Tammy Kahn Fennell recently wrote a great post here on Maximize Social Business about having a social media productivity plan with plenty of advice on how to build your own. We all know that social media, in theory, is the quickest, most efficient, and most cost-effective way to communicate your message to the world. But at the same time, we all know that it can be a real time-drain, leaving you seated at the desk for hours wondering what, if anything, you accomplished today. And for us suffering from shiny object syndrome, it seems even worse, as many of our favorite distractions are just a click away.
So are we destined to repeat this time wasting process in the world where time is money? Or can we turn all the technology and research into our advantage and in fact become more productive? The answer is YES.
I have taken some time to list 6 quick tips, i.e. productivity boosters, which will help you work smarter, rather than longer. These are all social media productivity tips that I have learned to use myself over the years, and while I’ll never be 100% satisfied, I do think they allow me to scale in my use of social media more than the average professional. Most of you loyal readers are already doing some, if not all, of these things, but I do hope this article has some value to even the most experienced social media professional.
1. Use Content Curation Tools
I cannot point out enough how important content curation is – and thus content curation tools become. I’ve already mentioned how content curation is an integral part of a social media strategy, and both content marketing expert Bob Geller as well as myself have blogged a number of times on content curation, including why content curation is important for content marketing, how to curate content like a pro, and how to improve your content curation.
Today’s market offers a myriad of different content curation tools specifically designed to help you out in your pursuit of both finding the most relevant content, with some allowing you to efficiently publish the curated content to your social media accounts. Some of the content curation tools which I have used or presently use include:
- Post Planner – killer Facebook content curation functionality
- BuzzSumo – find the most shared relevant content on different social networks by topic or user
- Triberr – join the tribe of like-minded people who write content related to your industry
- Social Buzz Club – find content to share from a community of content creators
- Viral Content Buzz – find content to share from a variety of content creators
Also, from a pure content curation perspective, don’t forget:
Note that even social media dashboards such as Hootsuite and Buffer now offer you suggested content to post. The important thing is to find which of these tools 1) finds you the most relevant content and 2) make it easy for you to control when and where you content is posted in the most efficient way.
2. Schedule Your Posts
Automation is a keyword when it comes to post scheduling. Your job is to create the content (I budget about 2 hours per blog post) and set the time when each post will be released. Then, use appropriate social media tools that allow you to automatically publish those posts now and repeatedly into the future. Using RSS it is easy to automate your publishing of new posts through the likes of social media dashboards such as HootSuite, MarketMeSuite, and Post Planner (for Facebook), but there are other tools that you can use here as well:
- WordPress JetPack Publicize – this WordPress plugin will publish your posts to several social networks, including personal Google Plus profiles!
- CoSchedule – on a similar note, if using WordPress, you can pre-create social media posts promoting your new blog post and send them out well into the future on a variety of social networks, including Pinterest!
3. Use a Dedicated Browser
Another great way to keep your focus on social media, rather than on everything else, is to use dedicated browsers, i.e. one browser that is set for the social media activities (with tabs automatically opening the important social channels) and the other for all the rest. This will help you resist the temptation to check your Twitter account every five minutes or end up watching yet another funny video on YouTube. I’d also recommend setting a timer. Once the time is up, you stop whatever you have been doing, and take a break (for five or ten minutes). Many work best in chunks of 45 minutes followed by a 10-minute break, but you will obviously need to set your own pace.
4. Stick to a Daily/Weekly Routine
An extension of the setting a timer idea above is to set social media boundaries that literally control how often you visit social media sites on a daily or weekly basis as part of your overall social media routine. Some social networks are more engaging than others, while others are more strategic than others. Play to your strengths and create a daily routine (check 2 or 3 times a day) for your strategic networks while others check in on a weekly basis for engagement opportunities. You can’t be everywhere at once, so doing this will greatly increase your overall social media productivity.
You can also manage any given social network with a combination of daily and weekly tasks. For instance, on Twitter and LinkedIn you can post and engage daily and perhaps delegate Twitter follower/following management as well as LinkedIn invitations to a weekly routine.
5. Get Analytical
Yes, as daunting they might seem, analytics are there to help you. So why not take a full advantage of them. You can create your own analytics dashboard using different applications, including Cyfe, Sumall, and Netvibes. You can get different relevant data from them to help you out with your productivity optimization.
I find that there is no one over-arching ideal social media analytical platform, so I end up using a combination of the following:
- Sprout Social (Twitter)
- Facebook Insights (Facebook)
- Tailwind (Pinterest)
- Google Analytics (Website)
6. Turn Old into New
Old content can be as useful as the new one. Just because it is 6 months old, it does not mean that it cannot be reused again. Evergreen content does not have an expiration date, as the value of it is still relevant. While you can use the aforementioned SMQueue to ensure that your old content gets discovered regularly in social media, you can re-use your content for a variety of content marketing mediums, including infographics, ebooks, as well as revising them to create new blog posts. You don’t always have to re-invent the wheel!
I have tried all of the tips presented above and have found that they work well for me. I estimate they have both saved me hours on average per day as well as allowed me to maintain a robust social media presence that allows me to focus my time on content creation and engagement with other social media users.
I would love to hear what tricks you use in order to be more productive. Are they the same as mine? Or do you have something completely different that you would recommend? Start chiming in!