Saying It Social

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How to Get the Biggest Bang for Your Time Online: A Look at Efficient Ways to Effectively Social Network When You Have Limited Time



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I recently posed the following question to the members of the LinkedIn Group, Social Networking & Social Media Marketing for Franchisees, “If you are not currently implementing a social media marketing program for your business, why not? What obstacles stand in your way?”

I was not at all surprised that the very first answer was simply lack of time. Fortunately, with a little strategic planning and implementation of some very helpful tools, you can accomplish your social networking/social media marketing tasks for the day in a very short amount of time.

Let’s start with the blog post. I am a huge advocate of the business blog. Blogs lend so many benefits to a social media marketing program that they really can’t be overlooked. Creating your blog post for the week is going to be your most time intensive task so it’s understandable if you can’t sit down and crank it out all at one time. It is okay to create your blog post over the course of a couple of days before publishing the final product; just make sure you re-read what you’ve pieced together before you publish!

After you’ve published your blog, you should post it on your Facebook Business Page, tweet it on Twitter, share it on LinkedIn, bookmark it on social bookmarking sites, and post it on document sharing sites. While that sounds like a lot of posting, there are some tools to help you streamline this process.

The Mozilla Firefox browser has an Add-On called, Shareaholic, which helps you share your work across many sites by clicking on the Shareaholic button from your browser’s toolbar, logging into each site, and posting.shareaholic

Another button you can, and should implement into your blog posts is the Share button, also known as the Add This button. When you are posting online it is essential to make it as easy as possible for your readers to share your information with their networks. Therefore, you need to have a Share button either at the top or bottom of each of your posts. You can grab the HTML for the Share button at http://addthis.com. So, after your post is published, go ahead and use the Share button within your post to share it across your other social sites.share button, add this

Now that your blog is done, you still need to find content to share with your networks throughout the rest of the week. Finding content to post can turn into a big “time suck”. But, what if you could have the content delivered to you, instead of having to search it out? Good news. You can. Google has a free product called Google Alerts that will send you emails when the Google web crawlers come across content on the web that contains keywords of your choosing.  It is really important to share value laden information related to your business’ industry with your networks instead of just sharing information about your business’ offerings. One of the goals of your social media marketing program is to be seen as an expert in your industry. By consistently providing great content, your audience will begin to see you as the “go-to” person/company for information related to the products and services that you offer and will be more likely to refer you in the future.

Another great (free) Google product that you can use to have content delivered to you is Google Reader. Google Reader allows you subscribe to RSS feeds across the web. An RSS feed is simply a real-time running list of posts, tweets, blog posts, Facebook links, etc. When I stumble upon posts from an individual or company that  I know I’ll want to read on a continuous basis, I subscribe to their RSS feed in my Google Reader and then I can open Google Reader whenever I’d like and grab relevant information all in one place.

Now that you’ve chosen what you are going to share it’s time to post. But, WAIT! Before you post please READ the content.  You cannot assume what an article is going to say simply based on the title. It sounds like a no-brainer but I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen articles shared by companies that end up bashing their own services or raving about their competitors. If you don’t have time to read the article, hold off on posting until you can.

You should try to post to your networks multiple times throughout the week.  Since the search engines have started crawling and indexing tweets and Facebook posts it is even more beneficial to you to post frequently with content related to your products and services that could help your business show up in the search engine results pages. This does not mean to bombard your audience with self-promoting, keyword stuffed posts. It is important that you learn a little bit about each social site to see what frequency of posting seems acceptable to the users. For example, on Twitter you can post many times throughout the day, however, on Facebook people want quality versus quantity.

To save time, there are sites you can use to post to multiple sites at once. Ping.fm is great for posting to many sites in one fell swoop. Hootsuite is another site that facilitates posting to multiples sites at once and also allows you to schedule future posts.  Socialoomph allows for scheduled posting as well. Using one site to post to multiple sites at once is also a great way for the ADD social marketer to keep from being distracted on the social sites when there is work to be done since you don’t have to visit each site individually to post.

Something else you can do to save time online involves linking your sites together where applicable. For instance you can set up your Facebook Page to automatically update your Twitter status by going to http://facebook.com/twitter. You can add widgets to your blog’s sidebar to display real-time posts from some of your other sites. Sites and services like Friendfeed and Google Buzz among others, also allow you to link to your other sites to automatically stream in real-time posts.

By implementing these tips and strategies you should be able to get some great posting done in 15-20 minutes/day, however, you will also want to block out a lengthier time slot once a week to visit each site where you have a presence to see what your audience is saying. Visit your Facebook page and address any comments/questions; Go to your Twitter account and respond to your @replies and direct messages; Stop by your blog dashboard to check and respond to comments; etc. Remember, social networking is about a two-way conversation. Nothing turns me away from a company more than when I post a question on their Facebook page or blog only to be ignored.

Hopefully you’ve learned some tips here that you can use to help keep up with your social presence. There are only a couple of reasons that I know of that would really keep someone from implementing a social media marketing program; lack of time is not one of them.

What methods have you found save you time online?

May 1, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,

6 Comments »

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