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The Guide To Social Media Time Management

theGuide to SocMed TimeDo you struggle with social media time management?

Are you spending more time than necessary and not getting the results you want?

Most people tend to waste a lot of time on social media because the process they have to complete those tasks takes much more time than necessary. Even worse, I find they spend a lot of time on tasks that create little long-term value while missing out on the most important high leveraging tasks.

I considered writing this article in a way that would set specific times for specific tasks but I quickly realized that wasn’t going to make sense for everybody. Instead, I tried to uncover some of the major reasons why inefficiency in social media occurs, how to identify where you could be wasting time and some simple guidelines that will help you make the right decisions to become highly productive.

Top 5 Reasons You Are Wasting Time on Social Media

  1. Spending time on tasks that don’t produce results. It’s so easy to waste hours a day just looking at your Facebook insights or seeing how many shares you got on your last post. You can’t question the efficacy of your social efforts if you aren’t spending most of your time reaching out to new people and building relationships with targeted prospects.
  2. You’re missing the foundational elements that give you credibility and establish trust. If you don’t have an optimized LinkedIn profile (or any other social network you are using) that speaks to your ideal client, they aren’t going to be interested in your attempts to connect.
  3. You’re reactive, not proactive. Nothing truly exciting will come along when you’re in autopilot. Always be ready to hustle and put time into tasks that putting you closer to developing real relationships with prospects and strategic alliances.
  4. You think you’re a big deal (but you’re not). It’s unfortunate when business owners get complacent in their social media efforts because they are proud of themselves for hitting 500 followers on Instagram. There is no destination in marketing because the target is always moving. Never be satisfied with your results and constantly strive to find the next big challenge as you hit milestones.
  5. You don’t realize you’re a big deal (and you’re dropping the ball). There are some big companies out there that are completely dropping the ball with social media because they are more concerned with pushing advertising then adapting to the medium.

I won’t mention names but I’ve spoken with a couple Fortune 500 companies that had no idea their brand and products were being mentioned hundreds of times per day. This was just after listening to them complain about not being able to easily find their customers. The game is different for the big guys and little guys in social media – you have to know your place, find your angle and act appropriately.

It’s all a waste of time if you haven’t built your foundation with optimized profiles and content that speaks to your ideal client.

The Major Difference For Small Vs. Large Followings

If you have an active and large following, the most important things for you will be responding to direct and indirect mentions of your business, wall posts, comments and putting out quality content on your blog and social media channels.

If you have a small or non-existent following, the most important thing is creating incredible content that will blow your audience away and then properly promoting that content. Connecting to individual people and building relationships from the ground up is crucial at this stage. Depending upon the platforms you choose to use you may also have to budget for some ads to build a targeted audience.

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The 5 Levels of Content Creation

Everyone talks a lot about content creation but for the purposes of discussing time management, it’s important to distinguish the different levels of content creation.

  • Level 1: Social media posts (Facebook status update, Tweets, etc.)
  • Level 2: Blog posts, articles
  • Level 3: Downloadable reports, checklists, short eBook (under 30 pages)
  • Level 4: Webinars, teleseminars, video training course
  • Level 5: Full length eBook and physical book

As you can see, not all content is created equal and can range drastically on the scale of how much time it will consume. When you’re running short on time, you should still be covering Level 1-2 of content creation as they keep your social media machine running. When time permits, you should strive to incorporate Level 3-4, at the very least executing these levels once per quarter.

Level 5 is an area that not many people will ever go to in their lives but it can be the critical differentiator you need to get to the next level in your industry. I can personally attest that writing my book The LinkedIn Code has been the most powerful credibility booster for my business.

Social Media Time Management: Prioritizing Tasks

There is a certain bare minimum that you need to be prepared to dedicate to your social media presence to keep it alive otherwise every minute becomes a waste of time and will not produce results.

1. Maintain a weekly blog (non-negotiable)

Content is the foundation to a good social media campaign. I recommend publishing at least one high quality article that educates your target market each week. If you stop putting out new content, your website traffic will begin to drop and you’ll start to see the negative effects stem out to all other social channels very quickly. A great blog is enough to keep people coming back and allows them to get to know, like and trust you as an authority on your topic.

2. If you have a decent following, ensure you are addressing mentions and comments in a timely fashion

Once you’ve grown a sizeable following, the bulk of your time will be focused on engaging them and making sure they are getting responses. I get over 100 mentions and retweets on Twitter alone each day. Keeping up can be a little crazy but even when I’m short on time, I make this a priority because it’s the community that keeps my entire presence afloat.

3. If you don’t have a decent following, ensure you make engaging new, targeted social media users a priority

It’s okay if you don’t have a decent following at this exact moment. You’re going to be spending your time on other things to help change that and you’ll learn some extremely valuable skills about engaging people one-on-one in the process.

4. Create a social media tasklist

I created a task list of over 25 social media tasks the pros never forget in a simple graphic (pictured below). It only covers Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter but it’s a tool I consistently reference this list when working with clients. My team at Top Dog Social Media uses a version of this list to stay on track with our presence and managing our clients social media campaigns.Social media tasks outlined in checklist

Productivity Hacks, Tips & Tricks

There are some other schools of thought around productivity management and you’ll likely have to experiment to find one that works for you. Aside from the general tips for being more productive (eat healthy, exercise, meditate, etc.), here are a few practical “hacks” to consider incorporating.

Refine Your Processes. Constantly be aware of simple ways to make your social processes more efficient. When I first started using Buffer, I saved a ton of time curating tweets and never forgot to share a great article I read since Buffer made it so easy to create the tweet and throw it next in line on my publishing schedule.Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 1.28.10 PM

Buffer actually introduced a new feature called Feeds that makes it even easier to create tweets from your favorite blogs and websites by syncing their RSS feeds right inside the app. Little tweaks like this can save a massive amount of time over months and years. I swear Buffer did not pay me to say any of this, I have no affiliation with them other that it is one of my favorite time saving tools!

Egg Timer. I’m not talking about the timer app on your iPhone or a widget on your desktop. I’m talking about a classic egg timer that exists in physical reality and social media superstar Chris Brogan is one of many that swear by its effectiveness. Use one to stay focused on the tasks that must be done first before engaging in any other activities.

Manage Your Mobile, Don’t Let It Manage You. This is actually a Richard Branson quote but it hits home to all of us that are fiercely addicted smartphone users. Use your phone to make you more productive without treading into that black hole of time wasting. The force is great but you can escape it with strength, Jedi.

Create “Deadline Challenges”. Even if you don’t have a deadline for something, challenge yourself by limiting the amount of time you have for a specific task. Whether it’s spending 10 minutes connecting with at least 10 people on LinkedIn or 5 minutes to answer all your @mentions on Twitter, the more time you leave yourself to accomplish things, the more time it will take you.

Pomodoro Technique. A time management technique developed by Francesco Cirilo in the 80’s. The concept relies on 25-minute intervals of work separated by short breaks. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility and encourage you to get more done in less time. Learn more about the Pomodoro Technique.

How Do You Save Time on Social Media?

What tools and/or tricks do you have for social media time management that keeps you productive and effective? Whether it’s fancy software or a classic paper and pen, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.