Human science and Online life

Let’s face it. Participating in social media channels for your business could be very time consuming, but not if you have systems in place to make you more productive. Part of developing your social media strategy is to set up systems to make your life a whole lot easier. Without systems in place, you will definitely be overwhelmed with all the activities you will be doing on a regular basis. Being organized not only saves you time but it saves you from the frustration and burnout you will most likely experience when participating in your social media channels.

Time management is a vital part of your overall social media strategy. A lot of business owners put a lot of time and effort in building their online presence. They sign in to their social networks to see if someone has left a comment, or have “liked” their post, sent a mention on Twitter, or do a Google search of related news in their industry or check any mentions of their brand. Does this sound like you? This habit of monitoring your brand can get in the way of being productive. I want you to quit doing this and start fresh. It’s time you put up systems that will lessen your time managing your social media activities so no time is ever wasted.

These are the systems you need to set up:

Social media management tools – Use social media management tools or dashboards. These dashboards enable you to post to several of your social media accounts and monitor them. I use Hootsuite (my favourite) to schedule my messages to be sent out on specific dates and times. This comes in handy if you have a hectic schedule or if you have other important tasks to focus on. Aside from Hootsuite, there are other social media monitoring tools that allow you to schedule your messages, monitor your brand, analyze your statistics, track your target keywords, and many other features.

Some tools are free and some are paid. Some are simple while some are complicated to use. Check out the features of each social media monitoring tool and see if they have the features that you need, if they don’t, go to the next. Choose the tool that you feel would work best for you and the level of your technology skill (not all of us are techie).

Other free social media management tools:

  • Seesmic
  • TweetDeck
  • Ping.fm

URL shorteners – URL shorteners are used to shrink long links (obviously) and more importantly, to track the clicks. Although Hootsuite has its own URL shortener, I often use Bit.ly to shorten my long links. The reason is that with Bit.ly, I can customize my links. For example, rather than having this link – bit.ly/abcdef, I can customize that to bit.ly/SocialMediaTip. You can customize your URL for SEO purposes, but make sure you still have enough space if you are going to post on Twitter. If my tweet is quite long, I just leave the shortened link as it is.

Google alerts – Aside from using social media monitoring tools, you may want to monitor certain types of content on the web or to be updated about the latest news in your industry or about your competitor. You can also monitor your target keywords, your brand, blogs to follow, and blog posts to comment on. To set up your alerts, go to http://www.google.com/alerts

Calendar – You probably haven’t thought about creating a calendar as part of your social media strategy. Creating a timeline of activities per week on a calendar helps you to be more focused on the tasks for your social media activities. I usually set up a calendar for clients when creating their social media strategy. Your calendar serves as the basis of your activities for the whole month, with emphasis on the tasks you want to focus on per week. You can use an Excel spreadsheet, Google Docs spreadsheet, Google Calendar, or this online tool that I love using-it’s called 30 Boxes.

Reminders – If you are the type of person who wants to be constantly reminded to do this and that, you are not alone. Aside from having all these to-do lists on my Gmail, and sticky notes on my desktop, I have set up reminders for myself to do certain tasks. The tool that I really love using that has helped me become more productive lately is Hassle Me. The guys from Hassle Me nag you via email at semi-unpredictable times. All you need to do is set up something that you want to be reminded of and the frequency. And it’s free! Use this to set up your time to check out your social networks once a day, write a blog post weekly, or read industry news daily.

Your To-do List:

  1. If you haven’t already set up an account on any of the social media management tools mentioned in this article, pick one. If you are using Hootsuite, add a stream and select 3 keywords you want to monitor.
  2. Do an assessment of your current social media activities. Have you set priorities on certain activities? Do you have a schedule for posting on your blog, or for scheduling status updates ahead of time? When do you start creating your status updates or blog posts? If you haven’t set a schedule for your social media activities for the week or for the whole month, create a timeline. Open an Excel spreadsheet and create a calendar, or you can open your Google Calendar, or sign up for an account at 30 Boxes. Create a simple calendar that you can follow so you can be more organized with your activities each week or month.

Start doing your to-do list for this week! Let me know about your progress.

What other techniques or tools do you use to make sure you are spending time on social media wisely? Share your personal tips with us in the comments below.

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