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Managing Your Social Media Time

December 18, 2008

Finding time to engage in social media is a challenge for all marketers. It’s very common to go through waves of high engagement when you spend several hours at a time on Twitter, Facebook or Flickr. You get some interesting conversations going and it feels good. Then… life happens and you end up abandoning almost all of your social media engagements for days at a time. Conversations you participated in end, your dialog partners move on to new topics. You feel like you are starting all over again. You question whether it is all worth it. Well, you are not alone. We are all struggling to fit participation in social media into our busy schedules.

Let me share with you a handful of tips to make it easier the next time you need to start all over again.

  1. Put aside certain amount of time, 1 hr. a day or a couple of hours a week, and stick to your plan. There will be crises and it will be hard to follow your schedule, but you’ll soon realize that sticking with social media will expand your marketing horizons and you’ll depend on your network of virtual friends for new ideas, instant market research and much more.
    What’s my schedule?

    1. I start my day listening to my favorite podcasts including Managing the Gray and Buzz Marketing for Technology on my iPod driving to work or during my gym workout.
    2. I spend about 15 min. on Twitter every morning and keep my Twitter application open and glance at it several times a day, but try not to get too involved unless the conversation is really interesting.
    3. I have my browser’s home page set to iGoogle where I set up feeds to some of my favorite blogs. I scan them every day and end up reading entries that interest me over the lunch break. I also carry my Amazon Kindle with me to meetings , and end up scanning blogs while waiting for my meeting participants to arrive. It’s usually just a few minutes a day or so, but it adds up.
    4. I spend about 1/2 hr. a day working on one particular social media channel : LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, Delicious. I am fortunate that emerging media technology review is part of my job. I know, I am lucky in that respect and love it.
    5. Once a week, usually on Fridays I spend about an hour checking out links and new channels I discovered throughout the week and did not have time to review. I also tend to pick my blog topic of the week by then.
    6. I like to write my blog post and do blogger outreach in my PJs and slippers while sipping my morning coffee so that gets done on weekend. It takes me about an hour  to do that.
  2. Here you have it. Approx. 1.5 hrs a day (not counting my podcasting commute) and about an hour over the weekend. Can you do that?What’s your schedule?

  3. Organize and optimize your social media time the best you can. Set up RSS feeds, google alerts and tweetbeeps to pull info. that interest you rather than to sift through the noise of other messaging that hits your inbox. Don’t be afraid to download social media apps to help you get through the social media clutter quickly. I downloaded and configured TweetDeck to manage all of my Twitter activity. I don’t think I could keep up with Twitter without this application. I set up and monitor groups of tweeterers based on my specific topic criteria. I can monitor Tweeter for particular keywords of interest and view my direct responses and replies all from one screen. Pure magic!
  4. Even if you only have a couple of hours to spend on social media a week, don’t put all your rabbits in one hat by being limited to just one social media channel. Alternate your time among several of them to get exposure to various groups of people. Also, don’t be limited to interacting with just your fellow marketers. Frequent social channels where your company’s customers and/or prospective customers congregate. Remember to listen first before talking and remember to be transparent in terms of what brand your represent.
  5. To save time and keep all your channels fresh invest in learning ways to post to multiple channels at once. For example if I post to Twitter my tweets get displayed on my blog as well as on my Facebook page as status updates all at the same time.
  6. Don’t be afraid to abandon certain channels if they don’t work for you. Not everybody can blog or keep up with Twitter. Your best and most valuable conversations can happen in niche communities and you are missing out if you don’t find them.

Do you have any tips for me?

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