Let’s face facts. It can be time-consuming to participate in social media channels for your company. But, not if there are systems that make it easier. To make your life easier, you need to create systems. You will find yourself overwhelmed by all the activities that you are doing every day if you don’t have systems. Not only will it save you time, but you’ll also avoid the frustration and burnout that you will likely feel when you participate in social media.

Your overall social media strategy should include time management. Many business owners spend a lot of effort and time building their online presence. To check if anyone has commented, “liked” or sent a mention to their post on Twitter or Google, they log in to their social media networks. This sounds like you? The habit of constantly monitoring your brand can make it difficult to be productive. This is why I urge you to stop doing it and get started again. You need to create systems that make it easier for you to manage your social media accounts so you don’t waste any time.

These are the systems that you will need to create:

Social media management tools – Use dashboards or social media management software. These dashboards allow you to monitor and post to multiple social media accounts. Hootsuite is my favourite to schedule messages to go out at specific times and dates. This is great if your schedule is busy or you have other priorities. Hootsuite is not the only social media monitoring tool. It also allows you to schedule messages, monitor your brand and analyze your statistics. You can track your target keywords and many other features.

Some tools can be free while others require payment. Some tools are easy while others are more complex. You can compare the features of every social media monitoring tool to see if it has the features you require. If they don’t have them, move on to the next one. You should choose the tool that suits you best, based on your level of technology skills (not everyone is tech-savvy).

Additional free tools for managing social media:

Seesmic
TweetDeck
Ping.fm

URL shorteners – URL shorteners can be used to shorten long links and, more importantly, track clicks. Hootsuite does have a URL shortener but I use Bit.ly to shorten long links. Bit.ly allows me to customize my links. For example, rather than having this link – bit.ly/abcdef, I can customize that to bit.ly/SocialMediaTip. While you can modify your URL to improve SEO, you should still leave enough space for tweets. If my tweet is very long, I leave the link as-is.

Google Alerts – You can use Google monitoring tools to monitor social media, but you also want to keep up to date about news and developments in your industry. Monitor your brand, target keywords, blogs to follow and comments on blog posts. To set up your alerts, go to http://www.google.com/alerts

Calendar – Perhaps you haven’t considered creating a calendar to aid in your social media strategy. A calendar can help you stay focused and organized by listing the activities for each week. When creating a social media strategy for my clients, I often create a calendar. Your calendar is the foundation of your activities for the month. It should be focused on the tasks that you are most interested in each week. An Excel spreadsheet, Google Docs spreadsheet or Google Calendar can all be used. I also love this online tool called 30 Boxes.

You are not the only one who needs to be reminded of things. Apart from keeping a list of to-dos on Gmail and sticky notes on my desktop I also have reminders that remind me to complete certain tasks. Hassle Me is the tool I love most that has made me more productive in recent years. Hassle Me sends you emails at semi-unpredictable times to keep you on track. You just need to set up something you want to be reminded about and the frequency. It’s also free! This is a great way to schedule your time to check your social media once a week, write a blog post every week, and read industry news daily.

Your To-do List:

You can create an account using any of these social media management tools if you don’t have one. Hootsuite users can add a stream to their account and choose 3 keywords that you wish to monitor.
Assess your social media activity. Do you have a set of priorities for certain activities? Are you able to set a time and a place for your blog posts? What is the best time to start writing your blog posts or status updates? You can create a timeline if you don’t have a set schedule for your social media activities for the entire month or the week. You can either open an Excel spreadsheet to create a calendar or your Google Calendar. Or sign up at 30 Boxes. You can create a simple calendar you can use to organize your activities for each week and month.

 

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