. If you have a blog don’t post once a month and then suddenly post 3 posts in one day. If you’re on Twitter tweet at least once a day.
5. Find your formula: If you’ve been on social media for a while you should have a sense for how much time you need to spend on each network each day. You’re formula could be 10 Twitter, 10 Facebook, 10 LinkedIn or 5 Facebook, 10 Pinterest, 5 Twitter. Whatever it is figure it out and stick to it.
6. Have a social day: Pick one day every 1-2 weeks to zoom in your social media efforts. Sit down with a nice cup of coffee or tea and examine your efforts over the last few weeks and ask the following questions:
- What posts/shares got the most attention and feedback?
- Where was my time wasted and where do I need to spend more of my time?
- How many likes/followers did I gain/lose?
- What did I learn about my industry?
- Are my efforts translating into leads/effective networking/more business?
On this day you should also take the time to do some maintenance and more detailed networking that you don’t need to do on a day-to-day basis. For example:
- Endorse/recommend some people in your network on LinkedIn.
- Answer questions and participate in discussions in your industry.
- Seek new connections.
- Check for broken links in old posts.
7. Do it on the go: Have a smart phone? If you don’t you should consider investing in one. A long line, taxi ride, or waiting for a friend to show up are all great opportunities to fit social media into your day. You can tweet, reply to messages, and stay up to date with conversations without taking a chunk of time out of your day.
8. Use some online tools: There are lots of tools out there designed to simplify your social media efforts.
- Tweriod: Helps you determine what the most effective times to tweet/share are.
- Hootsuite: Is a social media dashboard that allows you to schedule tweets.
- Crowdbooster: Tells you the best times to post on Twitter and Facebook.
- ViralHeat: A social media management tool that allows geo-targeted sharing to Facebook.
- Sendible: Perhaps the most comprehensive social media management tool in terms of the number of platforms it covers.