“I don’t have time for social media!” (Some strategies so you can stop lying to yourself)
A common worry that entrepreneurs have in regards to social media is that it will become a huge time-suck; when you’re starting a business, there are a lot of balls to juggle, and a Twitter feed can definitely be the vortex into which the precious hours of the day disappear.
But managing your online presence is just as important as managing your cash flow and client/customer recruitment and retention. In fact, when social media is built into your marketing plan, it works for you in the pursuit of your goals, not against you – so make the plan and get to work! Note, though, that posting your original content isn’t enough. You need to actively participate in each platform you use (putting the social in social media!) and this is where the OMG-I-don’t-have-time-for-this anxiety starts.
In the same way that people have their own time-management strategies (we won’t judge those who don’t…we won’t judge those who don’t…), there are a few different ways to work the care and feeding of social media into your regular routine.
1) Use it to fill gaps in your day
Take a look at your calendar. See at all those tiny, inconvenient gaps between meetings or in pre-coffee, post-lunch spaces? In these 5, 10, or 15-minute gaps, you can scan your Twitter feed and retweet brand-aligned content, add your two cents to a discussion on Linked In, or share something with your Facebook followers. Cap the time at 25 minutes total, and in a 5-day workweek you’ve added over 2 hours of social media maintenance without it taking over your life. Added bonus: you don’t have enough time to get lost down the rabbit-hole, because you have to get to your next meeting/eat your lunch/watch that webinar posthaste!
2) Use it to book-end your day
That moment when you first get to work and scroll through your emails? Get your social media time in then, instead. (Popular opinion says you shouldn’t be starting your day off with email anyway!) Take time to enjoy your coffee and while sharing an article that inspired you to your various social media accounts, or crafting a few questions to push follower engagement. And those last minutes of your workday when it’s too late to start something new? Spend them replying to any social media messages, Following a new company and subscribing to their RSS feed, or following some of those new, interesting people who’ve started following you. Ten minutes to get your day rolling, ten minutes to wind your day down, and you’ve built in an easy 20 minutes of social media maintenance into your day.
3) Get a savvy social media assistant to push all the right buttons for you
As the Chief, Cook, & Bottle -Washer of your entrepreneurial enterprise, you should be spending time on the things only you can do, and delegating where possible. You might not want to leave the planning of your strategy up to your 20-something niece/neighbour/acquaintance, but if you set up certain parameters and rules, your niece could easily do the Liking and Sharing and retweeting and following and posting on your behalf. We don’t condone unpaid work, but trading something (help with her resume and cover letter, lend her your car… whatever works for the two of you!) is a great way to lighten your workload without adding another expense line to your budget while helping your protégé to build some skills. PLEASE make sure your strategy and expectations are clear beforehand, or you could end up with a PR nightmare.
Note that these little tasks don’t replace the planning of your social media strategy, but the activities you choose to leverage and engage in across your various platforms should always be feeding into your overall targets and goals. Shift your paradigm and see these small activities as networking in cyberspace. By using social media to connect with people, you can avoid the hassle of finding change for the parking meter and enjoy the lack of close-talkers-with-bad-breath.
See? You’ve got more time than you think.