Social Media and Time Management: How do you keep up with it all

How do I keep up with it allI have been fortunate enough to beat the streets recently and participate in some great events as a presenter or speaker, including the Maine Marketing Associations half day seminar on Social Media. I have also met with some clients and there are a few questions that just keep coming up.

One of the biggest is about time management: How do I possibly keep up with it all?!

I’m Busy

Well… we are all busy. You need to find a way to work your Inbound Marketing initiatives into your work day. Lots of people set up blogs but then never write a post, set up a Twitter account and then sit and wait for the magic to happen.

Blogging, joining Social Media sites, Twitter etc. are not going to effortlessly bring in revenue. Consider your blog, SEO, YouTube Videos, Social Networking efforts just a part of your whole communication strategy.

Here are a few tips to working your Inbound Marketing initiatives into your work flow:

  • Check your social media site(s) of choice at three specific times a day
  • Leave your office and set-up your laptop at a local free WiFi spot and write your blog. Time is probably never going to present itself so you are going to have to make time.
  • Set up Google Alerts, use relevant email addresses and sign up for notifications (usually pretty easy in the Settings of any social network). Now instead of logging into your social networking site of choice you can just get an alert in your email if someone is talking about you, your company or your sector.
  • Google Reader – I am not sure how I would live without Google Reader. Subscribe to RSS feeds to your Google account and read them as a single thread. No more going to 40 different sites a day if it has RSS, bring it right into your Google Reader.
  • Use applications like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Splittweet, Tweetlater to organize your Twitter content by subjects, search terms or people you like to hear from the most. Sites like Hootsuite and Splittweet let you schedule tweets to go out during certain points in the day so you could possibly set your tweets at one point in the week and have them go out at different times. Just don’t forget to check for replies, retweets and other activity.

What if I get 1,000 emails, Tweet, Facebook or LinkedIn emails a day. How will I keep up?

A very wise man recently tackled this question at a seminar we were both presenting at. His answer ‘that would be amazing – but it is probably never going to happen’. Why let the worry of having too many people wanting your expert opinion, your products or services stop you from even starting?

I am a firm believer of having Social Media policies in place before you start but you aren’t going to set up an account and have 1,000 things in your Inbox the next day (if that happens you were probably spammed). It will be a process and as the inquiries increase restructure your process.

So I need a Facebook page? To Join Twitter? Start a blog and podcast? Get on that myspace thing?

Well no. You need to go through a discovery process to see if it is worth your time to participate in these online communities.

Some things to consider during your discovery:

  • Who are your buyer personas and where are they hanging out discussing products, services, activities and blogs?
  • Who is going to be your company voice? Are you going to have multiple voices? Marketing team? Sales team? CEO alone?
  • How often are you going to produce content or participate?
  • What is your strategy for creating rich, interesting, sharable content long term?

I love helping people and I do wish I could help all of you, but I can’t. If you hear from a “social media expert” (barf) who wants to run your online communities for you… you may want to rethink it (or run far, far away).

You want to talk to someone who wants to help you develop your strategy and research relevant communities. Someone who helps you find your company voice and vision so you can be the best online version of you and publish, educate and inform your consumers. Not someone who wants to run the show for you. Social media is about people… like YOU!

All you’re working for is to become a part of the millions of conversations taking place online. No one can do that better than you. So even though you are busy let’s figure out where you should be spending your time, generate a plan and seamlessly (in theory) work it into your current work flow.