How to Avoid the Social Networking Time Suck
Social networking has become one of the most important ways to complement business communication, but it’s also one of the biggest sources of distraction and time suck for otherwise productive entrepreneurs.
Tips for Managing Your Time on Social Networking
Learning to manage your own social networking time will help you leverage all the great benefits while avoiding the unwanted side effects of lost time and productivity.
Here are just a few tips to get you going …
Set Clear Social Networking Goals
Before committing to participation on another social network, make sure you have a very clear idea of what you want to accomplish. How does your time spent on that network contribute back to your business, marketing, and sales goals?
Think about it – if you were going on a trip by car, you’d need to have some idea of a destination, where to start, and what roads you’re going to take to get there. This kind of planning is even more important on social media because it’s just too easy to get distracted.
It’s important to know what you want to get out of your networking efforts. Whether it’s the ever-changing political climate that gets you all fired up or a funny meme of a cat saying something hilarious, we’ve all been distracted online.
Take time to identify your goals over the long term (expand your reach, get more loyalty from your audience, etc.) and what you intend to do on a short term, daily basis (respond to comments, post a new video). Whether you use paper and pen, mind mapping software, or voice memos to yourself to plan this out, record your ideas somewhere so you have a rock solid plan for what you hope to do.
I like using Trello to help organize themes and expected outcomes for each network where I spend time.
Limit the Networks You’re Involved In
Too many business owners try to be everywhere at once. This is a recipe for burnout and it isn’t likely to grow your business because you won’t have time to work on your actual business. It’s important to select only a handful of key social networks and if you’re just getting started, simply begin with one network and expand from there.
Of course, finding out what works best for your business will take some experimentation. Just don’t rush to do everything at once because you need to dedicate the appropriate time and effort to seeing what produces the most benefit. Your time is money, and it’s important to focus more on those activities that directly generate income wherever you can, which brings me to the next tip.
Prioritize Other Tasks First Before Social Networking
On a daily basis, work on your core business tasks first and then try saving social networking for the latter part of the day. That way, you can ensure everything that needs to get done gets taken care of. Carving out time at the end of your day will allow you a chance to do more exploration, and you can use that time to find new people to follow, interesting articles to share and more.
Speaking of prioritizing, decide how much time you are going to spend and what you’re going to do once you log into your social networking accounts. And always remember, when you log in … serve your fans first – reply to comments, likes and shares.
Define Your Notification Strategy
There’s nothing more detrimental to productivity than being interrupted all day long with emails telling you about new retweets, likes and comments. You can limit these interruptions in a few ways:
- Turn notifications off completely. Rarely is there a social media emergency, and if you’re already checking in regularly, you don’t really need to get an email notification for everything.
- Some networks, like Pinterest, allow you to get a daily digest of notifications instead of receiving an individual notification of each update.
- Don’t send the notifications to your main email address. Choose an address you check less frequently, so you aren’t constantly distracted by the new updates. OR, try creating a filter that sends all your social media notifications to a single folder you can check at once.
Get Help with Your Social Networking
There’s no reason you have to do all your social networking by yourself. Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur, you can hire a team or have an assistant alongside to help you. If you do bring in help, there are several common tasks they might assist with.
- Posting updates
- Scheduling updates you’ve prewritten
- Creating and collecting images and other useful content you’d like to share
Building a team that represents your brand pulls a lot of pressure away from you and allows you to focus more on strategy and business building.
Don’t let social networking overwhelm or consume you, or become a time suck. As long as you define your goals, create space in your calendar, and incorporate systems that work for you, social networking can be a huge advantage for your business!
How do you manage the time you spend on social networking? Share with us in the comments below!