Let’s face it – social networks can be a time suck. In fact, social media now accounts for 18% of all time spent online. With the average Facebook user spending about 7 hours each month on the site, the average tumblr and Pinterest users spending 1.5 hours each month on those sites respectively, the average Twitter user spending 21 minutes each month Tweeting, and the average LinkedIn user spending 17 minutes a month on the site, it’s clear that people devote a lot of time to social networking.
Now, this is both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because it represents an opportunity. With people spending so much time on social networks, you have the chance to connect with them and achieve a range of PR and marketing goals. It’s bad because you can easily get sucked in and spend more time on social networks than you need to.
Effective social networking is, in large part, about efficiency. You need to spend time growing your networking/spreading your message, but you have to be careful that you’re not spending too much time on this task either.
So, how can you be more efficient at social networking?
- Schedule time for social networking each day — I’ve found that the best way to avoid the social networking time suck is to schedule blocks of time throughout the day to devote to social media. For example, you could set aside 15 minute blocks each day at 9:00, 12:00, and 3:00 for logging on to your social networks, responding to comments, sharing things, etc. Set a timer and stick to whatever schedule you come up with.
- Have a purpose each time you get online — Admit it, you’ve logged on Facebook before and, next thing you know, you’ve killed an hour or more watching videos, stalking old friends, liking photos, and doing all the other things we do to kill time online. Stop it! Avoid the time suck by making sure you have a specific task in mind when you log on. Maybe that task is to post a status update, or maybe it’s to respond to someone who mentioned your brand. Know your purpose and stick to the task at hand.
- Automate certain tasks — I know, I know. I can hear the groans. When it comes to social networking, many people see automation as a nasty word. I’m not telling you to automate everything. I’m suggesting you automate certain tasks to help you save time. For example, you can schedule the bulk of your status updates in advance and have them publish automatically at specific times in the future. Just make sure the updates you’re scheduling in advance will be relevant when they’re posted.
- Use tools for social media monitoring — There are many tools available for monitoring social networks for brand mentions. These tools will notify you each time someone posts about your company, so you can respond in a timely manner. This saves you time as you don’t have to constantly log on and track everything in real time to see if someone is talking about you.
What are some other ways to increase social networking efficiency? Share your tips by commenting below.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab three ebooks, including My Facebook Formula, a free report on Facebook and why you should be using the largest social network for your business, here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/freebooks.html