I’m going to start with a confession: I’m impulsive. When I sit down to do my work, I start checking my personal, professional, and client accounts to see what’s going on. You know, since five minutes ago when I looked at my phone. (Yes, I’m one of those people.) I may have the FOMO syndrome, or Fear Of Missing Out. An it’s not limited by age, though it looks different for those of us over 50. For all this self-awareness, I must also confess that I struggle to keep up with my own personal-professional accounts. I manage the client side of things quite well, but my own stuff, not-so-much. To some degree, I’ve gone against a basic tenet for social media and time management : do it well, or don’t do it at all. Neglecting it comes at a cost: if you open accounts but don’t spend the time on social media, your appearance is often worse off if you don’t spend the time to post. If you only tweet every 4 days and about your 15% off coupon or every mention is trying to get someone to visit you restaurant, you won’t have anyone to talk with. You’re just spamming, and you aren’t present enough in the conversation to build a relationship.
“XYZ Organization has a Facebook page, so should we!”
I don’t mean to say that you have to be perfect, or that you can’t make mistakes. But if, as an organization or professional, you start “doing Facebook” and “the Twitter” because everyone else is doing it, it sets a dangerous precedent. It often leads to inconsistent or random posting, which likely is about your products and services, or a sales pitch of some kind. (“That’s what it’s for, right? It’s a communication medium!” Yes. And no. Before you read any further read this, this, and this.) What I do mean to say is that it takes time. Because social media allows you to communicate with your clients -the market-goers- you are constantly in conversation with them. (And they are likely in conversation about you as well, whether you are present or not.) It takes time to build relationships with folks, and doing that online also takes time and attention. As my colleague Tom Liacas has written, we must make the space to listen as well, for it’s not just talking.
If you have a communications, IT, and/or marketing team, you can invite one or all of them into social media time management for your organization. Devoting time to interact with clients is a necessity. The size of your organization, client base or size of target demographic, and the resources and staffing available will dictate how much time you’ll need. I wish I could offer a magic number! Larger organizations can dedicate staff to just social. An acquaintance I met at a party who worked at PNC Bank told me they have several people to handle Twitter alone. (Wow.) Others may have one person who manages several or all accounts based on skills. Good writers can maintain the blog and forum, while others who are thick skinned, quick with wit and empathy can manage the customer service Twitter handle. If you are a smaller organization, or don’t have the resources, plan 30-60 minutes of your day to devote to social media. Plan to respond to clients online directly, initiate with followers or fans on their turf, and offer content that they will find valuable. Tell your story, just don’t be obnoxious about it. Around 20% of your content should be sales/product/service related. Be sure to monitor posts for about 30 minutes after they go live. If people engage with what you offer, you want to be able to respond right away. That doesn’t mean that you have to refresh you timeline every 2 minutes, but use your smartphone notifications, visit the page every 7-10 minutes, etc.
Social media time management can be made easier by monitoring your accounts with a third party platform like Hootsuite. Not only can you listen quite well with this or others, you can also plan ahead and do all your “talking” at the same time. If you find articles, photo’s, etc. while working, you can use these platforms to publish it at an opportune time for you clients. It frees you up from the immediacy of finding-something-right-now-Holy-Jack-I-haven’t-posted-since-last-month “strategy”. You can streamline your strategy and tactics into one source, limiting your time visiting each platform at each post. With that being said, how has your effort looked up until this point? Has it been overwhelming, or have you found your stride?