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Summary:

The first rule of social media is that there are no rules. The second rule is what works for one person doesn’t always work for everyone else. Peeking into another person’s social media approach can give you ideas on how to adjust yours to get the […]

The first rule of social media is that there are no rules. The second rule is what works for one person doesn’t always work for everyone else.

Peeking into another person’s social media approach can give you ideas on how to adjust yours to get the biggest bang. So in this post, I’m going to share my social media process.
While social media is my primary marketing tool, plenty of others spend more hours social networking than I do and for different reasons. For me, social media keeps my name out there, so people remember I’m here and available for hire. Based on these two requirements, I do social networking activities at least a couple of hours a day five times a week, which comprises a mix of the following:

  • Doing social networking at the same time every day. When I make something a habit, it becomes easier to stick with it and do it on a regular basis. I always start my mornings with social media and reviewing emails. I do another check around lunch and sometimes in the evenings. This schedule ensures I cover a variety of time zones. If all your clients are local or within the same country, you may only need to sign on once or twice a day.
  • Posting tweets spread throughout the day with a scheduling application. There’s some controversy surrounding automated tweets. But there’s a difference between just saying something without mentioning anyone and replying. My scheduled tweets come from responding to other people’s tweets. It doesn’t have to be an instant reply because most of us watch for mentions of our names. Rather than having a whole bunch of live tweets at 7:00 am, noon and evening, I schedule them.
  • Joining the right Twitter chats. I also join several Twitter chats every week, which run for an hour on average. Chats give me an opportunity to get to know people better and have some intelligent discussion. I select the chats to attend based on the topic and theme. Some chats have a different theme (announced in advance) every time. If a chat interferes with something else, I skip it. You can also multitask while chatting.
  • Reviewing Facebook updates once a day. Unless you change the settings, most of us receive updates when we post new Facebook statuses and people reply. So responding immediately isn’t important unless it’s related to an event. Once or twice a day, I review the feed on my home page and reply as needed. Since Facebook is less noisy than Twitter, it’s easy to see a few hours’ worth of updates in one sitting. If I write a tweet that would also suit my Facebook audience, I send it to Facebook by adding the “#fb” hashtag using the Selective Tweets application. I don’t send every Twitter update to Facebook because it’s a different kind of audience and it annoys some people. I obviously like and use Twitter, but I don’t like reading constant tweets in Facebook.
  • Updating my LinkedIn status a few times a week. Rather than checking LinkedIn daily, I just send tweets that contain the hashtag “#in” to update my LinkedIn status. You can turn on this feature in LinkedIn. I also visit LinkedIn about once a week to review updates and questions and answers.
  • Writing at least two blog entries per week. This keeps my site fresh while sharing free information, expertise and personality. It’s my home on the Internet.
  • Reading other people’s blogs. I browse blogs through links in Twitter or by checking people’s Twitter bios. This makes it easy to read a diversity of blogs. With many knowledgeable people out there, I like to mix it up and meet more people. I do this a few times a week. If my schedule is tight, I cut the blog hopping and commenting.

Before figuring out your process for social media, you might want to figure out how much time you should spend on social networking. Also, be aware of your clients’ preferences to make sure you go to the places where you’re likely to find them.

Notice I mentioned Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs while omitting video networks like YouTube. But this mix of tools might not always be the same. Social media isn’t going away soon, but the players might change. Besides, you might work in an industry or profession that has a social network worth joining, or video networking is a big thing with you.

How do you make the most of social networking?

Photo credit: Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo

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  1. I found this piece to be very insightful. While reading, I started to come up with a few more ideas that I can implement and test out in my business. I will definitely share my ways when I find the right collaboration that works for me.

    Thank you for sharing!
    Mark
    @notmarkz

    1. Mark, you’re correct that the process is different for everyone. One thing I didn’t mention is that I check in with the social networks for a couple of minutes here and there.

  2. Thanks, Meryl. I gleaned a couple of new things here! I have found a workflow that’s fairly efficient for myself involving iGoogle, Delicious and Firestatus updates within the Mozilla browser, but that’s just one of unlimited permutations of possibilities, of course. The problem is that once you get a workflow going, you become somewhat locked in to it and fear that changing will cause retrospective problems.

    1. Dianna, I know lots of people who love iGoogle. I never found a way to make it work for me. It’s all about figuring out what tools you like and the rest will fall in.

  3. I got this post fro twitter. I like the two rules you have for social media. This is good strategy…thank you for the ideas.

    1. Can’t tell you how many times someone comments not liking a certain type of tweet while others love it.

  4. As a reasonable newcomer to the social sphere, aside from the helpful tips, the key take away for me was that whatever works for you as an individual. There is no cookie cutter approach to social engagement. Everyone needs to work out a system that works for them, which generates their own definition of fulfillment. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Short ‘n sweet, Daniel: “There’s no cookie cutter approach.”

  5. I always found it hard to adjust my social media time. Thanks to your wonderful tips, I’ll now be able to adjust my time better.

    1. Anis, you’ll find something that works for you. I’m always tweaking… who knows what will come along next?

  6. Mike Key – Entrepreneurial Ninja Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Great post, I’ve got some tweaked ideas about a couple things. I write on my blog more often, about 5 times a week. I also choose to do my tweeting at peek hours.

    1. Mike, what are peak hours? I find I get responses at all times of the day. Twitter knows no boundaries and it lets you meet folks from all over.

      1. Mike Key – Entrepreneurial Ninja Meryl Evans Thursday, January 14, 2010

        The times that people are most likely in front of their computer. Afternoons, evenings and on weekends. More specifically, Friday yields the highest number of replies and retweets for me.

  7. ecommercejunkie Thursday, January 14, 2010

    These are great tips! One interesting thing to note in addition is the emerging trend of e-commerce branching out and incorporating social media as well. There are tons of retailers operating storefronts on Facebook and a very cool shopping application on Facebook as well called the Wishlist (http://www.sortprice.com/facebook_wishlist/). It’s a nice diversion during the day for sure.

    1. ecommercejunkie, there you go. Those retailers will definitely have a different routine than I do for managing their social networking time.

  8. Some useful tips in here, thanks Meryl.

    I’m still adjusting my approach to time and duration spent on the various social media for Above The Static, with a key for me being integrating them all without hurting the presence on any given platform. Your point about not all of the Twitter feed flowing into Facebook being a great example of this.

    I also think monitoring response to one’s activity is important. Testing different times of the day for posting links and watching the varying click through rates has proved useful, for example.

  9. I too am a newcomer to the social sphere and with so much information out there this is very helpful – especially differentiating the fb & twitter audiences. It’s also encouraging to know that there really is an element of what works best individually.

  10. Social media should be integrated in the marketing efforts and more so to shops with internet presence. This will easily enable these stores to amplify their content as well as generating leads.

    Taivig
    http://www.onewayshopping.com

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