The first post in this series was about scheduling email time to save precious hours every week. This post is about social media.
LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., just weren’t that important when we started in 2006, but now most professionals use social media to promote themselves. But social media can be a time killer. A friend of mine introduced me to Pinterest a few months ago – six hours later, I was finally able to pull my head away from my laptop. It’s so easy to get lost replying to Facebook posts. So, how to control it?
Like email time, social media time needs to be scheduled. But this is a little different, because for social media to work as a promotional device, you need to provide good content, not just consume it. Social media time is the new marketing time, and must be managed accordingly.
In Avoid Social Media Time Suck, Frances Caballo recommends posting schedules that limit social media time to thirty minutes a day. I love the concept, but the idea of being on social media at four or five different times a day is unrealistic. (Caveat: Caballo’s book targets writers, not entrepreneurs). Keeping social media time to once a day can still be effective, with these guidelines:
- Determine which social media platforms work best for you. LinkedIn, for example, has always been geared more towards professional relationships. Facebook for friends. Pinterest is terrific if you have lots of pictures to share. And Twitter is for those precious 140-character messages that just can’t wait. Figure out which platforms reach your target audience and skip the others.
- Your content needs to promote you and your business – if you need to post about your kids or your cat, save it for after hours.
- Not all content needs to be homegrown. Websites like Feedly search for content defined by your keywords, content you can share. Meddle allows the content your employees read to be shared, branded with your company’s look and feel.
- Use a dashboard like Hootsuite to schedule your posts and tweets ahead of time. You can hit choice posting times without actually being at your computer.
- Keep your professional persona separate from your private one. It might seem like extra work, but you can safely ignore a hundred links to dancing cat videos on your personal timeline. You can’t ignore customers responding to a tweet.
Social media is meant to be, well, social, so be sure to set aside time to like your friends’ posts, share a recipe or a picture. Or even a dancing cat video.
Question: Where do you spend your social media time?