We all want to be productive in our businesses, and on social media is no exception. This month I reached out to a few awesome social media pros and asked them the simple question:
What are your top tips for being socially productive?
Luke Brynley-Jones, Founder of Our Social Times
Luke is best known for his expertise in social media monitoring, management and measurement. An advisor to social media management dashboard, MarketMeSuite, he is a regular blogger for several leading blogs. Luke also has a Sunday slot on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
Do less, well.
In life, and especially in social media, it’s easy to keep plugging away and imagine that, just because you’re producing a certain volume of content, noise or engagement, you’re doing your job. This is the road to productivity ruin! Far better to focus on doing one or two things really well. In social media terms this means, for example, one great blog post instead of five passable ones, three smart tweets instead of ten me-too RT, or one fabulous Facebook post instead of three that make your fans go ‘meh’. Focus and thrive.
Ian Cleary, Founder of Razor Social
Ian Cleary is a social media enthusiast, a writer for Social Media Examiner and all round technology nut. With a strong knowledge of social media and technology he launched RazorSocial.
Allocate specific times for social media.
Social media channels can be so distracting. You open up Twitter and before you know it 30 minutes is gone. I allocate specific times for social media activity and stick to it. I use a separate browser and when I’m finished the time I have allocated I shut down the browser.
Use the right tools.
If you don’t have a good strategy in place the tools won’t help you. But with the right tools you can be come more effective and efficient. For example, when I release a blog post dlvr.it automatically picks up that blog post and distributes it to a range of social media channels. This type of automation makes perfect sense.
Analyze your results.
If you’re not analyzing results on social media you can easily waste your time. For example, we are building up an email subscriber base so we measure the email conversion rate across each of the social channels. We then focus on the channels that are achieving the higher conversion. Recently I started spending more time on Google+ than Twitter because conversion rates were higher.
Tamsin Fox-Davies, UK Development Director for Constant Contact
Tamsin has more than 10 years experience supporting small businesses, with a background in small business marketing and development. She is a published author, and also writes for the Constant Contact blog, Women Unlimited, and other national and regional outlets.
Use the right tools.
One of the key issues with social media is getting stuck in time-suck mode where you flit about from post to post because something interesting appears on your feed. If you use the right tools, that is minimized because you can focus on the things you need to concentrate on and not get distracted (well, not quite so much anyway).
Have a routine.
Arbitrary use of social is my downfall. Because I work in a role where social media is important it’s ‘okay’ for me to have my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc etc etc open aaaaall the time. However, I like to distract myself so I have a tendency to jump onto one of those accounts when I should be doing something else. The cure for this is to have a routine – for example, I do my tweet scheduling for the week on Monday mornings, and try (try is the operative word here!), to just check in via my MarketMeSuite account at specific times during the day. I’m ready to admit that this is a work in progress for me, but it is helping, and I still allow myself some random social time when I’m doing nothing else (like waiting for a train).
Keep your eyes on the prize.
Why are you on social media for your business? What do you want it to do for you? You need to know the answers to these questions and you need to keep those answers in mind. Most of us business users are not here to share pictures of lol cats, however much we love them. We’re here to build and engage with an audience, to talk to them and support them and encourage them to like us and our products/services. If your social activities aren’t helping that to happen, then you’re wasting your time.
Kim Randall, Founder & CEO of KiMedia Strategies
Kim Randall is a social brand strategist, blogger, and passionate entrepreneur. Kim and her company KiMedia Strategies create lasting social campaigns for businesses ranging from restaurants and real estate agencies, to authors and event promoters in the Tampa area.
Staying productive is hard to do when working on the Internet where there are so many distractions, but I have found that having a list on actual paper printed out weekly works wonders for my productivity. There’s no time to think about what I have to do next which means there is no time for me to get lost on an awesome website I shouldn’t be on. I can only say a day was productive if everything was crossed off and I love crossing things off my list!
Tips for staying productive on social media:
- Set alarms on your phone, iPad or computer. For example, I set an alarm for 7:30, 8:30, 9:30 etc… to check all of my client Twitter accounts on MarketMeSuite as well as all real-time keyword searches. If I don’t do this I get sidetracked and caught up on other tasks even though I know that Twitter is an important platform for all of my client campaigns.
- Take breaks for different things. Only check email at certain times and only check your personal social media accounts at certain times throughout the day. Also, take real breaks. I get up and walk my dogs to clear my mind when I start getting that ADD feeling. By the time we are done I am refreshed and ready to get back to crushing social media for clients.
- Have a social media to-do list. I personally have tried the iPad, phone and web based apps and have found that actual paper and pen works the absolute best. Type up a weekly to do for all clients and cross them out as you knock out the tasks. This keeps me productive probably more than anything else!
Stewart Rogers, Head of Product at Salesformics
Stewart has been involved in sales, marketing and running software companies since computers had black screens with the ‘wide choice’ of green or orange text. When he isn’t speaking, writing or talking about marketing technology and sales force automation, you’ll find him working on bringing Salesformics to market.
When managing anything tactical – whether it is social media, email, marketing or sales – single-task it. I’m here to tell you that multi-tasking just doesn’t work. Focus on doing one thing at a time to really save yourself hours a day. When you multi-task, you end up going off on tangents and spending hours getting something done that really would have only taken minutes.
Combine single-tasking with time-blocking.
Book the time needed to manage your social media in your diary just as you would an appointment or meeting. I book in four 10-minute slots per day to check and respond to my social media accounts, just as I also have regular time blocks set aside for email management, major tasks, calls, meetings and other key ‘to-dos’.
Use technology wisely.
There’s nothing bad about using social media scheduling tools if you schedule them to deliver your messages during ‘waking hours’ (so that you can respond to questions). I schedule a selection of curated articles, questions and updates each morning to be delivered through the day, but then ensure I’m around at the scheduled time to discuss them with my followers (during my allotted time blocks). After all, it’s called ‘social media’ for a reason – the idea is to be social, not use it as a push channel for your news and then ignore it!
Neal Schaffer, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Your Social Business
Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professionals strategically maximize their use of social media, and really needs no introduction since you’re reading this on his awesome blog! Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer.
Treating my social media messages as if they were an Inbox.
Social media dashboards need to give you the ability to “archive” or “hide” social media messages that you don’t need to take, or have already taken action on, in order to remain productive and focus on the important engagement. That’s why I use MarketMeSuite.
Segmenting my social media messages.
While social scoring is far from a perfect science, when you receive 100+ @mentions and Direct Messages from Twitter alone, the ability to easily see the user’s Klout score while you see their tweet without having to switch screens allows me to ensure that I remain productive and potentially respond quicker to those who might be more influential. Again, MarketMeSuite helps a lot with this.
Monitoring all of my social media from one Inbox.
Studies show that it is more efficient to monitor all of your social media from one dashboard rather than jumping around. Even if I might end up posting directly on a site, the ability to get a “flag” when I should go to another site for posting helps me remain efficient. That’s why I use MarketMeSuite … and look forward to its expansion into other social networks.
Christine Whitmarsh, Founder of The Ink Agencyy
Christine founded Christine, Ink. (now called The Ink Agency) to offer branding solutions for today’s ever-changing marketing platform. She has a wide range of skills including time management, leadership, customer service, analytical thinking, and creative problem solving skills that serve her well as a business owner of the creative agency that produces proven and powerful results.
I’ve found a way to incorporate productivity tools I used as an RN, into my world today as the CEO of a creative agency. These tools include a “triage list” that I use in place of a things-to-list, as well as a “work grid” I’ve designed which resembles the system I once used to organize my shift. When it comes to staying productive in managing social media I’ve created a system of social media “rounds” where I visit our client social media accounts at the beginning of the day (like a nurse visits each patient), assess vital signs (alerts and such), and then check in on them at scheduled intervals a few more times throughout the day. I encourage other business owners and social media pros to look at systems and processes gained from their “past lives” (like mine as a nurse) as well. Great habits are universal to all industries!
Tips for staying productive on social:
- Consolidate onto one, easy to manage “launch control” system; my favorite happens to be MarketMeSuite.
- Schedule dedicated time to do your social media “rounds” and have a clear routine for what those rounds entail, vs. staying constantly plugged in.
- Check your stats & insights, have an understanding of what reaps the most rewards, and focus most of your social media time on doing those things.
What Are Your Tips?
I hope you’ve found that some of what these social media pros are doing to keep productive could be helpful for your own journey to optimizing your social media planning. Please help this post grow by adding your top tips as a comment on this post!