Social media is a tricky little monster. Although it has incredible potential to build your brand and grow your business, it can also sink it’s gnarly little teeth into your schedule and devour any free moment so there’s absolutely nothing left.
You know what it’s like to succumb to the social media beast. It’s so darn irresistible that you look up and a good hour (or maybe two) of your life has just disappeared while flipping through photos on Facebook, responding to messages on Twitter or looking for new people to connect with on LinkedIn.
It’s a common struggle that we all face. You want to engage, but how on earth do you do it without getting swallowed alive?
The answer is simple, but hard to execute – you need to focus.
When it comes to your social media engagement, you need to be really intentional with your time so it doesn’t consume your entire day. Although this is easier said than done, here are a few things that I do to help me stay on task when using social media:
Determine what you want to accomplish.
This all comes back to your social media strategy and goals. If you don’t know why you’re using social media, you will be wasting your time.
Make sure you’re clear on your goals and then stick to your plan each time you jump into the social media waters. Develop a checklist or use my
20-minute Twitter plan I shared a couple weeks ago as a guide. Whatever you do, just make sure you have a plan each time you log on.
Set a time limit.
Whether you’re hopping onto Twitter or Facebook for business or fun, it helps to set a time limit so you’re not kicking yourself when your an hour or two has passed you by.
I use a timer so to help me limit my time. For instance, if you just need a quick mental break, give yourself 15 minutes to do that. Or, if you are doing some social research, allot yourself the appropriate amount of time to do that task. Determing exactly how much time you have to spend before you get started will help you keep focused and make the most of your time.
Turn it off notifications (or ignore them).
It’s real easy to get sucked in by social media notifications on our phones and in our email. But, I implore you – try to avoid hopping on to social channels every time you get a ping.
Although you might have grand intentions of simply responding to that ONE message, it’s easy to get sucked into other things. Instead, turn off your desktop or phone notifications while you’re trying to focus on a project.
And, for goodness sakes, don’t leave multiple tabs of your social profiles open while you’re working. Turn them off, so you won’t be tempted to pop over and look at it every five minutes. That way, you can give other projects your FULL attention. Then, when it’s time to get social, you can be fully immersed in that without feeling guilty.
Use social media in chunks.
I try to use social media in small chunks throughout the day – usually, first thing in the morning, around lunch time and then again later in the afternoon or evening. By doing it this way, I tend to get more accomplished with my time instead of dipping in every time I get a message or notification.
This also gives me enough time to engage and respond quickly to replies and messages, but it prevents me from getting sucked in every time I get a notification or message. Although it sounds a bit counter-intuitive, I am far more productive when I limit how often I jump in to social channels.
How do you do it?
These are just a few ways I do it, but I’d love to hear what works for you. Let’s help each other out so we can all avoid the grip of the social media beast.
How do you engage in social media without letting it consume your day? What tips do you have for keeping your social engagement under control?