How to Manage Your Social Media Time

Social Media Featured

Social Media FeaturedFor all its renown as an effective communications tool, social media’s reputation as a 21st century time suck isn’t necessarily undeserved.

Does this sound familiar? “Oh, I’ll just log in to Facebook to see what’s happening.”

Or maybe we’ll pick up our phone and take an almost-involuntary scroll through the news feed or Twitter stream (guilty!).

Ten minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, two hours pass…. And you’ve effectively caught up on the latest viral sensations, determined which super hero best fits your personality and seen enough food photos to last a lifetime (lookin’ at you, Instagram).

But what have you accomplished? Maybe nothing; maybe a lot. While this time spent on social media is theoretically a “time suck,” it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Social media is supposed to be fun, entertaining and informative. For most of us, it’s a break from our daily tasks (or, for me, an important part of my job). But if you’re serious about using social media as a networking and business communications tool, it’s important to clearly define your business-related goals and ensure social media is helping you achieve those goals.

Time Management for Social MediaSocial Media Time Management Tips

So without occupying much more of your time, here are 5 things to know about managing your social media time effectively. Please feel free to add other tips and techniques in the comments.

1. Establish Clear Goals: I can’t stress this point enough. This separates recreational social media use from professional/money-making social media use. Understand what role social media plays in your overall business. Is it a tool to network, a place to research, a way to stay informed? Whatever it is, make sure that when you are in “professional social media mode,” you are keeping your end business goal(s) in mind.

2. Pick a Site, Any Site: As the old adage goes, they who have presences on the most social media sites do not win. Or something like that. Determine which site best matches your business persona and devote the vast majority of your social media time developing an audience on that site. Obviously Facebook, in terms of sheer numbers, is the social media behemoth. But that doesn’t mean it’s the perfect site for you and your business. Think about what audience you are interested in attracting and pick a site that caters to that type of audience. For me, I lean toward Twitter and LinkedIn.

Social Media Time Management3. Steal Our Content: Social media done well takes time. But we know you have other (possibly more important) things to do with your time than writing a blog post or crafting that perfect piece of Facebook content about supporting your immune system. At USANA, a top social media objective is to create sharable content. That means we strongly encourage you to share it (this blog post, say). So please feel free to take our blog posts and share them on your own preferred social site (while you’re at it, why not subscribe to What’s Up, USANA? so you get these posts delivered directly to your email inbox?).

4. Set a Timer: This is an easy one. Determine how much time you can devote to social media—so that it doesn’t take away from your other business-building activities—and set a timer when you log on. When the timer buzzes, that’s your cue to log off. We recommend 20-30 minutes daily.

5. Automate (Sparingly): Authenticity is vital on social media, so you’ll want to make sure you’re available to chime in on conversations, answer audience questions, add value, etc. But it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead in terms of content. Schedule a week’s worth of Facebook posts on Monday, for instance, or use a platform such as Hootsuite to schedule tweets linking to interesting articles you read recently.

Above all, remember that social media is a social activity. No matter how much time you’re able to devote to it, it’s important to make strong, meaningful connections by sharing quality content and interacting regularly with your audience.

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