Over the past couple of months I’ve read a few blog posts and Facebook entries from acquaintances expressing concern about Social Media activity in relation to time burned and eventual payoff. I’ve been meaning to write something up on this topic for a while, but had to wait for the right time to squeeze it into my schedule (see tip #3). I am certainly pro-social media, but at the same time I’m quite the pragmatist in knowing that different folks will manage their social media activity differently based on their comfort level and business needs. Rather than reply here and there online as this concern is aired here is my consolidated list of 10 Tips to Manage Social Media Productivity:
1. Scanning versus Searching for Activity
If you’re not up for scanning for activity through out the day search for updates/topics/people at one set time through Twitter search or set up a listening post for terms relevant to you. A listening post will allow you to scan for activity on your schedule.
2. Activity on Your Terms
While it can certainly help to be active everyday for certain social media strategies, don’t feel you have to manage social media every day. Many social media web sites are a constant flow of data/messages/interactivity that can overwhelm even seasoned social media pros. If you miss something it’s not the end of the world. If you want to catch up see tip #1. You can’t take a sip of water from the bottom of Niagara Falls.
Prioritize online activity choices and match it to the time you can allocate to social media work. This tip is particularly true if you have a presence on multiple sites.
4. Fun versus Work
Keep in mind the difference between social media activity with a business purpose and social media activity with a personal/for fun activity. If you’re lucky you’ll have both blur together more times than not. Per tip #2 if you’re working focus on addressing work updates versus personal updates. Being disciplined in this area can save quite a bit of time.
5. Don’t Stretch Yourself Thin
Do what you can when you can. Set a schedule if it helps to have 30 min a day you’re active online or set a day/week that you check online regularly and another day/week you’re offline. Activity on social media sites should be done when convenient for you. You shouldn’t become a slave to it.
6. Don’t Be A Slave to Engagement
Adjust your marketing mindset and don’t get turned upside down. Social Media while about interaction/engagement is also about publishing. It’s ok to have a bit of old school one sided publishing in the mix. Not every online activity has to be interactive, but to be social you should have a decent of amount of it. Perhaps a 60/40 mix will work for your audience versus a gung-ho 90/10 social to publishing mix. To know what works best for you and your audience may require a bit of experimentation.
7. Responding to Followers & Fans
While its great form to respond to everyone that reaches out to you, as you increase your fan base/followers it becomes unrealistic to do so. Don’t feel beholden to respond to everyone. If you can you’re a rock star, if not its because you’re a working professional and there’s nothing wrong with that.
8. Know When to Scale Back If Necessary
If you’re not having fun being active in your social media marketing or its not adding to your productivity/opportunity… consider scaling back or even cutting out activity on less productive web sites. Social Media marketing is in its early stages and not all services are mature nor are all online marketing techniques optimized. A lot of this is still experimental so consider yourself an early adopter. This being said I would investigate methods of optimizing your activity before you completely pull the plug on taking part on certain web sites or with social media all together.
9. Consolidation & Connectivity
Look for opportunities to consolidate online activity to a central forum (your blog, Facebook, or Twitter) and set expectation with your audience. You don’t have to interact with people on the same post in 3 different locations. If you have yet to read my blog post The Birds and the Bees of Social Media Connectivity be sure to do so.
10. Know Who & What You Are
Remind yourself who you are and act accordingly. Are you a photographer, a blogger or social networking butterfly? (If you’re not a photographer replace it with whatever profession you are a member.) If you’re getting sucked into Social Media and finding your time is disappearing asking yourself this question is a quick way to get yourself back on track. This is one tip that has helped me stay on track over several years of social media activity.
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[tags]Social Media, Productivity, Tips, Best Practices[/tags]