First, there are the fire jugglers.
Did you ever go to the circus as a kid and watch the fire jugglers? They’d have five, six or seven flaming clubs in the air. It looked effortless, but one false move would spell disaster.
You watched with your heart in your mouth.
I would imagine the whole circus tent bursting into flames, and everyone running out screaming. Fortunately, it never happened.
If you’re a busy entrepreneur, freelancer or CEO, you probably watch your whole life with your heart in your mouth.
You’re juggling fire, holding so much up in the air. One bad day at the office (or even one bad hour), your kid getting sick, or a supplier missing a delivery, and it’s all gone wrong.
Life’s hectic on the front line of business. Trust us, we know.
One false move, and it could all come crashing down.
But your social media fans expect consistent output from your brand, day after day, week after week.
You’ve got a blog to maintain, a Twitter feed to keep updated, and a Facebook page that needs regular feeding. And don’t even talk about Pinterest or Google Plus…
That’s on top of your business.
Second, there are those are are living the dream.
These are the ones who are living the dream. Travelling the world. Location independent. Financial freedom.
These guys don’t have to stress about money, because they’ve got a regular income from their online business.
But for a regular income, you need regular customers. And for regular customers, you need to have a consistent brand. You must be reaching out to your customers online.
How do you keep your social media account updated when you’re wrestling crocodiles in an Australian swamp, or partying with monkeys and parrots in the rainforest, or running to catch your around-the-world flight?
The simple truth is, you can’t.
Third, there is the rest of us.
Not all of us get to live the dream (if wrestling crocodiles even is your dream…), but we all struggle with that thing called work-life balance.
We all want more time with loved ones, or for ourselves, or to focus on developing our business.
And sometimes we just need time to embrace life. To watch your boy’s baseball game. To visit your Grandpa in hospital. To celebrate your best friend’s 40th.
Life rarely runs like clockwork.
So how do you maintain a consistent brand online when life is so damn inconsistent? What’s the key to finding order amidst the chaos?
1. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
With Buffer App and Hootsuite both offering auto-scheduling, getting your tweets and Facebook updates ready ahead of time has never been easier. There’s no excuse for not posting to your social networking accounts daily.
Is scheduling cheating? Some people say it is, and that you should be online every time you tweet so you can respond to replies.
My take is this: Twitter is a conversation, but it’s not a real-time conversation. As long as you engage with your followers when you can, it’s totally okay to schedule.
2. Eat Frogs for Breakfast
I’m not advocating that you take up a French diet. Rather, I’m saying don’t use your hectic lifestyle as an excuse for neglecting your business.
Brian Tracy called his book Eat That Frog, because sometimes you just gotta get things done, even when it feels icky and you just can’t be bothered.
Tracy advocates giving every item on your to-do list a letter: A for most important, B for somewhat important, C for things that need to be done but not urgently, and D for things that when you think about it, you’re not really sure why they’re on your to-do list.
The trick is to blast through the A’s first, at the beginning of your working day. It’s a powerful technique with the potential to transform your working life.
Go on, be tough on yourself. Sometimes you’ve just gotta man up for the sake of your brand.
Infographic courtesy of Grasshopper.
But tough’s not everything, you’ve also got to remember to…
3. Be Kind to Yourself
Now you’ve faced up to the tough love, remember to go gentle on yourself too.
If your schedule is jammed to bursting every day, then you’re probably doing too much. Learn to say no, and embrace only the opportunities that matter.
Don’t berate yourself when things go wrong. The more you beat yourself up, the harder you’ll find it to pick yourself up when you’re down.
Sometimes you’ve just got to let things go. Nobody’s perfect.
4. Have a Parking Lot in Your Pocket.
Often life is hectic because we’re trying to do too much. Business owners and entrepreneurs are typically ideas people. We’ve always got more ideas than we can deal with.
If your to-do list is already as long as your arm, then adding to it isn’t going to help any.
Instead of putting ideas for new projects on your to do list (where they’ll glare at you and make you feel guilty), carry an ideas notepad in your pocket. The notepad is a parking lot for ideas. Any ideas you put there stay parked there until you’ve got some free time and you’re ready to take them out.
That way, you’ll stop yourself from getting overwhelmed, and you’ll have more energy and focus on the projects that are important today.
5. Streamline Your Focus
Your brand can’t be everything to everyone. Sure, if you’ve done things right, you’ve chosen your niche. But there’s more to being focused than that. Have you given your brand an identity and a voice? What’s the one message or feeling you want people to get from everything your brand creates?
Making your brand focused takes work. It’s being a scatter-brain that’s the easy way, because then you don’t have to do the hard work of thinking. But once you’ve laid the foundations of your brand, it makes everything simpler.
With a focused brand, you can easily ask: Does this activity contribute to establishing and growing my brand?
If not, then you can drop it.
That’s especially true with social networks. Don’t try to be everywhere. It takes a lot of time, and most of it will be wasted. Instead, focus on the networks where your target market hangs out.
6. Ask for a Helping Hand
Doing everything yourself is a recipe for chaos and disaster.
Some things you can ask for help with. You can ask your partner (or your parents) for help with childcare, so you can have time alone to focus on developing your brand. You can ask your design savvy friend to give you feedback on your logo and your website. You can ask the local wordsmith to give your copy the once over and tell you what they think.
But sometimes, you need to splash a little cash to get the help you require. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Much of what you’re looking for can probably be found for five bucks over at fiverr.
Infographic courtesy of OnlineUniversities.com.
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Over to You
What do you do to keep things calm amid the chaos?
Like this? You can find more social media tips and tricks in the Social Caffeine Collection, a collection of 24 books on social media marketing.
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