As someone whose job involves being immersed in social media, I know how difficult it can be to keep up with the constant stream of news, comments, posts, etc. Not only do you need to share your own content, but you need to read, comment on, and like other people’s content to stay engaged. With 58 billion tweets sent per day (9,100 per second!), 30 billion pieces of content shared per month on Facebook, and 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, how do you stay ahead?
The key is to be focused and efficient. Let me explain how.
With so much shared content, it is impossible to read or watch everything online. This can be discouraging, but remember, you don’t have to read/watch everything, just what is relevant to you. So before you face the social media firehouse, think about your goals.
Are you doing research for your boss and want to show him/her conversations happening around your company’s brand or industry? Make a list of related terms and do some simple searches that give you a broad range of information without diluting your efforts with unnecessary clutter.
Consider hashtags that are popping up in relation to your search. Create a Twitter stream looking just at these hashtags to stay on top of the conversation. For help watching trends, check out my prior post on trend-spotting tools.
Social media can consume all of your free time (and busy time!) if you let it. So you should put a process in place to keep everything moving forward on schedule. This is especially true if your job title doesn’t involve “social media” and you need to get back to other pressing responsibilities related to your position.
For starters, concentrate on the social media platforms that are relevant to you. Check out this post on choosing your social media platforms if you want more help with this concept. But in general, there are a lot of platforms out there and some are more relevant for your business than others. As long as there are only 24 hours in the day, then you probably need to be efficient with your time and keep your eye on the platforms most impactful to your job.
Second, find a social media management tool that works for you. If you are using social media for a business then you should use a tool to manage it. Perhaps you can use an Excel spreadsheet to record your tagged links (Tagging links is important, particularly if you post original content!), but there are a lot of free and paid tools that can likely help you improve your process. At Spyglass Digital we use Hootsuite because of the range of platforms it helps us manage along with its integration with Google Analytics. But depending on your needs, you might find another tool that’s more suitable.
I want to mention that naturally when you’re perusing the caverns of social media, you’ll find yourself wandering absentmindedly through a random pathway or two. Don’t beat yourself up assuming this time is wasted. These tangents can be helpful! When developing content or keeping up with general news, sometimes things that are a few steps removed from your specific subject can give you fresh ideas on how to communicate, or will show you a related audience to share your message with.
To remain efficient even while incorporating these tangential opportunities, set a timer. When your timer goes off, get back to your original focus. Look again at your Twitter stream or start putting words on paper for your next blog post.