One of Social Media’s big attractions is its immediacy – updates and responses are fast and live, the stream of information is non-stop. That attraction can also be your downfall if you allow it to break your concentration on its own terms, and time mangement (or complete lack thereof) is a big issue for new and seasoned users alike.
I certainly could not manage one account let alone several without a structure time management plan to work from, and I thought I’d outline the basics of how to create one for any Social Media beginners or those struggling to cope with the constant barrage of information on any Social Media platform. I’m not going to mention software in this post, just go over what you need to do – I may post a blog recommending the tools you can use to accomplish this later.
On any Social Media platform, you are going to be doing one of three things: Creating, Reading or Reacting.
Tweeting on Twitter, posting a status update on Facebook, posting a video on YouTube… you get the idea – anything you produce from scratch to share or engage with others.
~ Set aside specific times. Deciding on an exact time of the week or time of the day (depending on your update frequency) during which you sit down and create content, means you can focus completely.
~ Schedule content. Depending on how often you intend to create content, scheduling it ahead of time can be very time-effective. Plenty of Twitter and Facebook clients will allow you to schedule updates ahead of time, so you can plan a whole week or updates based on when you can spread information (if you know a new product will be available on a specific day for example, or a promotion is coming up) and then just leave it to do its thing.
When deciding when you’re going to set aside time to schedule or create content, bear in mind when your business might present inspiration. If you run a shop that takes deliveries over the weekend, scheduling your creation/scheduling time on Monday morning would make sense as you will have all the new products available to work into your updates.
This will be more important for you if you intend to use Social Media as a networking tool, and less important if you are using it to make yourself available to customers – either way it’s important to set aside time to read the updates from your peers and customers.
~ Set aside specific times. This is another thing worth scheduling, like creating. Set aside a time when you can read through latest updates and forward on (‘RT’ on Twitter, ‘Share’ on Facebook) or respond to any information posted.
~ Prioritise. You can also make this a lot easier by utilising things like Hootsuite’s ability to group Twitter-friends into columns – meaning you can have a column for people you know you want to check every day and leave the rest for a less regimented read-through weekly, for example.
This is the perilous bit – watching for responses and messages from your peers and customers can waste a whole day away, but ignoring them can lead to you losing custom.
~ Set up alerts. On whatever platform you are using, ensure that anything directed at you specifically, or a response to anything you post, sends you email alerts. Every single platform will offer these, and if it doesn’t then software developed for it will.
Your type of business and messages received will dictate how often you monitor these alerts and fast you respond, so that can be flexible, the main thing is to set up one central email that receives all alerts and gets checked by someone, so that messages directed at you are being seen and responded to.
~ Set aside specific times. It’s a good idea to schedule specific times during the day to read alerts and respond to them, rather than responding to each individually as they come through.
Remember that unlike email, Social Meda conversations are public. When I visit your company Facebook Page I can see if you have responded to a customer’s recent request for information, or if you haven’t.
Taking control of when you give attention to Social Media can make a huge difference in the quality of attention you can devote too – when you’re working in a scheduled window of time you can relax and focus fully, rather than worrying about all the other things you feel you should be doing instead!
Initially you may not need a plan quite as detailed as this, so you could start without and re-assess as you go, introducing ideas as you need them.
About The Author: Camilla Todd manages Search Engine Optimisation, social media campaigns and brand awareness for WNW Design SEO clients. You can follow her on Twitter @camilla_wnw, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 01395 542569. You can also follow WNW Design on Facebook here.