How many hours of your day do you find yourself sucked into the social media world? You think you’ll just have a quick browse on Facebook, then LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr, Flickr, Reddit … and before you know it you’ve lost an hour or two. It’s so easy to do and keeping your social media open when you’re working means that every time you get a notification you feel compelled to read it – just in case! So how can you stop procrastinating and spend your time more productively?
1. Analyse the time you spend on each task in your business each week
Use an activity log/tracker to analyse the time spent on each task or activity each day, and record this for a week. Be honest and ruthless, record EVERYTHING, even if it’s only two minutes here and there, it all adds up. If you want to shock yourself into having better habits around social media engagement, then this is a fab way to do it.
2. Check out the ‘Insights’ on the social media platforms that you use
Look at when your audience for each platform is online and this is your guide to when they are likely to see your posts; each platform is likely to be different.
3. Assign a block of time in your diary or calendar for your social media posting and engagement
Use your Insights to create a plan as to when to be active on social media. If they’re all different, then plan in two or more chunks of time. I spend some time in the morning, afternoon and evening, posting and engaging, but I plan this around my client work when I have time to do it and when my audience is most active. Make sure that you bear your own working habits in mind, such as when you have the brain power to purposefully and helpfully post and engage.
4. Close your browser
It’s really tempting to just keep checking your social media platforms all day and lose track of how many times you do it. Whenever you see a notification pop up, you’re straight on it and looking at what’s going on. Remove the temptation, close your browser, ignore or turn off all the phone notifications that distract you, and focus on whatever task you’re actually supposed to be concentrating on. If it helps, keep using an activity tracker to log what you’re doing – once you have done this for a short period, it becomes second nature.
5. Don’t feel pressured
Don’t feel like you’ll miss out if you don’t check your social media for an hour or two. The notifications will still be there when you log back in. You’re unlikely to miss anything and just because other people are engaging, doesn’t mean that your comments can’t wait a little longer to be shared. Make it work for you, don’t be a slave to it!
6. Identify work engagement and personal engagement
If you want to post and engage in social media within your working hours then try, to the best of your ability, to keep this work related. Outside of working hours, you can have free rein to engage in personal and/or work-related posts, but personal time is precious to all of us, and a work/life balance needs to be implemented.
7. Get rid of some of the noise
If you’re a member of tonnes of groups and pages, or follow too many random people, then don’t be afraid to quieten some of the noise. Really look at which platforms, forums, pages, groups and people you get the most value from. Look at engagement on your posts, what you learn or find interesting, or the contacts or friends you make. Then look at what’s left. Make the platforms/people/groups/pages you value most into ‘favourites’, and either unfollow or turn off notifications for the rest, or even stop engaging on one platform completely. It’s really refreshing to see your newsfeed made up of items that you’re actually interested in.
8. Consider scheduling some posts
Scheduling can be a fab way of relieving some of the pressure on having to think of a different post for each platform every day. There are lots of scheduling options and you can schedule evergreen posts, themed posts on certain days, or new and original content every time. Even if, like me, you prefer to post ad hoc, it’s often helpful to schedule a few posts on one or more platforms so that you know you have regular content being posted. It takes some of the pressure off you, and you can then build in ad hoc posts around these. If you do schedule, do remember to go back and engage with anyone who comments, shares, or retweets these posts, incorporating this into part of your planned time.
It is definitely important to keep abreast of what’s going on in your various social media platforms. Spend some time answering queries, establish an online presence to reflect your business acumen, and then log out! Check it a couple of times a day if you want, but don’t keep the page open in your browser as you’ll get distracted every time you see a hint of a notification. You’ll be amazed at how much time you can save just by focusing your social media energy into chunks of time.
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