4 ways to beat the social media clock

One concern I continue to hear from folks across the board: How do I manage my social media time and resources?

“I’m already strapped for time. How do I fit this in?”

“How do I manage my accounts over the evening hours and on the weekends?”

“My senior management staff doesn’t have time for this stuff. But, they want us to be involved.”

Time management is a potential huge barrier for organizations looking to dive into social media and digital PR. In fact, with so many companies now adopting the tools, I tend to think it might be one of the top concerns right now.

How do we work around this? What ideas can help us better manage our social media time?

1–Check in just a few times a day. Number one mistake many people make (including me) is keeping Tweetdeck or Facebook on in the background all day long. Why is that a problem? Because you’ll continually feel compelled to check it. It’s human nature. But, it’s certainly not productive. And, not mission critical (despite what many “experts” might tell you). Yes, social media demands more urgent responses, but what matter or issue can’t be responded to or dealt with in four hours. That’s the time frame I’m suggesting. Check your accounts in the morning as you start your day. Over the lunch hour. And in the evening. You’ll be surprised how effective that approach can be–and yet, you’ll feel just as plugged in as if you were online most of the day.

2–Why write when you can use video? One concern I hear from a lot of people: My CEO just doesn’t have time to blog/tweet/post/etc. Fine, I say. Does he have five minutes? Does he have a few spare moments in the day so you can sit down with him/her and capture her thoughts for a post? Or, maybe he/she has 10 minutes on the commute home? Could they call in their post? Think creatively about how you can best use their time in your online efforts. Also, remember events and trade shows are content treasure troves. Take your Flip and interview customers, potential customers, researchers and bloggers about your products or services. An hour of planning and an hour or two of interviews and you’ll have a couple weeks worth of video content.

3–Make an editorial schedule and stick to it. Do you manage a newsletter for your organization? How about the Web site? Intranet? Chances are, if you do, you have an editorial schedule for these media. Why wouldn’t you do the same for Facebook or your blog? A editorial calendar is key to your long-term success. Develop it and stick to it and you’ll find yourself creating a content strategy that will help educate, inform and engage your customers. If you don’t believe me, head over to Kristina Halvorson’s place–she and her team are the real content experts.

4–Develop a rotating staffing schedule. Need to stay on top of your social networks during non-business hours? Develop a rotating staff schedule for monitoring. Many companies do the very same thing on the PR front–isn’t social media just an extension of that work? Why would you treat it any differently? Really, your team will just be monitoring for the most part anyway. If a crisis does break or a post/tweet/etc. needs an immediate response during the evening/weekend hours, you’re most likely going to be called in to work anyway. By rotating the responsibilities, no one person is on the hook every night and weekend. And, it gets the whole team involved with your social media work–instead of isolating the work with one person (good for continuity planning, too).

What tips do you have for managing your social media time?

Note: Photo courtesy of JackDrawsGood via FlickR Creative Commons

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