Monday, November 26, 2012

8 Tips for Fitting Social Media into Your Already Busy Day

Many of my coworkers have asked me how I manage to fit all the things I do in social media into my workday. Sometimes I wonder myself.

But I've been doing this for a while now, and so have learned to streamline my social media work. I thought I'd take a few minutes to give you some tips for working social media into your workday. It's really not as difficult as you might think.

First please keep in mind that I use social media for work, not for personal stuff. That distinction makes a difference.

#1  Lay the groundwork first

When I first started using social media, I spent a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook. I was trying to build a base to work from, building Twitter lists and Facebook friends and fans.

If you're starting out, you'll need to do the same. No getting around it, just dig in and do it. Believe me, it'll pay off.

For great info on getting started on social media, check out this Quickstarter series.

Rome. Get it?

#2  When in Rome, check out Rome

During a typical workday, I'll check Facebook (FB) and Google+ (G+), my two main sites, first thing in the morning to see what has been posted overnight. The rest of the day I check those sites mostly when I'm already online for something else.

In a way I'm lucky that way, because my job requires me to do quite a bit of online research. So when I'm there I'll quickly check updates on FB and G+. If I find something I think my followers would like, I'll repost it. It doesn't take much time once you get the hang of it.

#3  Stay focused on your core goal

When you use social media for work, you need to develop and stick to a clear, compelling goal.

Take my friend Lorry Schoenly's blog at correctionalnurse.net. Her goal is simple and straightforward: "To make visible the challenging profession of nursing in a correctional environment." Her blog posts, Twitter tweets, and FB updates consistently fit that goal.

When you focus on one goal, you can skim updates more efficiently and make better use of the limited time you can spend on social media.

#4  Make use of the tools available to you

I rarely tweet directly on Twitter. Instead, I use a website called Iffft. Weird name, but great site. It allows users to set up rules (they're like macros in Word, but online), to initiate a set of functions.

For instance, I use one Iffft rule to send all my FB updates to my Twitter feed. Easy. There are thousands of these rules already created, so all you have to do is find the ones you need and go through Iffft's easy configuration steps.

Lots of people rely on social media managers like HootSuite to aggregate tweets, FB updates, LinkedIn posts, and so forth, into a single interface. I'd suggest that you try one to see if it works for you.

Basically the more social media sites you're on, the more tools you'll need to keep track of them.

#5  Use FB's scheduling function

Not long ago Facebook instituted functionality to allow users to schedule updates. Yes, it's ridiculously clunky, but it works.

Use it.

If you've got a few minutes free, make a few updates and schedule them sporadically over the next day or so. Your friends will think you're a wizard at posting great info all day long, but actually you'll be in class at the white board.

I'd very much like to see Google provide similar functionality on Google+, and I suspect at some point it will.

3 final tips

  1. A little at a time.
  2. In and out quickly.
  3. Scan, don't read.
Now, go forth and social mediate!