How to Make the Most of Your Social Media Time

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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