Facebook. Twitter. MySpace. Plurk. Identi.ca? With so many social media tools and networks out there, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed. How do you choose which to use? How do you keep up with them all? How much time will it take out of your already busy life?
Through trial and error, I’ve developed a daily routine to keep up with the various social media accounts I use. When I was working full-time outside the home, I had to really use my time wisely since I could not be engaged in social medial all day, but still wanted to maintain a social media presence. As you know, it’s not enough to just have an account, you have to actually use it and be “present” for your social media efforts to work.
Let me share a sample schedule of how I used social media when I was working full-time. In the mornings, I had the benefit of an empty home after my husband left for work and dropped off my daughter at day-care. Since I started work a little later than him, this meant that I had about an hour each morning to do my social media/blog work before I had to get myself ready. In this hour, I created the following social media routine and would do most (and sometimes all) of the following.
Sample Social Media Routine
- Open up my browser and open a tab for each of these sites: ping.fm, myspace, facebook, plurk, twitter, gmail, google reader, and delicious. As I completed my tasks for each site, I would close the tab and move on to the next.
- Post a status update using ping.fm.
- MySpace: Even then, MySpace was slowly being phased out of my social media routine, but since I (still) have some real-life friends and family that use it, I would check in every morning. It was a very quick check of messages, comments, and friends’ status updates.
- Facebook: I would login and respond to any comments or messages sent to me. I would post a “Happy Birthday!” message for those with birthdays that day and possibly leave a comment or two on others’ profiles. If I had something to promote – a contest or my latest post – I would do so via my fan page and/or group. Of course, I’d also take care of any requests that were waiting for action – friend requests, even invites, page suggestions, etc.
- Plurk: Though not a common microblogging platform, it’s one I was exploring at the time and continue to participate in since I’ve made some connections that are not elsewhere. Again, I would quickly check in on any replies to my updates and try to comment on one or two people’s updates.
- Twitter: Similar to the rest, I would login to Twitter and be sure to respond to any @ replies or DMs I received overnight. I would also review new followers and follow-back appropriately (or not). I would then leave this tab open since I would often interact with various other folks that were up early like me.
- E-mail: I use gmail for my e-mail, which has the ability to star items you need to come back to and label your messages for finding later. Simple Mom has a nice system she uses for managing her inbox that I try to follow. I would definitely take about 10 minutes each morning to check urgent items and clear out the “junk” so that it didn’t clutter up my inbox.
- Google Reader: I didn’t always have time to get to reading some blog posts – it just depended on how much time I spent on the other tabs. But, some days, I’d be able to read a few posts from those blogs you “must” read each day.
- Delicious: Since I have the delicious plugin installed on Firefox, I’d only need to open this up if I saw there was new activity in my network or if anyone had sent me a link. But, in browsing resources bookmarked by those in my network, I’d often find a great article or tip or even a blog post idea.
Each morning I’d go through my routine and get a great head start on my day – social media wise, anyway. Then, during the day while I was at work, I would monitor twitter, facebook, and e-mail using my smart phone. Of course, I wasn’t always on it. But if I took a quick break from my desk and especially during lunch time, I’d be able to update my status (again using ping.fm) and check in on comments.
In the evenings, after dinner and the nightly bed-time/bath routine for baby girl, I’d take another hour (sometimes two depending on how busy the husband was) to go through the same routine. However, I would focus less on checking comments/messages and more so on clearing out e-mail and writing a blog post.
Wondering what I do now that I’m not working full-time? The same. Though I don’t always have the house to myself in the mornings anymore, I still take a half-hour to an hour each morning and use the same social media routine. The days that baby girl goes to preschool, I do this routine after I’ve dropped her off. The days she’s home with me, I use the time when she’s eating breakfast and watching her morning cartoons. If I’m lucky and she’s overslept, I go through my routine before she wakes up.
Through the rest of the day, I periodically check in on social media and e-mail. As I mentioned in a previous post, I tend to login again mid-day and in the evening. I try to follow my social media routine each time, but depending on other projects/tasks I have to get done, I may cut my routine in half during those times.
Seem like a lot to-do? Keep in mind that you don’t have to have accounts for all the sites that I do. You will find those that serve your needs the best. Truthfully, though, once you get into a routine, it will become habit and not be so overwhelming.
- Always answer @ replies, DMs, comments, etc. for the various networks you belong to. It’s so frustrating when you’re trying to talk to someone and they ignore you, isn’t it? Don’t ignore.
- Catch what you can while logged on. You won’t be able to read every single status update for every single network you belong to.
- Retweet interesting statuses, share good information, and useful links/resources. Your readers will appreciate it and will come to know that you have valuable information.
Have you already created your social media routine?