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!
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.
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.
3. Timebox Your Tweets
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
12. Consistency Is Key
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.
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.
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)