The number one question I get about social media is: “How can I do all this social media stuff and still get my work done?”
Great question isn’t it? I mean, OK, I confess I spend all day attached to social media like an IV but that’s my job. People hire me to watch out for them and find new opportunities to engage and new tools and it’s all candy to me, but it shouldn’t be for anybody who wants to run a business that isn’t around social media now is it? You need a social media efficiency strategy.
The answer isn’t so simple though–because it’s different for everyone, but here are some basic ideas to get you started on your quest for social media efficiency and honestly, efficiency in work-flow that will carry over into your day-to-day business.
I got this one from Michael Port. In one of his recent seminars he said something like this. “Go through your email in box and unsubscribe from all the email newsletters you never open.” Wow. I heard this on Sunday and so just for fun I filtered every one of the newsletters and rss feeds that I never even bother to scan into a mailbox. Some of them delivered daily and some of them weekly but it didn’t take me long to see that there were a dozen of each that I really hadn’t read in a long time.
It took me about 15 minutes to unsubscribe from them all. Liberating is the only word for it.
It wasn’t enough though, I was on a roll. I went into my Google reader and deleted every blog that hadn’t posted within the last 30 days. Now I can quickly scan the headlines of the blogs who really do add value on just one page.
There are a lot of other things I tell people to do to streamline their social media workflow. Rather than take up your time reading on, here’s a list of ways to be more efficient managing your social media time.
No, not sending auto DM’s (send me one and you’re Ota here), but automating day to day tasks.
I use Objective Marketer extensively for clients to automate posts related to contests, speaking engagements, book signings, event announcements etc. Hootsuite works well for this too. If you are using social media for marketing then you don’t want to bury people with information all at once but feed it little by little in useful quantities. (Like Guy Kawasaki Tweets and does for AllTop. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to engage directly but it gives you the freedom to schedule these all at once and have them go out over time so you don’t have to constantly be online just to post content. You also get back some great data so you can really see which posts are getting the most attention and fine-tune accordingly.
I will also use it to send content out to my network over a period of time so when I read my RSS feeds every day I don’t just dump a dozen feeds on my network but spread it out over the day. That allows more time for people to actually discuss things before the next wave hits.
This works well with blog posts too. Break up a long post into a series of posts and schedule them to go out over time. When you get great ideas for blog posts write the titles in your WordPress (please tell me you use WordPress) dashboard and then you can go back to them later and write them up. Sometimes I’ll write 5-6 posts when the spirit really catches me and then schedule them to go out over a few days. This gives me more time for other projects. (I got that one from Tim Ferriss)
Tweetdeck, Seesmic or Hootsuite
I know that Twitter users use the web site more than they do Twitter clients but really, once you get more than 100 followers you are missing a lot of stuff and trying to find the people you really want to hear can be a chore. Twitter clients that allow you to sort your following into categories can save you gobs of time and make you a better engager.
Set up a follow back schedule
You know those little emails Twitter sends you when you get a new follower? Either turn them off altogether or filter them into a mailbox you only look at once a week. Then do all your follow back research, look at the profiles and send them a message if appropriate in one sitting. The same goes for all those Facebook event invites and friend requests.
Forum moderation and follower, fan and connection requests can all be handled by a well trained admin. Need a blog post edited and pictures added to it? Get a virtual admin or have an assistant do it.
A well managed alert system can be a huge help. Go to SocialMention.com and set up alerts for your business keywords and your name. Scan the alerts daily for things you need to act on or respond to.
Turn it off
The world will not end if you don’t have Facebook open on your desktop all day long. I confess I leave Seesmic open all day but it’s in it’s own monitor and I can quickly scan it for new things I need to respond to in a second and get back to work. I turned off the chime that tells me I’ve got a message. I do the same with email. I turn it off and open it only when I need to send a message or about every hour or so. This took some practice. Start with 15 minutes and you’ll see some impact. Baby steps people…
Like the newsletters above I get a PILE of messages from the groups I’m in on Linkedin but I often scan the headline and delete. If you find you’re in a group full of MLM spam leave the group or turn off alerts. Manage your connection requests once a week at most and while you’re there clean out your inbox.