There is no one-size-fits-all way to leverage social media. So today, I want to look at three different ways you can build your brand online, depending on how much time and energy you have on a given day. The goal is to engage with social media without being swallowed by it.
- Mild Pruning (15 Minutes a Day)
You are swamped today, you have tons of things to do for work, for your family, for yourself. How do you keep ‘in the loop’ on social media – see and be seen, when your head and body are in 40 other placesThe bottom line is, you are going to have to let some things go when it comes to social media. So let’s focus on the most critical elements.Likely, you won’t have time today to share some incredible thought on Twitter. If you do, that’s awesome. But if not, then you goal should be to find one thing – JUST ONE – that someone you know shared that you think is outstanding.
Now, be careful to not just go for the biggest story. If you are Tweeting about someone finding the new iPhone in a bar, you have to realize you are the billionth person Tweeting about that.
Look for the piece of insight that is unique, helpful and intriguing. Something that wouldn’t normally hit everyone else’s radar.
This is how you are helping ADD to the conversation, not just be another wall in the echo chamber.
So how do you find this one incredible item with just 15 minutes in your day. I’ll give you two ideas.
First: use a program like Tweetdeck, and create a ‘high priority’ list of people you follow. Just 10-20 people who are a bit off the radar or are incredible thinkers and sharers. The connectors of the world. If you have this column, their Tweets will be easy to follow.
If you don’t have that kind of setup, then it’s just a matter of scanning Twitter with purpose. I follow 500+ people, and sometimes I have those days: zero time, but I still want to be present, and still want to share something cool.
So this part is all about self-discipline. Scanning the people you follow on Twitter quickly, without getting distracted by anything but that one nugget of gold. Sometimes I will go through Twitter, and copy and paste multiple ‘potential’ ReTweets into a text file, and then decide which one is most valuable and unique only once I have found several candidates. This may sound silly, but sometimes I ReTweet too quickly, and realize that many many others have already Tweeted about the same story already. What this means is that the unique value of my Tweet would be diminished unless I chose something VERY helpful, but a bit off the radar.
- Mid-Level Landscaping (1 Hour a Day)
Perhaps you have a busy day, with a few meetings at work, a deadline coming up in three days, and the usual lot of email. But you know you will have little breaks throughout the day, enough time and space in your head to actively engage in social media – how do you do it most effectively?They key is to have specific goals and then chunk those goals into segmented blocks throughout your day.
Some goals might be: monitor mentions of your company on social media; identify 5 new people who are interested in your field; create status updates yourself; push forward relationships via @replies, comments on blogs and forum updates; etc.
For each of these, set priorities and a specific focus. If you know you can spend a single hour of time on social media today, create a schedule, perhaps something like this:
30 minutes: 10am-10:30am to check status updates from all of your connections across social networks and send out one update on each yourself.
15 minutes: 1:15pm-1:30pm to check status updates again and reply to people via @replies, comments, etc.
15 minutes: 4:15pm-4:30pm to give one last check in on status updates and replies.
In this example, we made a few choices. First, we are only focusing on business hours, which tends to be the time that many social networks are most active. Second, we created clear but simple goals and spread them out. It’s a mistake to think you can just write a blog post and share it in 30 minutes. Maybe you can, but you know what, maybe you can’t. Third, we combined listening & sharing, the two most important ways to use social media.
This was a pretty simple example, but this structure really works wonders, and takes the pressure off of ‘keeping up with social media’ when you have a pretty full day with other priorities.
The overall goal here is to: Be present on social media, but also be present in the rest of your life as well.
- Full-On Gardening (2 Hours a Day)
Whether it’s because you have a chunk of free time, or because you have a need to aggressively ‘be there’ in social media, you need to attack the day, ensuring that you connect and create as much as possible online. You are on a mission, you need to grow.Inherently, this is about LISTENING, and there are so many ways to do this. From reading Tweets of those you follow, to leveraging Twitter search, reading blogs, asking & answering questions on LinkedIn and uploading photos to Facebook. And heck, that could just be for starters.
The danger here is that you can get lost in social media, and get to the end of your week having created nothing.
Being active on social media can sometimes be akin to running on a treadmill and not getting anywhere.
So you need to start the day with goals that are meaningful and measurable. For this step I will simply recommend the advice I shared yesterday:
Overall, regardless of the time you have available, the goal is to engage, create and help. Whether you can focus on 1 great interaction per day, or 20, make sure that you are creating unique value for yourself and your community.