The question I get most often from my new social media marketing clients is: are there strategies I can use to reap the benefits of social media without spending all day online? This seems to be a constant theme for everyone new to this form of marketing, so here are 7 tips and tools I use to streamline the process.
Tip #1 Plan your time – It’s very easy to start on Twitter, for example, and then click a link to watch something, only to end up 2 hours later wondering what you’ve been up to. Plan a specific amount of time to be online and set a timer and then stop within 5 minutes of the bell.
Tip #2 Get organized – This may seem like a no-brainer, but I’m amazed at how many people search their computers for the URLs they use all the time. Set up a folder in your favorites with all your social networking sites so they are in one place. Put them in their order of importance. I also have an Excel spreadsheet on my desk with all the URLs, usernames, and passwords so I can quickly find what I need to log in to. I can then use the Windows/D keyboard shortcut to go to my desktop and copy and paste the information if I don’t remember it.
Tip #3 Get a separate email account for social media notifications so you don’t overwhelm your business email. If you’re doing what you’re supposed to, there will be a lot of email notifications filling up your mailbox and it can be overwhelming. It’s also all too tempting to get off track when you should be doing something else.
Tip #4 Have everything you need in a place to join a new site. I have a folder on my desktop that has everything I need to copy and paste when I join a new forum or social networking site. I have my bio pre-written in three forms of different lengths, 140 characters, 100 words, and 250 words. I also have my profile picture and I have the HTML for my social media buttons that can be added to some Ning sites. I have the direct URLs of all my sites in a Word document. also.
Tip #5 Use a desktop app for Twitter – There are several good ones that allow you to complete all your tasks without having to leave the interface. I use TweetDeck and love it because it allows me to set up separate columns for DMs, @replies, search terms, or certain people I like to keep up with. I can check people’s profiles, follow or unfollow, send direct messages, shorten URLs, and even post the tweet to Facebook, all from one place. Some of the other options are Twirl, Seismic, PeopleBrowsr and many more. Just ask on Twitter and you’ll get plenty of recommendations.
Tip #6 Use Tweetlater to schedule certain Tweets that you want to repeat. You can also add an automatic follow up message to send to new followers. You can even use it to automatically follow people, but I prefer to at least check people’s photo and short bio before following them. Once a day I use Tweepler to have my new followers in a feed with a photo, their bio, and even a button to click that takes me to their site if I want to know more about them.
Tip #7 Reuse your information – Content is what drives social media and at first it can seem like a daunting task to keep powering all of your sites. Chances are, you have a lot more content than you think in your computer files. Find them and make some adjustments to use them as blog posts or articles. You can also present the same information using different media because different people learn in different ways. This article will also be a video so it can reach other people who haven’t visited my website yet.