Is there anyone with a Facebook account who hasn’t, at some point, logged on for five minutes, only to look at the clock 2 hours later and wonder where all that time disappeared to?
Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are all black holes when it comes to productivity and time management.
Even worse is if you’re spending hours a day on social media and not seeing any tangible results for your brand.
You can get a grip and put yourself on the right track. Here are our 16 top tips to get you started.
1. Know Your Social Media Goals
What do you aim to achieve by being on social media? What do you want for your business? More sales? Customer awareness? To boost the visibility of your brand? To network with the power players in your niche?
Once you know what you want to achieve, you can start doing what it takes to reach your goal, and eliminate the rest.
As Yogi Berra said: “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there.”
2. Have a Strategy to Reach Your Goals
When you’ve set your goals, create a roadmap for how you’ll reach them. What are the steps you need to take if you’re to travel in the right direction?
3. Learn How to Use Social Media
Nothing will waste your online time more than not being sure how to use a computer. Are you confident at using Twitter and Facebook? If I told you to go and change your bio, or update your profile picture, would you know how to do it? Or would you need to call in the cavalry?
No one can know everything, but if you’re struggling with the basics, it’s time you got yourself trained up.
4. Choose the Right Networks for Your Brand
Not all social networks are right for every brand. For example, an engineering firm or a software coding house would struggle to find a good use for Pinterest, but would benefit greatly from being active on LinkedIn.
There are hundreds of social networks out there, and you can’t be on all of them and be effective at promoting your brand. Limit yourself to the networks that are right for your brand.
5. Monitor Your Stats
You’ve set your social media goals and you’ve laid out a strategy. How will you know when you’ve reached your goals? By putting in place measurable KPIs.
You can’t track everything on social media. It’s a relational space, and relationships are always about more than just numbers. But you can track a lot more than you’d imagine. Check out our guide to the tools that are out there for keeping on top of your stats.
6. Post Updates that Work
There’s no point in posting cute monkey pictures to your Facebook Page called “Zebras are the Greatest”. People have liked that page to see stripy horses, not cheeky chimps.
The point is that all your updates should be relevant to your audience. Do your customers really need to know about the awesome mocha coffee you drank for breakfast? Probably not, unless you’re the one selling the coffee beans.
7. Schedule Updates
Logging into Twitter every hour to share a tweet is a drag. It distracts you from your real work.
Instead of posting tweets live, start using a scheduling tool such as Buffer App or Hootsuite. You’ll save a ton of time.
8. Stay Off the Actual Networks
Another way scheduling tweets saves you time is because it means you don’t have to log into Twitter. I know too well what a black hole for time Twitter can be. Avoid getting sucked into the vortex by doing most of your social media work away from the social media sites. Use third party tools to post updates, monitor stats and respond to comments. That way, you minimize distractions.
9. Leave Your Personal Accounts At Home
Talking of keeping distractions to a minimum, there’s nothing more distracting than looking at last weekend’s party photos when you’re meant to be working. Your best bet for keeping yourself focused on social media is to leave your personal life where it belongs, at home. Have dedicated social media accounts for your business.
10. Hire Someone to Do It For You
Before you say “it’s too expensive”, spend a couple of days tracking how much time you waste on social media. How much is your time really worth? If you’re wasting two hours a day on Facebook, and you bill clients $100 an hour, that’s $200 you could be earning. And that’s just in one day. Getting someone to manage your accounts for you costs a fraction of that.
11. Stop Writing Content (And Start Curating)
Writing is a time consuming pursuit. While it can be worth having your own blog (after all, we’ve got one), you don’t have to write a ton to establish yourself as an expert. Instead, curate as much content as you can. Curating shows you know what you’re talking about, and is much less time consuming than writing.
Don’t get to the end of the day then freak out about what content you’ll share tomorrow. Whenever you’re browsing the web and come across an interesting article, add it to your social media schedule right away.
13. Learn to Write Fast
When you do produce content (and there are times when you’ll want to), learn to create at speed. You can write fast without compromising on quality. In fact, the faster your write, the more you’ll write like a human being. When you’re writing online, that’s a good thing.
14. Use Hashtags
Most people are on social media to get themselves discovered. Want more people to notice your Tweets and Facebook posts? Then include hashtags.
Hashtags are a discovery tool, so if you’re using them, people will discover your brand. What’s more, you can use hashtags to discover what people are talking about. When you know the hot topics in your niche, you can join the conversation.
15. Limit Yourself to 15 Minutes Per Network Per Day
If you’re running a small business, social media needn’t take over your life. You can easily do everything you need – posting updates, responding to comments, etc. – within 15 minutes per network per day. If you’re spending more time than that, then it’s time you started cutting back.
16. Take a Digital Detox
If all else fails, and you can’t get your social media use under control, then consider taking a digital detox. Set aside a day (or even better, a week) to not use social media at all. The more difficult it is, the more it will be benefiting you!
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