I remember back in 2009 when my only social media site was Twitter. It was easy to grow and maintain that account since it was the only one. Soon after that, I added Facebook. Then @PegFitzpatrick sent me an invitation for Pinterest, which was still in beta at the time. Soon after that, I joined G+ and then came Instagram. There were also other ones tossed in along the way like Quora and Vine.
Pretty soon, it became clear to me that it’s almost impossible to grow and maintain multiple social sites and have a life at the same time. Well, that is, without having a social media strategy in place.
If you are drowning in social media tasks, this post will hopefully help you. I reached out to six people whom I admire in social media, and I asked them how they keep from being overwhelmed with their daily social media tasks.
“One of my biggest tips is SFF = Simple Focused Fun. First, know what you want to accomplish before you begin. Then set a clear amount of time to do it, and most of all, have fun doing it.
Keep it simple, keep it light and have fun. I’ve made my social engagement across three platforms like a mini-vacation during my day [FB, Instagram (my fav), and Twitter].
That’s the time where I check in with friends (or even others who are kind enough to engage with me in my streams) about how their day is going and what’s new and exciting on their journey called Life.
I find through social media engagement, we can enrich and uplift each other’s lives. SFF is simple, it’s focused, and most of all, it’s fun.” ~ Sebastian
“Before you begin posting on social media, create a list of the three things you want people to know you for and stick with those three topics.
You can mix in some fun posts, but stick to your core three topics and you’ll see that finding content to post is easier because you have a focus.
You can create topics in Feedly and add blog RSS feeds that will populate for you, and you can select from them. This helps you to work smart and stay focused on your personal brand.” ~ Peg
“The best way to keep yourself from drowning in all the social media tasks is to schedule your posts in advance.
That way you don’t have to constantly go into your social media accounts to post something only to waste valuable time responding to friends’ posts and reading articles on BuzzFeed.
Scheduling keeps you focused and helps you concentrate on the more important tasks without feeling overwhelmed.” ~ Aaron
“Don’t get caught up in thinking you need to see or be a part of every conversation that’s going on. Use a dashboard that will allow you to see what’s happening on Twitter, then pop over to the native Facebook, LinkedIn and G+ interfaces at least once a day just to see what’s going on.
Catch up on the conversations/shares that interest you, then go away and don’t worry about what you miss. Use alerts that will help you stay on top of your brand mentions (your name, your clients’ names, your competitors’ names, etc.).
Feel confident that what you really need to know will make its way to your inbox instead of you having to go seek it out. We like alerts provided by Mention and Talkwalker, and we also use both Twitter and SocialOomph’s keyword alerts monitoring services.
Conversations happen around you in “real” life all day, everyday and you don’t freak out about what you’ve missed being a part of. Consider social media the same way. Except that with social media, you can always be listening and monitoring in a way you can’t within personal conversations.” ~ Shelly
“Keep a content schedule or calendar for organization and know what your priorities are. Also there are tools that can help you schedule posts so that you can plan accordingly.
Organization, planning, and knowing your priorities will help you from feeling overwhelmed and help you focus on the tasks that need to be done, rather than the ones that can be left for later.” ~ Jason
“Don’t confuse activity with productivity. Manage your day by scheduling a set time(s) and limit for monitoring and engaging your channels – and stick to that schedule!
You don’t have to respond immediately every time you receive a notification. It’s okay! Exercise self-discipline. It’s okay to step away and unplug – even for a few hours. A quick break will recharge you, and help you to focus when you log back in.
It’s your responsibility to take care of YOU and not get burned out.” ~ Grace
As you see, there is a common theme in all these tips. It can be summed up in one word: Plan. With proper planning, you can maintain your social sites like a boss!
In addition to these six tips, I’d like to humbly offer three of my own:
First, carefully select which social media sites you will update regularly. There is no reason to even attempt to be on all of them. For me, I chose Twitter, Facebook, G+ and Instagram. I decided that in order to do it right, I needed to limit myself to four sites. I still log into Pinterest and a few others every now and then to see what’s going on, but not very often.
Second, like Grace said, don’t feel guilty if you aren’t able to respond to everyone’s tweet or if you miss updating one of your sites while you take a break. It’s hard work, and everyone needs some breathing room.
Lastly, there is no need to apologize to your followers/fans for the time when you are unplugged. Once you start apologizing for not responding (and feeling bad about it), it starts being a burden instead of fun. You’ll start to feel burned out. I say this from experience. Nobody sets as high of standards for you as you set for yourself, and that includes social media.
Everybody has their own opinion about how they juggle it all. You have to find what works best for you and your schedule. To me, even after all these years, social media still feels like a cocktail party that we can attend in our pajamas.
Remember not to take social media or yourself too seriously. Let your personality show through, and like Sebastian said, don’t forget to have fun with it!
Drowning Bathtub Image Credit: [Flickr Commons / Lara Cores]