Social Media – a distraction?
So hands up if this has ever happened to you.
Be honest now.
While you have every intention of spending only a ‘few’ minutes checking your social media profiles, those well-intentioned ‘few minutes’ turn into (dare you admit it) an hour – or even longer.
Me? Guilty as charged.
In fact, this can happen to me more frequently than I care to admit.
I LOVE social media technologies, which means I can quite happily sit and chat with my online network for hours, while spending time clicking through link after link reading (and commenting on) the plethora of great content shared each and every day.
Combine that with my love of marketing and I’m in seventh heaven.
For me, social media plays a key role in my communications and business growth strategies allowing me to connect and share information about branding, money mindset, marketing and other business-building topics I’m passionate about with my community.
However I quickly realised that I am not one of these people who can function for days without sleep. So sitting at my keyboard for days on end just wasn’t an option for me.
I needed to put some hard and fast systems and processes into place to keep me focused and accountable to ensure I could balance my social media marketing activities as well as my general day-to-day business operations and client commitments.
Are you at the stage where your love of social media is starting to affect your productivity? Or are you struggling to fit everything in to your day already without even thinking about social media? So where on earth are you going to find the extra time?
Here are some of the systems and tools that I use which I’m pleased to say have allowed me to drastically improve my productivity while also enabling me to maintain an active presence on various social media platforms.
If I can do it – so can you!
Let’s start with my three key social media rules. I do have other rules, but these three are crucial if you want to gain the best results out of your social media activities, while maintain your productivity levels:
Social Media Rule 1: Develop a social media strategy and follow it
While it was wonderful to chat and share information with my online community I realised very early on that if I didn’t have a specific strategy and system in place, opportunities were being lost.
Yes, I realise that social media is meant to be ‘social’.
However if you are in business to make money (and I assume you are) then it’s important to have a strategy in place. A strategy that will help you nurture the relationships you are building so that you can convert those relationships into prospects and eventually into clients.
If you haven’t got a strategy in place yet, here are some things you need to ask yourself:
- Do you have a clear understanding of your brand, what makes you unique and why clients should hire you?
- Are you targeting a specific niche? Or is your target market ‘everyone’. If the latter, you need to define a specific target market and concentrate on becoming known as an expert in that field.
- Do you have an irresistible offer that helps you build your list on a daily basis? And are you constantly reminding your community of this amazing resource so that people you’ve recently connected with are aware of it?
- Do you have a strategic keep-in-touch communication strategy in place that continues to strengthen the relationships with people you are meeting online so that they get to know, like and trust you?
- Are you regularly creating content to showcase your knowledge? Building your reputation as an expert in your field will ensure you are the person they’ll want to work with when they’re ready to invest.
- Do you have a monitoring and tracking system in place? How do you know what’s working and what’s not working? You may be spending hours on an activity that hardly generates any return, yet ignoring an activity that’s working well for you. How will you know if you don’t monitor it?
- Do you have a plan in place that regularly drives people back to your website? I use my Brand Positioning Principle, which is based on a formula that I’ve developed over the years, which is working extremely well for me. This formula works strategically in the background and continuously has people commenting on my articles; retweeting my posts; and signing up for my free offer and other programs.
- Are you regularly sharing and interacting with people in your network or is the conversation you are having only one way and constantly self-promotional? If it is, then that’s the quickest way to lose trust and rapport and you’re probably finding many people are unfriending you. You need to know and follow social media etiquette principles.
I could go on; however these are some of the more important things you need to have in place to give you a solid start.
Social Media Rule 2: Get a Support Team
If you ever figure out how to add an extra few hours to the day – let me know!
I realised that I couldn’t do everything myself, so I’ve built a solid support team to take over some of the repetitive administrative tasks.
As a Brand Communications Specialist, one of the things I will never hire out is my ‘Brand Voice’ (i.e. having people manage my social media accounts and liaise with my network as if they were me).
Here’s how my team support me:
- Schedule the posts I have written
- Perform my bookmarking
- Upload my blog posts ready for my final review
- Upload my newsletter in preparation for broadcasting
- Broadcast my newsletters
So, what are some of the repetitive tasks that you can outsource that will allow you to concentrate on more important tasks in your business?
Social Media Rule 3: Be Consistent in everything you do
If I were to perform an Online Brand Audit, would I find a consistent, professional message? Or would I end up confused (and even put off) by the information (i.e. Digital Dirt) I uncovered?
Consistency is vital, so make sure you:
- Share a consistent on-brand message that continues to position you as an authority in your field. From your bios right through to your posts – be on-brand.
- Use keywords that are relevant to your target market to make sure that the people you are connecting with are genuinely interested in what you have to say.
While you may be tempted to connect with anyone and everyone, having thousands of followers who are not interested in what you have to say, is pointless.
- Be consistent in the amount of content you share and number of times you post. Social media is not a set and forget activity. You have to be there to manage, measure and tweak. If you believe that you can post once and expect a flood of orders – you’re going to be sadly mistaken.
My Social Media Productivity Tips:
These are things I do regularly and they have worked brilliantly in keeping me focused and accountable:
- If you’re working on something important – turn the [darn] social media accounts off by logging out.
This tip isn’t rocket science, but I’m surprised how many people don’t do this. Every time they see a new alert on Facebook, or hear the alarm on Tweetdeck, they just can’t help themselves and need to check out who the message is from.
STOP! Log out of all your accounts – they’ll be there when you get back.
- Set yourself time limits to respond and share and stick with them:
– 5 minutes on Twitter
– 5 minutes on Facebook Personal Profile
– 5 minutes on Facebook Business Page
Use the timer on your iPhone and as soon as the alarm goes off – log out of your accounts. This works a treat for me, as I end up having little competitions with myself. “How much can I get done before the timer goes off.” It’s amazing just how focused you become when you know you’re on a deadline.
- Know the best time of your day and make sure you schedule your most important tasks during that time.
Early mornings are the best time for me, so I schedule article writing during that time before I check my emails or any of my social media accounts.
Then throughout the day I’ll spend a few minutes checking my accounts to see what updates there are. However the main point is that this is timed and I’m being accountable for the time I’m spending online.
Social Media Automation & Management Tools
Here are some of the tools and strategies that I love and use:
I love Hootsuite and have been using the free account with much success. [In fact I’ve only just this week upgraded to their paid account, however you can certainly use Hootsuite free account.]
I use Hootsuite to schedule my tweets (which my assistant now does for me), which leads into point 2 (next).
Hootsuite allows me to access all of my social media profiles, including multiple Twitter accounts, my LinkedIn Groups, my Facebook Personal Account, and my Facebook business page all from one convenient location.
No more logging in and out of different accounts – I can do everything from one easy location. If you haven’t checked out Hootsuite yet, I highly recommend that you do.
2. Link Twitter to your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts so that one post is shared across multiple sites.
Some people believe that this will become annoying for your followers if they see the same message being posted across different platforms.
None of my followers have complained about this to me yet. And, I’ve found that with the amount of information being shared on these platforms, there’s little chance they will see my post across multiple platforms.
I’ve also found that people have their unique preferences as to the platforms they prefer and therefore tend to spend most of their time on this platform.
I want to make sure I reach them, so limiting my sharing of information on a single platform risks the chance of them never seeing my post.
One word of caution about LinkedIn: it’s less ‘social’ and more professional in nature so be mindful of what you share. I share business-related tips, tools and strategies so these resources are helpful and very much appreciated by my community.
3. Audio Boo:
I love speaking (hence why I host the Ambitious Entrepreneur Show), however another way I like to share information is through sound bytes of helpful information using Audio Boo.
The app is installed on my iPhone, and once a week (or more if I feel so inspired) I will record a 2-4 minute audio, which is saved and automatically uploaded to the Audio Boo website and then shared out to my Twitter and Facebook streams.
Can’t get any easier than that.
Here’s an Audio Boo I prepared earlier 🙂
4: Facebook Business Page to Twitter Stream
I love the community I’m building on my Facebook Business page and while I’m regularly sharing resources with my community on this platform, I want to make sure my Twitter followers hear about the same resources.
Therefore I’ve installed the Facebook Business Page to Twitter application, which automatically shares my Facebook post to my Twitter stream.
So there you have it. The tools and resources I use to ensure that social media does not reduce my productivity.
What Are Other People Doing to Remain Productive?
I’ve also reached out to some of my colleagues and asked them what they do. I’m sure you’ll also find these tips helpful.
Keri Jaehnig does the following to maintain her productivity:
- I use Hootsuite to monitor & interact (except on Facebook – I try to do that all organically). On Hootsuite I use lists to keep conversation straight.
- Workflowy — Don’t know what I did without it! This helps me organize my thoughts, keep checklists — Even share notes with friends if I want. (workflowy.com)
- I keep a paper list of my top small handful of targeted to-do items so that it is always looking at me, urging me to stay on track.
- I’m starting to use timers and self-kept deadlines for interacting/socializing.
So, what do you think? What tools or strategies are you going to use to ensure your social media efforts doesn’t pose a distraction thus reducing your productivity?
Perhaps you have another great tool you are using? Or strategy/process you’ve found helpful.
Go ahead and share below – I’d love to hear from you!
Till next time, Stay Inspired!