The 3 T’s of Social Media Time Management
Whether you are on social media to have fun, do business, or make career connections, there’s a way to get more out of it in less time.
The key is to step back and take a look at what you’re doing. Are you using the best social media time management tools and tactics? Are you keeping track so you have a way to measure your effectiveness?
- What if you could spend less time on social media, but get more out of it?
- What if there was a way to keep growing your online connections, but not have to spend more time maintaining those connections?
- What if you could turn social media from a time waster, into a business or life changer?
On Twitter, I handle a very active community of over 300,000 followers in my spare time. Without a slew of social media time management tips and tricks, there’s no way I could do it. Following is a selection of my favorite best practices for getting control of your time on social media.
Respond More Efficiently To Key Contacts
Responding quickly to your community or clients is critical to success; being known for quick response builds a great reputation and enhances your effectiveness.
Plus, if you’re in business, it’s a required part of giving good customer service.
But some people avoid connecting to social media via their mobile device because they’re afraid it will waste time rather than save time.
Perhaps this strategy will change your mind: Turn OFF updates from your mobile social media app. Instead use a custom email filter that informs you of ONLY messages from key people who you designate.
To do this, have your social media site send you updates by email, but then set up email filters (here’s how) to delete emails unless they are from whoever you designate as key contacts. You may want to also move them into a folder automatically, or set up email alerts within your inbox or by using an outside program such as eprompter. You can also use filters to alert you of key content, such as anyone you follow using the name of your business.
By working with social media at the e-mail level, this has the added benefit of giving you control of your efficiency across both desktop and mobile platforms.
The Ultimate Time Waster: Sharing When No One Is Listening
If you’ve been on social media any time at all, you’ve probably heard of influence measurement services such as Klout.
They measure in part how much people respond to the things you share. So what happens when you share something nobody sees? You gain no influence from it at all. This is not only a waste of time, but it’s also a hidden waste of time, because you can’t easily see who is online and engaged.
Plus, even if you knew when the best times to reach people were, it’s not efficient to change your schedule to always be available when other people are available.
So, how can you ensure you’re reaching people efficiently?
If you’re a Twitter user, you may have noticed the ever-expanding number of testimonials from users explaining how a simple tool has both saved them time and dramatically increased their influence rating.
How did they do it?
Both gave primary credit to their use of BufferApp as causing the increase. BufferApp automatically schedules whatever you share on Twitter or Facebook for when more of your community is likely to be listening.
Combined with tools that do detailed tracking of when your community is active online such as Tweriod and WhenToTweet, BufferApp very efficiently increases your effectiveness on social media. (This is particularly true since it integrates single-click sharing into tons of places.)
Many businesses spend way too much time on social media, with too little payoff. The same is true for nonbusiness individuals just trying to figure out how social media might be of benefit to them.
Too many seem to think it’s all about GETTING ONTO Twitter or Facebook at all costs…and not what they do once they’re there. After all, their competitors or friends are on—and that must mean something…right?
If you are now feeling a bit at sea, you are probably realizing that good planning is necessary for good results.
It all starts with having clear objectives, such as:
Learning Community Guidelines
Key tactic: Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations for social media training. Doing research at this stage really pays off, as quality and focus of social media training varies widely. And don’t forget when talking to a training provider to ask them how they compare to their competition.
Key tactic: Pick one key influencer each week to devote your attention to making a connection with. For example, search the directories to find the most influential social media users in your area of interest.
Experimenting with Best Practices for Engaging Your Community or Clients
Key tactic: Do a Google search for articles on creating polls and social media contests. Learn about community engagement tactics such as asking people to caption the photo, or submit their own photos.
Achieving Goals Such as Getting People to Respond, Newsletter Sign-ups, Website Traffic, or Direct Sales
Key tactic: Measure the results at your website. Whether you’re a business or a blogger, you need to invite your clients and community onto your home turf. Learn how to more effectively ask visitors to your site to subscribe by providing an e-mail address.
Once you’ve determined the tactics to try, now it’s time to start following a well-defined social media communications plan. In this next step we need to analyze whether it’s actually working. If not, time for more trouble-shooting.
So, how do you measure your success?
Measure Educational Progress
You won’t be effective if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Best Practice: Keep a paper or electronic notebook handy to jot down any questions you may have. Share your questions on social media to make a connection with your community while you learn. For things you don’t want to mention publicly, use private messages or set up some time each week to do Google searches to find articles related to your key questions.
Know Your Social Media Stats
There is no absolute number you are shooting for: instead, you want to be able to see the difference your efforts make from week to week, or month to month.
Have a Communications Schedule
In addition to sharing interesting things that you find while browsing the web, you’ll also need to be linking to your own site, or doing things like sharing contest announcements from time to time. Create a weekly schedule of information that you want to send out on your social networking sites.
Best practice: Sit down at regular intervals throughout the week or month to set up things you want to share. Use a scheduling tool such as BufferApp, which also offers one click sharing of anything you come across when browsing the web, or the scheduling function of social media dashboards such as HootSuite or TweetDeck.
Scheduled sharing needs to be in addition to genuine engagement and communication with your community or clients. Don’t automate finding information or responding to people: do that personally. But do automate some of your sharing.
Follow Hashtags and Keywords
It’s so important to keep your quality high –otherwise you’ll be like the boy who cried wolf, and people will stop listening to you and unfollow you.
Best Practice: To save time and connect with more people, consider using a Twitter search tool like Monitter or Twitterfall. You can sort tweets by topic, using hashtags and keywords to find relevant information to retweet, and engage with like-minded individuals.
You’re The Boss
No amount of planning our tracking can make you an effective manager of your time if you don’t learn to cut out distractions. Remember, tools like Tweetdeck exists to assist you. You’re still the boss. Don’t let them run the show.
Best Practice: Just Stop. If you find yourself too distracted by beeping or other notifications, to be effective in your other work, cut them out until you are ready to use them again. You’re the master, the tools are your servants.
If social media seems like a time drain, your best practice is always to cut back right away. After you step back, check your tools and tactics. Create or recheck your plan and track what you’re doing.
If you are looking for something simple you can do today to gain control of your social media time, I would say make a place to write down your questions and learn a simple tool like BufferApp. Keep it simple and keep your focus on steady improvement.
What are your favorite tools and tactics? How do you track your social media effectiveness? We’d would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment in the box below and share your questions or tips.