Has social media taken over your life? The larger your network, the more crowded your feed becomes. The more groups you belong to, the more time it takes to keep up with the latest happenings. What started out as an occasional task can quickly grow into a time-consuming beast. Fortunately, social media doesn’t have to consume your professional life. Use the tips below to tame the beast.
1. Be more selective about who you follow and who you let into your network. When you first start building a social network, the feeling tends to be “the more the merrier.” However, you’ll soon find that your news feed is filled with irrelevant updates from people that aren’t a good fit for your professional brand. Wouldn’t you rather have a tightly focused network of like-minded individuals over a large network of people with whom you have little in common? If your social network is becoming too bloated with the wrong contacts, it may be time to start pruning your list and restricting access to new members.
2. Be more selective about the groups you join. It’s often difficult to tell if a group is a good fit until you’ve been in it for a while. By now, you likely have a better idea which groups are right for you and which ones you could leave. If a group doesn’t make sense, leave it. This will give you more time, and more news feed real estate, for more relevant discussions.
3. Sign in a scheduled times and use a timer. It’s easy to get sucked into social media. Before you know it, several hours have passed and you have little to show for it. Don’t let this happen to you! Set aside specific times each day for social media and use a timer to limit your time. Setting a timer will keep you focused and prevent you from inadvertently overdoing it. For example, you may want to start your day with an inspirational status update, respond to comments mid-morning, and then close out the day at some point in the afternoon. Thus, your schedule might look like this:
- 8:00 am to 8:10 am: Social media update
- 10:30 am to 10:40 am: Respond to comments, comment/share others’ posts
- 4:20 pm to 4:30 pm: comments, like/share others’ posts
4. Use RSS feeds for inspiration. Coming up with fresh ideas, day in, day out, isn’t always easy. At some point, perhaps more often than you’d like, you’ll experience writer’s block. Subscribing to RSS feeds in your niche is a great way to stay inspired. Use a feed reader or your RSS-compatible email client and subscribe to relevant RSS feeds. This will keep you fed with the latest news, trends, controversies, and other fodder to write about.
5. Use a scheduling tool. Scheduling some updates in advance can buy you a great deal of breathing room as well as ensure that you maintain a steady stream of posts even when your schedule gets hectic. Some also find it easier to come up with a series of related tweets, updates, and blog posts in one sitting than it is to do them haphazardly. For example, if you regularly write about iPhone apps on Monday, Macintosh tutorials on Tuesdays, Windows optimization tips on Wednesdays, and post funny cartoons on Fridays, you may find it easier to write your posts in batches. As you search for funny cartoons on Friday, you may find five to ten funny ones all at once. Rather than just grabbing one and being done, doesn’t it make sense to pre-schedule the others? With the right scheduling tool, this only takes a few minutes.
There are many ways to tame the social media beast ranging from being more selective and pruning your lists to using timers, RSS feeds, and scheduling tools. Implement one or two of these tips – or use them all, and you should notice that you have more time and more focus.