In teaching social media, the question asked of me most frequently (aside from “What’s the ROI?”) is “When will I find time to do this?”. All of us are busy – the demands on our time seem endless, and between our business demands and our family commitments, it seems that we just can’t do one more thing than we are already doing. So engaging in a social media campaign that can please us and still have an effective business purpose looms as a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be if you follow these pretty simple steps.
- Replace a low return activity – We all have them. Something that we do out of habit that isn’t returning the same benefit we used to receive. The fact that something used to work, doesn’t mean it still works in your business, but with all those balls in the air, it might seem to difficult to stop juggling one of them, but if you’ve ever watched a juggler, as long as they keep the same timing and rhythm, they are able to add and delete items from the stream without losing track of the items they are juggling.
- Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan – If you want to be effective, be consistent. Determine when you’re going to work on creating material and/or curating material. If you have an hour each day after the kids go to sleep or before they wake , or just a space on the weekend when you have a little quiet time, use that time to create a core of engagement. Write a blog post, make a video, take a photo or schedule material you are curating for your community. A regular time commitment at an “off-time” in your life schedule can be really useful and help you to focus.
- Schedule Your Activities – This is not a restatement of the last point, but a reminder that technology allows use to engage in an asynchronous manner. Hootsuite, TweetDeck and the scheduling tools on most blog platforms allow you to schedule the publication of Tweets, LinkeIn conversations, Facebook page postings well in advance of the time they appear. So if your quiet time is Midnight Tuesday evenings you can schedule a core of material to appear in the future which can act as a backdrop to your spontaneous postings during the week
- Multi-Task – All of us read something, and we have many tools that allow use to share while we’re reading. Many of those browser extensions allow us to schedule our sharing. I use a Hootsuite extension on my chrome browser, so if I am reading 5 or 6 items, I can schedule them to appear spaced out over a period of time. Or you can use a tool like Evernote to save web clippings or links and then share them later when you schedule them through Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. The same obviously applies to videos or photos you share.
- Use Mobile tools – On my may to a conference two days ago, I saw fireman practicing the use of their ladder truck by extending the ladder and climbing to the top of a nearby building. I was able to take a quick photo with my phone from the base of the ladder tat I thought was interesting. I shared the photo on Google Plus and Facebook, and had a few conversations during the day with people in those two communities that liked the photo (or wanted to know why I was climbing a ladder like that) Other mobile applications like FourSquare and Gowalla allow you to check-in and post to other social platforms, allowing your community to share your experiences, with a quick comment. This sort of cross platform engagement needs to be thoughtful though- your community might enjoy your check-in at a new restaurant or community business as long as you add a short comment to put it into context. Another easy way to share is taking a mobile photo to capture the ambiance of a new place or a tasty meal is usually well received – people value the recommendations of their community members and might find a new place through your sharing. Mobile tools are also great for sharing your opinions on that new film or song that you just enjoyed (or perhaps didn’t enjoy) – and the person who avoids the bad experience or has a great one will appreciate your sharing with them
In the final analysis, adding social media engagement to your schedule will be easier with some thought and planning, and the use of tools, but it won’t require you to add more hours to your day. Do you have a way you maximize your social media interaction, or a tool you like to make your life easier? Share it with us below!