How Do Leaders Make Time for Social Media?

Social Media Monopoly

You read every day about the importance of getting involved with Social Media – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogging…the list can seem endless.

If you haven’t already jumped on the bandwagon, you may be thinking this:

“Who has time for that, with everything else I’m juggling at work?”

It would be easy for an already-swamped leader to feel overwhelmed and avoid it altogether. After all, many people waste precious hours on these websites every day, with nothing to show for it.

In my journey to figure out how to incorporate social media into my work day, I’ve adopted some time-saving strategies that result in a positive ROI for my time and effort.

Be Selective

Thumbs Up Thumbs DownDecide what kinds of information you want to share and who you want to reach. That sounds like Marketing 101, right? But when you’re clear about your message and your audience, you’ll have clarity about where to invest your time and effort.

For example, the topic of leadership is key in my business, so I read and comment on leadership blogs, I join leadership-focused groups on LinkedIn, and I follow people on Twitter who use the hashtag #leadership in their tweets.

Be Disciplined

The way to waste minutes or even hours is to constantly check various sites throughout the day. I schedule time first thing in the morning, around lunch, and at the end of the work day to respond to messages.

Knowing up-front what I want to carry out during that time helps me stay focused.

Deliver value, Not Promotion

People who friend or follow you are looking for content that can help them, so they’re turned off by blatant promotions and ads. When you post links to informative blog posts and videos you’ve created, you place yourself as an authority on the topic and as a contributor to the greater community.

Collaborate

Find Ways to Recognize Others

Everyone likes to be acknowledged and appreciated, so when they share something you’ve posted or make a comment on your blog, take time to thank them. In addition to being a demonstration of common courtesy, a basic leadership principle is at work here:

“What gets rewarded gets repeated.”

Taking time to say “thank you” increases the likelihood that someone will share more of your material in the future. On Twitter I’ve been surprised how many people re-tweet a thank-you message that I’ve sent them.

Share Valuable Content From Others

Just as you want to get exposure for your content, thousands of others are involved with Social Media to achieve that same goal. Whenever you read a post or message that has value for you, take time to share it with the members of your community. The people you promote will appreciate your effort and be more likely to reciprocate.

Automate

Automate TwitterThis is my biggest secret for generating the number of messages I put out each day. I could not contribute what I do on these sites if it were not for automation tools like HootSuite and Tweet Adder.

With HootSuite, you can post a message to multiple sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn at the same time, and you can organize people into groups for easy viewing. Some of my groups include Leadership, Personal Development, Coaches/Consultants, and Business Leaders.

Tweet Adder automates several functions, such as finding people to follow according to criteria you specify (e.g., followers of a specific person or people who include a hashtag like #leadership in their tweets) and scheduling multiple tweets for an entire day or week.

There are many other free or low-cost tools you can use to minimize the number of tasks you need to do manually.

Delegate

I have someone on my staff use Tweet Adder to schedule the quotes and blog posts I select for the week. If you don’t have someone who can assist you like this, there are many virtual assistants who specialize in Social Media to help you. It’s important to consider the best use of your time.

A word of caution:

If you delegate thank-you’s and other interactions with people in your community, you risk losing your “voice.” I’ve read blog posts and received messages that I recognized were not written by the specific individuals (because I know their writing style), and these come across as unauthentic.

Besides, it’s impossible to form relationships with people second-hand.

The Bottom Line

You can form valuable professional and personal relationships using Social Media. There are examples every day of people finding jobs, getting introductions and landing contracts due to connections made on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

You can create a community of fans who happily promote you and your business when you discover how to be a meaningful contributor without taking up your entire work day.

What strategies do you use to make the best use of Social Media? Are there tools that help you automate and leverage your time? Which Social Media sites do you participate in most…and why? What are some of the positive benefits you’ve experienced as a result?

——————–
Meredith Bell is President of Performance Support Systems, Inc.
She has online virtual coaching for developing personal strengths & people skills

Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Online Coach

Image Sources: static.funnyjunk.com, financialpost.com, static.rbi.com.au

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18 Responses

  1. Hi Meredith,

    I loved the tip on Hootsuite. Thanks – I’ll use it.

    LaRae

    • Great, LaRae! HootSuite saves me a lot of time every day!

  2. Meredith, Just wanted to give a thumbs up on this very important post. Time is what holds many entrepreneurs back from the substantial benefits of social media marketing and you’ve given everyone some great food for thought! Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks for the positive feedback and encouragement, Jim. Time really is the issue, and determining where to carve out minutes each day is the key.

  3. Agree with Jim. Nice post. Never-the-less, you can (and should) delegate some of your social media marketing, especially at the corporate level. I know both Jim and I offer services where we do marketing posts for others, and this can really help the hassle-factor. thanks for sharing your tips.

    • Definitely agree with you about delegating certain tasks, Greg. The ones I personally don’t want to delegate are responses to people who’ve shared tweets or posts, or who contact me. I want my voice to be the one they hear.

  4. Good post, Meredith, that touches on the main reasons to enter the social media landscape. Many leaders are fearful that their teams will lose sight of all other projects if they dabble too long in social media, or leaders just don’t understand how social media fits with all other marketing initiatives. Bottom line, leaders need to adopt the philosophies that social media is not a one-size-fits-all strategy nor is it an ENTIRE marketing strategy. When executed as part of a comprehensive marketing plan, social media can be a successful strategy that builds a brand, increases the amount and value of customer conversations, and leads to increased sales.

    • Well said, Debbie. Social Media needs to be a component of an overall strategy, and when done well, accomplishes the three goal you outline. Thanks for your important insights.

  5. I agree with you wholeheartedly! I LOVE social media and interact on LinkedIN, Twitter and Facebook personally. I also cross post to Plaxo and other places. Those three are good for my biz and my writing, as well as my soul. I started with a 15 minute “diet” (see http://www.otheresteem.org/blog/?p=440) and now check in a few times a day as breaks from other work, or if I am busy, early morn and just before checking out. Thanks for a great post on an important subject. ;)

  6. Monica, your enthusiasm for Social Media is contagious and I like your earlier blog post about how you went from dipping your toe in the water to jumping in with both feet. I forgot to mention in my post that I cross-post to Plaxo also from Twitter, so thanks for bringing that up. It’s a one-time set up so that also saves time!

  7. I love the post Meredith. You obviously “get it.”

    If there’s one thing I’d add it would be patience. Social media is all about building trusting relationships not about creating a monologue. Rush the process at your peril. Trust takes a long time to build, but can be lost in the blink of an eye. Thanks again for a wonderful post. It’s clear why you’re so successful :-)

    • Frank, you bring up a really key point about PATIENCE, especially in this world of expectations for everything “instant.” In fact, your response contains critical guidelines that are inviolable truths for using social media. Thank YOU for your comments, and I appreciate your positive feedback, too.

  8. [...] How Do Leaders Make Time for Social Media?: Let’s face it – you can be the passenger or the driver with your online identity.  Use of social media is one aspect leaders have in their toolkit.  Meredith Bell provides some very practical advice on how to weave the use of social media into your busy schedule. [...]

  9. This article has really helped me, thanks. I do try to schedule time to use social media but sometimes I find it just a necessary evil so it often gets put to the bottom of my ‘to do’ list! This will now change.

    • Anne, glad you found the post useful. Blocking time for social media and making sure I consider it a priority is a way I hold myself accountable.

  10. Meredith,

    I think this is a great post for leaders. A lot of it focuses around leaders using social media to send their messages out. I think it’s equally important to use social media to receive messages. However, with the glut of information out there on social media channels, this can be overwhelming. This is an issue I often discuss on The Polylogue (http://thepolylogue.com), my site dedicated to social media and leadership development. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to do this effectively.

    Seth Resler
    Founder
    The Polylogue

  11. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly donate to this superb blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and
    adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward
    to new updates and will talk about this blog with
    my Facebook group. Talk soon!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Nikole! I appreciate your positive feedback and action.

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