There's a lot of talk about how to measure ROI with social media, the best times to post and more, but this post is about managing your time on social media better.
Creating a system for yourself and sticking to it is important. Just "going" to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and looking for what to do when you get there simply leads to wasted time.
We all do it. We skim our timelines, see who's viewed our profiles, maybe decide to write a post, share some updates, check in with groups, etc. it's the same with Twitter, Facebook and other networks.
Something else to remember;
You don't have to be on every social media network, even if your competitor is
It all starts with choosing the right social media networks for your business. Find out where your target audience hangs out rather than just where your competitors have set up profiles and business pages.
Don't assume because your competition is on a particular social network that you have to be there too. They may not have done as much research as you think.
Ask your customers. Do a survey and ask them about their favorite social networks. Do your homework. There are a lot of posts about the demographics of each social network.
Don't just choose the right social media networks, make sure you have a plan for each of the ones you use
Hopefully, you've created an overall marketing plan for your business online. Once you choose which social networks to use, figure out how each of those fits into your marketing plan.
Don't treat them as separate from your overall marketing plan. You should have a clear purpose for each social network and you should be able to verbally quantify how each network compliments or fits into your marketing plan.
If you can't do that, you may still want a presence there, but don't spend too much time there until you figure out how it fits.
Have a plan on what you are going to do and how much time you are going to alot for each social network each day or each week
Use your favorite scheduler, project management software or just Google Calendar. Enter Tasks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and whatever other social media sites you chose to use.
Make the task recurring, choosing the days and times you want to do something on each.
Next, open a document and list each social network on it. Underneath each one, write a list of things to do when you are there. Don't try to wing it or you will get distracted and undermine your own plan.
Example: When I go to Twitter, I'm going to make x number of tweets each time. X number of those will be self-serving about what I do and x number are going to be things that interest my target audience.
As you surf the web or go about your normal business, you'll see things to share. Bookmark or favorite them in an "ideas" folder. You can also set up Google Alerts for the keywords related to what your audience is interested in and filter those into an "ideas" folder.
You can choose to share them right away, but remember you also have a schedule. On your planned trip to each social media website, you don't want to spend too much time searching for stuff to share. Open the ideas folder and use what you've gathered.
Stay focused on the to do items you put into your planner.
It's extremely easy to get distracted as I mentioned before. One post in one group you're a member of can misdirect you to spending more time answering that post and less time on the items on your social to do list.
Of course, if someone posts a picture or video of a cute cat . . . You have to stop and watch that, right?
I hope this helps you manage your time on social networks better. I'd love to hear some ways you manage your time on social media.
Chris McElroy has been a web-based entrepreneur since 1995 and provides help for small business owners by taking over their content marketing, blogging, and social media marketing so they have more time to run their business.