Social Media Time Management: Tips for the Chronically Crunched

Casey Hines | @caseyagogo The beauty of social media is that it connects all of us lightening-fast. Write a mind blowing Tweet? Chances are good replies and retweets will start flowing in fairly rapidly. It's pretty rewarding to see instant responses and lots of pingbacks in a very short amount of time.

As I've started networking around Austin, one of the biggest excuses I hear from professionals who shy away from being actively involved in social media is: "I just don't have the time." That's a valid statement. Running a business, being a manager, and working long hours can leave little room for social media. But it definitely should not be left on the back burner. I'm of the firm belief that most people are comforted by the validity of a business when they have a social media presence.

The question is, how do you use precious time to work social media in your favor?

leveraging social media time management

Ask yourself: what's important?

It's tempting to start throwing up your company's info on every social media channel, but spreading yourself too thin is not condusive to your time. Choose quality over quantity. It's better to intensely focus on one or two social networks than be loosely involved on a several. Consider these questions: who is your target audience? Do you want to spread the good word about your business or be viewed as an industry expert? Break down your goals and add working on your social media to your to-do list.

Keep it simple (but optimized)

It IS important to take the time to establish a presence.Β But whether you choose Facebook or the more professional-oriented LinkedIn, the key is to fill out everything. Without basic information, your profile is incomplete and messy. And we don't want that.

What's in your toolbox?

One of the best things about the hugely expanding presence of social media in our lives is that so many innovative tools are available to streamline your time and usage. Take your social media wherever you go with online and smartphone apps like HootSuite, where you can track your Facebook and Twitter posts, see who's responding, and even track keywords. (see who's talking about you!) TweetDeck and Plume are also good for Twitter--but I'm still partial to the regular Facebook app. It's not fussy and updates fairly quickly.

Leverage your content-sharing time wisely.

Let's get real--it's really easy to get sucked into social media and before you know it, you've spent an hour and a half on Facebook. Decide how much time you really have to play with. Put it on your to-do list and don't treat it as an afterthought, because a profile that's not regularly updated is no bueno.

Unless you're doing some serious overhauling or inviting a lot of personal FB friends to like your page, it honestly shouldn't take that long to posts updates. Set a presendent for yourself. Do you have five to ten minutes on Friday afternoons? Post once a week. Is your business growing by rapid leaps and bounds? Consider posting every other day to update your fans about exciting things happening in your company.

Congratulations, you're engaged!

Well...not that way. Interested followers are worth their weight in diamond rings. Taking the time to respond to comments, follows, and retweets is just as important as posting content. Save time by uploading the free HootSuite app to your phone, so you can manage your interactions in real time. (and if you're feeling frisky, keywords about your business. See who's talking about you!)

What I recommend:

A lot of social media pros and practicioners have different opinons about what the most vital jump-off point is for a business creating their social media. Here's my humble opinon of what's necessary to start a journey to social media stardom:

Essential: LinkedIn, personal if you're a your own boss or have individual services, and/or company profiles.

Facebook

Secondary: Twitter

Add-ons: Pinterest (especially if your work incorporates a lot of visuals)

Last, but not least: Google +, just if you're interested in rounding out every social network online.

Still curious? Peruse these previous SMD blogs:

Which Social Media Platform is Best for Marketing Campaigns?Β 

LinkedIn: What It Is, Who's It For, and Why You Should Too

How much time do YOU spend on your social media?