Most of us have a mile-long task list that keeps us busy during the day, sometimes busier than we may like. So when social media enters the picture, many of us fall into one of two categories – too busy to bother with it at all, or distracted to the point of lost productivity.
I’ve been in both groups, and have learned that I need to be very conscious of my activities in order to keep up without losing much needed time. Over the past year, primarily through trial and error, I have devised a system to keep me in the social media loop with very little time invested.
I admit I don’t follow it unfailingly (sometimes I just need the social media distraction), but when I do, I am able to accomplish more, connect quicker and make myself more visible with less work. Intrigued? In this first of two posts, I’ll explain what I do to get the most out of social media with my blog and RSS feeds with the least amount of time expended.
Be Realistic: When you commit to blogging, you are really committing to posting quality content on a regular basis. One of the secrets for me is limiting that commitment to two, maybe three, posts per week. This allows me to keep the content fresh and interesting, but the time commitment also fits into my schedule quite well.
Prepare in Advance: I try to write most of my blog posts about a week ahead and then schedule them. This way I have time to be choosy about what I focus on, and I’m not scrambling around last minute trying to scrape together a solid post. And when it comes down to the actual time spent, I’ve found it typically takes me 20 minutes or less to write and schedule each post.
Check-In as Necessary: A very simple but time-saving activity is making sure my e-mail notification is setup when my posts receive comments. This makes it easy to approve and respond without having to do any extra work.
Rely on Feeds: I have my blog feed setup to automatically feed into Facebook and Twitter, so I simply write and schedule my posts, then forget about them.
Be Picky: I subscribe to a lot of feeds (well over 60), but I regularly review what I have coming in, and I’m ready to unsubscribe when I lose interest.
Go Mobile: I use Google Reader for one reason – because I can keep up on my computer or on my BlackBerry (and go back and forth) seamlessly. I can read a few posts while I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, and pick it up again when I get back to work.
Focus on a Little at a Time: I typically have 1000+ unread posts in my reader at any given time. This can be entirely overwhelming at first glance, but I do more title scanning than post reading. And I never pressure myself to clean out my feeds in one fell swoop. I chip away at it, little by little.
Ping Myself for Follow-Up: When I come across a post I want to comment on or find out more about, I send myself a quick email. This gets me out of Reader and puts the reminder front and center where I can’t possibly miss it. Then I can create a to-do to follow up, do it immediately or add it to one of my “look at later” lists.
All totaled and averaged out, these two elements of my social media connectivity rarely exceeds 10 minutes per day (based on a seven day week). The flexibility is what makes it so efficient for me — some days I do nothing for my blog and feeds, some days I spend a little more time.
Stay tuned for my next post, which will share some of the tricks I do to minimize my time but maximize my impact on Twitter and Facebook.
Image credit: Christopher Hill
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