Five Tips for Social Media Time Management
It starts off so innocently. You head to Facebook intending to post a link to an article you think your followers will enjoy but get hijacked when you see a picture of the Puppy of the Day. Or the latest viral Gangnam Style video parody. Or a debate on whether the iPhone 5 is the world’s greatest technological achievement. Yes, it’s so easy to get sucked into the black hole of ineffectiveness when you enter the universe of social media.
This might be okay if you’re a recreational social media user who plays on Facebook or Twitter. But if social media and marketing is your job, you know you have to stay focused on your work. Your boss and your company are counting on you to be a professional and achieve your objectives. The key to being successful is to manage yourself and manage your time.
Here are five tips for being effective when working in social media.
Go in with a plan.
More than almost any other activity, working in social media requires a plan. To create your plan, think about what you want to achieve in your social media work. Let’s say one of your social media marketing objectives includes increasing the number of followers for your company’s Twitter account. First, set a visible, specific goal – let’s say a 50% increase in six months. Then, start listing and scheduling the actions you’ll need to take in order to achieve that goal. Repeat this process until you have a workable plan.
A plan like this helps you discipline yourself. Whenever you notice you’re linkhopping from Pinterest to Facebook to YouTube, you can stop and consult your plan. It’ll be a huge help to your time management.
Prioritize your schedule.
The benefit of time management is in the measurement. You want to know how you’re using your time and whether it’s being used effectively. If you think about it time is a resource like money. Just like we budget our finances, we need to budget and prioritize our time. So ask yourself: How do you want to prioritize your time?
Begin by sketching out the big “must-do’s” every day. These must-do’s are actions that – in order to be effective – must happen today. Are there other looming deadlines in the next 5 to 7 days? Build those into your schedule and prioritize them appropriately. If you create a work plan built around priorities, then you’ll feel more free to create content and build relationships with your customers.
Get in. Get out.
Creating and curating great content is one of the chief tasks of being a social media marketer. It can also be one of the biggest challenges. That’s why services like Buffer are so useful. When you discover blogposts, webapps or other resources you think your followers will appreciate, you can schedule Tweets and Facebook posts into the future. Say you find ten informative websites. By using Buffer, you can schedule two Tweets per day and now you have content for a whole week.
And there are other services like Buffer. Hootsuite – a social media management app – also has the ability to automatically schedule tweets based on the optimal posting times for your favorite social networks.
Don’t surrender to perfect
One of the greatest enemies of time management is perfectionism. That’s when you spend far too much time getting a blogpost or a Facebook status absolutely right. I’m not suggesting you slack off from giving your best, but there’s a fine balance between perfection and excellence. If you’re spending four hours writing and editing a blogpost that should only take two hours, you’re giving up valuable time to other work. And you won’t know this if you don’t accurately track your time.
You’re in control.
Working in social media can be overwhelming at times. It all moves so fast. There is always new applications to learn, changes to familiar applications (think Facebook and Google making changes in what seems like every week), popular memes rapidly coming out of nowhere. It can sometimes feel like you’re inside a hurricane, holding on for your life, hoping it’ll calm down for a little while. But those are external forces at play. You can learn how to exercise some control over your social media work.
Being in control means seeing distractions and learning to cut them out of your time management plan. You have tools to help you. Just remember they are tools and you’re still the boss. Don’t let them run away with you.
If you find yourself getting more and more distracted by the constant pinging of the Tweetstream or any other notification, turn it off for a while. It’ll actually do you some good to take a short break. Then you can come back to your work feeling refreshed and ready to engage with your customers.