As we start a new year, it is important for all of us to create our own personal social media strategy to avoid all of the social media distractions that exist. I never think of social media in itself as a “distraction,” but if it keeps you busy to the point that you are doing lots of things that are not related to your social media strategy, there could be a more efficient use of your time.
Determining Your Social Media Objective
First of all, whenever I do a speech on social media, I always begin with helping my audience create an objective, a raison d’etre, for being active on social networking sites. What is your objective for being on LinkedIn? For being on Twitter? If you don’t know why you are doing what you do in social media, you could potentially be wasting a LOT of time.
Creating Your Social Media Strategy = Building Social Media Boundaries
Once you have your objective, you need to create a strategy. I like to simplify the meaning of strategy as deciding to do what’s NOT important to you. Look, there are just so many hours in the day. Unless social media is your life, you also have other important things to do. So you can’t be spending ALL of your time on social media. Doesn’t it make sense, then, to start to build your own social media boundaries? It means limiting yourself to x hours or x minutes of the day to each site or performing each objective on each site. If you don’t have these boundaries established, more important things in your life could slip through the cracks. If you’re still not sold on the idea, do what I plan to do this week: time how long you spend each day on each social media site performing each activity. The results may be shocking.
Social Media Goes Mainstream in 2010: What Does It Mean to You?
It is more important than ever to create your social media boundaries because the amount of user generated content that exists, number of social media connections you have, and number of people that you know that join social networks is only going to continue to increase in 2010. Think of these facts:
- There are now more tweets than people. And by looking at GigaTweet, you’ll see that the amount of information being sent out on Twitter alone continues to grow at a rapid pace.
- Facebook alone grew from 100 to 350 million members in just 16 months. If your friends aren’t on these sites yet asking to friend you, they will be soon! And as your social networks increase, so will the communication (which is a great thing, but it will take up more of your time).
- There are over 200,000,000 blog sites all trying to grab your attention. And everyone (including myself) is evangelizing that you should start blogging in 2010.
- New niche social networking sites, like Foursquare and Brazen Careerist, are going to start competing for your time spent on other sites.
This means that there will be more information and more people competing for your precious time you use in social media. True, one important objective in using social media is the social aspect: keeping in touch with friends, finding new like-minded people, and joining conversations. But there is also another important aspect of social media: reading the news, researching new information, finding out about new products or discounts, etc. It is going to start to get crazy because the number of Twitter followers you have as well as the number of Facebook Fan Pages that you will be sent requests to join is only going to increase. This has a lot of great potential in helping you reach our objective, but it also means you will need to be more efficient with the precious little time that you have.
With the start of 2010, it’s time to erect our social media boundaries and try to stick with them so that we achieve more this year. To paraphrase the great Tim Ferriss, don’t let Twitter (or social media) own you.
What has your experience been recently? Do you find it harder and harder to keep up with everyone and everything in social media? What social media habits have you created to deal with time-management issues? Please contribute your comment!