Ever feel like there will never be enough time to use social media effectively?

The social media networks change constantly. Conquering all the guru guidelines and best practices is a full-time job. And that’s on top of your already more-than-busy office calendar.

Time is ticking away

Sure, you and your team can devour books and blog posts, go to social media summits, workshops and boot camps. And that helps…for awhile. And then you start to wonder if the more you know about the potential payback from doing it well, the more time pressured you’re destined to feel.

You begin to think perhaps building a community of like-minded people, attracting new believers, deepening relationships with your existing followers and all the other benefits of social media success are just not in your future.

You can do it

You’re not the first person to think it’s impossible, but it’s not. In fact, it might be easier than you think.

After years of helping nonprofits, causes and values-based businesses integrate social media into their ongoing marketing efforts, I’ve found a simple re-framing from “add-on task” to “focused effort” can make all the difference.

Five tips to help you make the most of your time on social media

1. Plan ahead

Integrate your social media posts into your existing marketing activities. An editorial calendar showing monthly or weekly themes, promotions, blog posts and events will make opportunities for developing and scheduling related social media posts much less of an add-on effort and more of an opportunity for synergy.

2. Schedule your social media time

Schedule some time daily and weekly for social media. On a daily basis, you will want to look for opportunities to connect and respond to your community, and during a weekly maintenance appointment you can review your scheduled posts for the upcoming week, update lists or profile photos, check your metrics, and so forth. Consistently scheduling a brief amount of time is more effective than concentrated bursts of activity.

3. Leverage what works

Build on what works for you. Use Google Analytics and your social media management platform to look at which images, posts and topics engage your community and stimulate sharing or website visits the most. Then do more of what works.

4. Use good tools

The two tools I rely on most for social media help are Evernote (for web clipping lists of blog topics and notes) and HootSuite (for a multi-network dashboard, scheduling and analytics). The old saying “A hammer does not a carpenter make” is true, but it is much easier to get your work done if you have some good tools that fit you in your toolbox.

5. Have fun

Allow for some serendipity. Social media networks offer lots of opportunities for laughter and human connections not so readily available in other marketing disciplines. Approach your work expecting to have some fun and you’re sure not to feel weighed down by “one more thing to do.”

Re-framing social media from “add-on task” to “focused effort” can make all the difference in the return you see on your time. Try it.

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photo via flickr: Some rights reserved by Eerko
Posted by Pat Heffernan on 2/3/14 11:55 PM
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Topics: Social Media, Best Practices and Tools

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