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Ask the Entrepreneurs: 13 Ways to Make Sense of Your Social Media Feeds Each Day

Ask the Entrepreneurs: 13 Ways to Make Sense of Your Social Media Feeds Each Day


    Ask The Entrepreneurs
    is a regular series where members of those involved in the Young Entrepreneur Council are asked a single question that aims to help Lifehack readers level up their own lives, whether in a area of management, communication, business or life in general.

    Here’s the question posed in this edition of Ask The Entrepreneurs:

    How do you, as a busy entrepreneur, find the time each day to keep up with social media?

    1. Newsflash: I’m Engaged!

    Laura Roeder

      Writing 140-character tweets or replying to a Facebook comment takes minutes — entrepreneurs waste hours on social media when they’re reading, not engaging. Twitter and Facebook were designed to suck you in to click on photo albums, read blog posts, and watch videos, but none of these activities grow your business! Make sure you’re spending your time engaging with, not consuming, social media.

      Laura Roeder, LKR

      2. Take It Personally

        When I’m pressed for time I look for more tasks that I can give to my virtual team that free up space to connect on social media. It’s not about “keeping up” with every post and link but really listening to, sharing with the community to build relationships. That’s not something that can be outsourced, so I’ll hand off other tasks to find the time.

        Kelly AzevedoShe’s Got Systems

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        3. Timebox Your Tweets

        Lea Woodward

          Interacting on social media in batches of time helps timebox it and keeps you focused. During that time, using web tools enables you to schedule useful resources to share, and also allows you to space out your interactions and responses so you’re not interacting in one overwhelming stream of activity during that period.

          Lea Woodward, Startup Training School

          4. Check Your Pulse Daily

            Set up time daily to share original content and other articles through news aggregates such as Pulse. Review what your followers are saying so you can connect and look for ways to be of service more effectively.

            Michael BrunyAmbassador Bruny.Com


            5. No Smartphone Necessary

              I connect Twitter to my cell phone — I get text notifications when someone mentions me, and sending a Tweet as a text message is much easier then doing it from the computer or even a phone app. Sending the Tweet via text message is as simple as sending a text to anyone else. It flows easier into my day this way, since I don’t get distracted by my feed.

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              Raoul Davis, Ascendant Group

              6. Stick to Your Discipline

                It can be easy to get swept up in social media and, as a result, work less efficiently. Instead of always being on, put aside a couple hours each day to answer emails, tweet things out, respond to @replies, etc. The rest of the time? Close those tabs! You don’t want the temptation. Believe me.

                Steph AuteriWord Nerd Pro


                7. It’s Just Another Part of Communication

                  I need to send out emails, return phone calls and even stick a letter in the mail today. I keep track of all of those things on one list and I keep social media tasks on the same list. Twitter and all the rest are just additional communication tools, and I treat them as such.

                  Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting


                  8. Set a Social Media Schedule

                    When using social networks, it’s important to set aside time to keep active and be consistent in your posting. Make sure you can use them live in real-time too. Occasionally, some accounts schedule their updates to go out later through TweetDeck on a specific date or time.

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                    Lane Sutton, Social Media from a Teen


                    9. Can’t Beat Buffer

                      Personal and business branding require maintaining active social media profiles, but it is tough to find the time for posting new content as a busy entrepreneur in this 24/7 news cycle. I am indebted to Buffer App; it’s the tool that helps me maintain an active Twitter presence without the headache of babysitting my feed. Use the bookmarklet to add updates to a queue, and let Buffer do the rest!

                      Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

                      10. Let’s Hear It for HootSuite!

                        I use HootSuite to manage all of my networks easily and schedule updates. In just a few clicks, I can send messages across all of my networks, which saves me tons of time.

                        Ben Lang, EpicLaunch



                        11. Integrate, Don’t Interrupt

                          I see social media not as an interruption or something to be scheduled throughout my day, but rather as part of my everyday activities. My setup in the TalentEgg office has a full computer screen devoted to HootSuite so that I can casually stay up-to-date with what’s happening throughout the company’s social media channels.

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                          Lauren Friese, TalentEgg Inc.

                          12. Consistency Is Key

                          Nick Friedman

                            It’s best to delegate that job if possible, so you can be consistent with your postings. If delegation isn’t an option, set aside 10-15 minutes each day (broken up into two or three separate, 5-minute periods) where you focus on posting, tweeting, and responding to social media.

                            Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk


                            13. Download Those Mobile Apps

                            John Hall

                              Make it as easy as you possibly can. This means make sure that you have all of the mobile apps. Have these apps be the first ones you see when you touch your phone. Most people look at their phone quite frequently when they have down time. The more you are reminded to post, the more time you will make.

                              John Hall, Digital Talent Agents

                              How do you make sense of your social media feeds each day? Let us know in the comments below!

                              (Photo credit: Social Media Button on a Keyboard via Shutterstock)

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                                Last Updated on October 22, 2020

                                8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                                8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                                How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

                                Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

                                When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

                                Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

                                What Makes People Poor Listeners?

                                Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

                                1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

                                Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

                                Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

                                It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

                                2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

                                This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

                                Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

                                3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

                                It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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                                I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

                                If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

                                4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

                                While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

                                To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

                                My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

                                Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

                                Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

                                How To Be a Better Listener

                                For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

                                1. Pay Attention

                                A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

                                According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

                                As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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                                I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

                                2. Use Positive Body Language

                                You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

                                A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

                                People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

                                But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

                                According to Alan Gurney,[2]

                                “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

                                Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

                                3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

                                I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

                                Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

                                Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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                                Be polite and wait your turn!

                                4. Ask Questions

                                Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

                                5. Just Listen

                                This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

                                I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

                                I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

                                6. Remember and Follow Up

                                Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

                                For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

                                According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

                                It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

                                7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

                                If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

                                Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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                                Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

                                Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

                                NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

                                1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
                                2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

                                8. Maintain Eye Contact

                                When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

                                Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

                                By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

                                Final Thoughts

                                Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

                                You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

                                And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

                                More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

                                Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
                                [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
                                [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
                                [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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