12 Mar 2012

Social Media Time Saving Strategies

Social media can be similar to a black hole, slowly sucking away precious time and energy. 

Social media time management is a challenge to almost every small businessperson I work with or find participating in the many social media and personal branding workshops I teach or take part in. Although social media can have a tremendous impact on a business, it also has the potential to drain time, money and resources from a business, especially a small business, if it is not used efficiently and effectively. Social media marketing is part of an overall marketing effort and must not consume more resources than it is worth.

The first step in saving time and avoiding the black hole is to develop a social media marketing plan that:
(1) sets specific short- and long-term goals (they all don’t have to be financial); 
(2) outlines the strategies that will achieve specific goals; 
(3) identifies a system for measurement of activities (which can include sales, business leads, likes, retweets, followers, e-mail captures, etc.); and 
(4) creates a schedule and timeline.

Set a social media time budget and stick to it. It is essential that businesses balance the amount of time they spend using social media against the measured return on investment (ROI) and return on effort (ROE). Start with a schedule of what tasks will be done daily, weekly and monthly. Link social media profiles to aggregators like Ping.fm, Hootsuite and Gremln, which allow users to post to a number of social media profiles simultaneously or to schedule posts for the future. All aggregators are not the same: test them to see which features works best to save time and reach the right audiences. The amount of content online is growing, and more people are using multiple social media sites. Aggregators are likely to grow in popularity as people look for a centralized way to manage their online profiles from a single platform. However, there is a competing view about social media aggregators from social media expert Miguel Carrasco, who believes that aggregators are problematic because the same post shouldn’t be posted on multiple networks. I believe aggregators work, but I agree that they should not be used indiscriminately for every post across multiple networks. Customization of posts for Facebook or LinkedIn audiences is more effective.

Go mobile. Social media apps can be set up on all smartphones. This allows for updates and posts to be made efficiently and effectively on the fly. According to an info graphic from Digital Buzz, over 200-million Facebook users and over 80-million Twitter users use Facebook and Twitter mobile. If problems with apps arise, post using e-mail. Ping.fm, Facebook, Twitter and some third party social media sites offer an e-mail posting option. I find using e-mail to be effective; it also has spell-check.

Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest… the list goes on and on. With so many social media sites to consider, it is important to build social media profiles on the sites which will work best and most efficiently to bring messages and brand information to target audiences. Start with one or two sites, and as knowledge of the site and efficiency of use increases, add others. Look at assessments and reviews to determine which sites offer the greatest returns, and focus on them. For more information on how to choose which social media sites to use for business, check out this article on TechFleece.

Social media marketing strategies will be different for every business and individual, but the procedure is the same. Follow a plan with measurable goals and a sensible schedule. With social media it is easy to become distracted for hours at a time. Focus on objectives and stick to a schedule. Remember, it is not how much time is spent on social media, it is how little time is used to reach goals.

Original Article: DigitalBrandMarketing