Social media is fun – and this is good, but it is also bad. While I consider myself very lucky to be a social media consultant, doing something I love, I am also very aware of the fact that once I log onto a social networking site, I can get lost in there and stay on that site far longer than I had planned. Here are my tips for making sure your social media efforts are as efficient as possible:
1. Set a schedule. If you blog and do social media for clients, you need to be on a fairly rigid schedule in order to avoid wasting time. The same applies if you do your own social media. Example: I like to write first thing in the morning. So I write from 8am-10am, then visit social networks from 10am-noon. After lunch, from 1-2pm, I answer emails. It’s not that I never get tempted to visit Facebook first thing in the morning, but I usually manage to stick to my schedule.
2. Avoid multi-tasking. Multi-tasking may feel good – you may feel like you’re getting more done -but in fact, research has shown that it slows you down. So try to focus on one task at a time. I had to work very hard on this, but now when my blog dashboard is slow to, say, upload an image, I just wait patiently, resisting the urge to use these few seconds to peek into my Twitter timeline.
3. Use the same content more than once. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel! Got a fabulous white paper? Break it down into smaller sections, simplify the language, and use that for several blog posts. Posted something on Facebook? Post it (maybe a little shorter but the same general idea) on Twitter too.
4. Don’t forget conversation. Conversation is just as important as creating fresh content. You don’t have to create fresh content daily. Once or twice a week is quite enough – the rest of your social media chatter can – and should – be responses to what others are saying.
5. Limit your social media channels and tools. There are so many social networking sites out there, and so many tools to help you manage your social media marketing. But you shouldn’t spread yourself too thin. Pick just a few (2-3) social networking sites and focus on those. And use just one or two social media tools (for example, Sprout Social for social media reporting and monitoring).
Of course, you’re human, and even the best laid plans will not always guarantee that you won’t find yourself so absorbed in a social media site that you waste precious time on it. But it’s still good to have a social media plan, and to follow it – most of the time.