Yvette Pistorio

How to Make Social Media Less of a Time Suck

By: Yvette Pistorio | September 12, 2012 | 

Today’s guest post is written by Yvette Pistorio

Because of the fast pace of social media, we are constantly bombarded with distractions from one social network or another.

You have to participate and engage consistently, Facebook seems to change something on a weekly basis, Google has all of these animal-named announcements, new social networks pop up all the time…it’s exhausting to keep up with everything!

I recently asked on our Facebook page, “If you had only 20 minutes a day to spend on social media, what would you focus on?”

Some of the answers I received…

OK, so not everyone took the question seriously. In any event, 20 minutes a day isn’t much time when you’re  implementing a social media marketing plan. You can easily spend hours, if not days, on social sites!

I’ve been managing online communities for the past few years and I thought I’d share some of my best practices for saving time and being more efficient  with your social media endeavors.

Time Management

  • To avoid wasting time, begin by prioritizing your week. Yes, unexpected issues arise, but start planning for the best AND the worst. Proper planning will lead to improved productivity and efficiency.
  • Determine how much time per day and/or per week you (or your team) will devote to your social media efforts. Having a set amount of time will help you balance time, effort, and results.
  • Give yourself time throughout the day to check on your social networks. For example, maybe you check in around lunchtime and before you leave work, or when you get home from work. Choose a routine that works for you.  Social media is “social” after all, so make sure you’re checking on your social networks and responding to comments and questions.
  • Compose your updates in advance. I know: The dreaded social media automation. Yes I schedule tweets, however I’m also online to respond to any comments, questions, and/or concerns throughout the day. I schedule them to be efficient. I do all of my reading in the morning so if I tweeted everything I wanted to at the start of my day, my followers would be inundated with updates.
  • Identify your top distractions are and eliminate them. Creating a daily schedule can significantly improve your productivity. But keep in mind the best times of day and days of the week for engaging in social media activity.In May, bit.ly examined how the day and time something is posted affects the potential “virality” of the content. I won’t go into the details here, but read the linked article for some interesting data.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for social media so take the time to figure out what works best for you and/or your brand.

Create a Plan…or an Editorial Calendar

  • I LOVE editorial calendars! Why? Because they bridge content and themes to social media and beyond. Plus, they save time and stress, your content makes more sense, and it’s much easier to remain relevant and consistent for your community.
  • Create a repository. The more content you create, the harder it is to track. In that editorial calendar, make a tab of promotions you are running. Now, when you’re looking for a promotion to tweet, you have a collection at your fingertips. (Don’t forget to include an expiration date!) You don’t want to retweet a contest you already chose a winner for or a webinar that has already occurred.

Use the Tools

There are so many free tools to help you avoid the social media time suck. This isn’t an entire list…there are a TON out there. However, the following are all FREE.

Social aggregators and management dashboards allow you to follow and engage with multiple platforms. They pull in tweets, Facebook updates, LinkedIn updates. Some *ahem* Hootsuite *ahem* pull in Google+ updates. You can create searches around keywords you’re targeting and engage with your network.

Social bookmarking tools allow you to organize and store social bookmarks.

Curation tools allow you to gather and automatically share content.

Monitoring tools allow you to keep tabs on your industry. You can choose a targeted keyword, your industry, your competitors’ names, or your own. They tip you off to people talking about your company or your clients on different websites and blogs.

To put it simply: Have a plan, determine how to maximize your efforts, and get it done.

I’d love to hear about other tools you’ve used that help you avoid the Social Media Time Suck.

About Yvette Pistorio

Yvette Pistorio is the shared media manager for Arment Dietrich. She is a lover of pop culture, cupcakes, and HGTV, and enjoys a good laugh. There are a gazillion ways you can find her online.

  • terence.stephens

    What did you have to mention “Star Wars fan forums”?
    Instead of 20 minutes on a productive network, I’ve given the last 2 hours to arguing if Jango or Boba Fett was the better bounty hunter.

    • terence.stephens

      you can see my ability to proof read has been destroyed too….. ok, it never existed.

      • yvettepistorio

         @terence.stephens Hahahaha!!! I just discovered Star Wars has it’s own wookieepedia. Lol!!  http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki

        •  @yvettepistorio  @terence.stephens “Wookiepedia” – love it!!!

        • terence.stephens

           @yvettepistorio temptation to click link very strong…. its like there’s some kind of force drawing me to it.  

        •  @Danny Brown  @yvettepistorio  @terence.stephens I have pissed away so many hours of my life on Wookiepedia that it’s not even funny. I have read them all- seven different styles of lightsaber combat, calendars in the Star War universe, freaky beings from outer galaxies that hate machines, NASCAR like races on dirt planets…you have a question, Wookiepedia has the answer.

        • yvettepistorio

           @bhas  @Danny Brown  @terence.stephens LOL!!!!  I just love that they named it wookiepedia!

    •  @terence.stephens You just made me laugh out loud!

      • terence.stephens

         @ginidietrich To quote you to me on Twitter yesterday “That’s what I like to hear!”

  • Hi there Yvette,
    Thanks for the shout on jugnoome , miss, much appreciated (yes, I know we’re a client, but that doesn’t necessarily merit inclusion). Funnily enough, we’re putting a release through today that adds the Social Teams feature, where you can allocate team members to an organizational account, and define user roles (admin, publisher, reader, etc).
    You’ve also got our Social Hub™, which would fit into your Aggregator niche. Here’s one we did for fun on the Obama campaign:
    And here’s one for Ford:
    There will be two versions of the hub, one for brands and one for consumers. The brands can use as showcases for latest products, sales, promos, etc, and the consumer one will allow a customer to collate their favourite brands and items, thus turning their Hub into an e-commerce store where they will ONLY see the offers they want. 🙂
    And then there’s our Visualyzer…. This will attach to our Monitoring solution and really help you connect the dots between conversations, groups, influencers and advocates. Here’s a search for the iPhone event today. Fun times! 😉

    •  @Danny Brown  You should do one on me. I’ll bet it’d be really pretty!

      •  @ginidietrich I misread this comment originally. 😉

      • yvettepistorio

         @ginidietrich  @Danny Brown Oh, that’s really cool! I love the Visualyzer…fun times indeed!

    •  @Danny Brown  jugnoome That Ford thing of yours made me really, really miss my ’85 Mustang GT convertible. Now I won’t get any work done…

      •  @barrettrossie  jugnoome Haha, sorry Barrett – damn sweet ride, mate. 🙂

  • Jugnoo monitors? Sweet! 🙂  Really looking forward to trying it out. 

  • DannyBrown

    @dianakokai Gosh indeed, Diana – there might even be a cool article there to read… 😉

    • dianakokai

      @DannyBrown oops! My tone didn’t come across well! article a good read with practical advice & I appreciate tips on how to cut time Thxs 🙂

      • DannyBrown

        @dianakokai Haha, no worries, miss, I was being a wee bit tongue-in-cheek myself . 🙂

        • dianakokai

          @DannyBrown phew! just goes to show how sometimes tone & sentiment cannot come across as intended! I’ll read yr other comments tmrw. 🙂

        • DannyBrown

          @dianakokai Agreed. Social and email is great but still misses human emotion and intent, even with smiley faces. 🙂

  • GnosisArts

    Here’s a free tool we created. Monitor Twitter keywords, phrases, and hashtags by text message. Would love for your readers to try it: http://gnosisarts.com/home/Social_Media_PREric BryantGnosis Media Group

  • GnosisArts

    Here’s a free tool we created. Monitor Twitter keywords, phrases, and hashtags by text message. Would love for your readers to try it: http://gnosisarts.com/home/Social_Media_PR Eric Bryant  Gnosis Media Group

  • magriebler

    Reading this post was NOT a time suck! Thank you for a great list (and a good kick in the pants too).

    • yvettepistorio

       @magriebler Lol, thank you 🙂 Sometimes we just need a little reminder…myself included. That’s exactly why I wrote this up!!

  • mrbusinessgolf

    Good info here, but the outline used to managing a person’s time in the social space is  going to develop some very boring content.  The only way I have found to make my time in the social space worth the time is to not limit how much time I will spend and spend the time that is needed to communicate with everyone who responds…PERIOD.  Cutting it short will result in bad word of mouth press..so the message is…if you don’t have the time to effectively executive your online marketing campaign..hire someone who can.

  • eveypistorio

    @tbartlett21 Thanks Todd 🙂

  • CameronHerold

    @ginidietrich hey Gini some good talks here for your tribe Top 12 TED Talks for Entrepreneurs http://t.co/lqeD4MK9 (New list today)

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  • Thank you for taking the time to make me think.
    I always say that social media is mostly full of people trying to be clowns.
    If not watched we can get sucked into that vortex.
    It’s important to find meaningful conversations and add value to them
    This provides value to the end user (reader) and positions you as an expert on some level.
    I know if people who spend so many hours per day at Facebook or Twitter that they literally spend more time their then home.

    • yvettepistorio

       @Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2 Me an expert??? Naaaaahhhhh!!! It’s so easy to get sucked in, but I think time management is really important. If I don’t have a list of things I need to accomplish or if I don’t schedule out my day, I find myself getting sucked into social media! 

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  • GrizzardComm

    Great tips here … RT @Tinu How to Make Social Media Less of a Time Suck http://t.co/AxpmEpkZ via @ginidietrich

  • belllindsay

    Great post Yvette. I don’t care where one is in their career, there are times when planning, scheduling and structure goes out the window, and it’s hard to get back into the great habits you’ve listed above. I’m bookmarking this one! 😀 

    • yvettepistorio

       @belllindsay Thanks Lindsay! Oh I completely agree!! Sometimes we just need a little nudge to get back on track. Plus,  don’t think my boss would be too happy if I spent the whole day managing our social networks 😉

      • belllindsay

         @yvettepistorio Ha! Good point! 

  • Only catch Yvette.. all of this takes a hella lotta time. 😉 I’m starting to look at tools but the Catch 22 for is always: The Filter. Whether it’s for myself or a program for a client, being smart about social means a better signal-to-noise ratio. Less is more, and someone has to decide what is and what isn’t good value, good content. The tools can help me ‘listen’ and organize, and boy do I schedule in advance.. but they can’t read for me, can’t really engage for me (I’m an old fart, even my ‘thanks for the RTs’ are custom written), can’t write for me.
    It’s wandering in the wilderness, aimlessly jumping from one to the next – that’s where the suck gets you. (Damn YouTube and forums and of course,  @terence.stephens Boba was a better bounty hunter, he was in better movies!)  Maximizing efforts – think that’s where the rubber meets the road and yes, it all comes down to having clear goals, setting limits and a smart plan. FWIW.

    • yvettepistorio

       @3HatsComm  @terence.stephens It does take time, but for me, it’s just about managing the time I allow myself to have on social networks. You really have to just focus on a few social networks rather than trying to get your nose in everything. If you try and be everywhere, you’re right, you’re just wandering in the wilderness! I focus on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ during the week and Pinterest and Facebook on the weekends. There are plenty of networks I’m not on but I don’t have time for them and I’m OK with that 🙂

  • SpinSucks

    @CookerlyPR Thank you so much 🙂

  • eveypistorio

    @CookerlyPR Thank you so much 🙂

  • evolutionfiles

    @sil_95 Thanks Elke. Hope your week has been goin great.

    • sil_95

      @evolutionfiles It has indeed, thank you. Have a great #FollowFriday and a lovely weekend! 🙂

  • I use bufferapp a lot for scheduling tweeets and LinkedIn updates. Before bufferapp I was either spamming my timeline at the rate of one tweet every minute, or had to spend way more time at different hours of the day to tweet out links.
    Now, after reading something that I think is good I just schedule it in buffer, and in due course it gets tweeted or updated as a LinkedIn status (occasionally I will do Facebook, but I don’t want to talk about business related stuff on Facebook.)
    Now, if they could incorporate Google+, and Facebook pages into their browser extensions I would be one happy camper

    • yvettepistorio

       @bhas  bufferapp I need to try Buffer. @Lisa Gerber uses it too so now I’m just going to have to try it out next week. Before I discovered tools, I was spending a lot more time looking for content to share. I read everything in the a.m. and would share it all at once, then in the afternoon, I’d have to do it all over again. But now, i just spread out my shares and keep an eye on everything so I can engage 🙂

      • @yvettepistorio  @bhas  bufferapp  @Lisa Gerber You do know Jugnoo has BufferApp integrated within our dashboard? 😉

    • @bhas  bufferapp I agree – add Google + and Facebook pages and I wouldn’t need sproutsocial, tweetdeck or hootsuite.

      • @patrickwagner  @bhas  bufferapp Hi Patrick,
        Unfortunately Google is very anal about G+ access to third party apps, although it’s something we’re continuing to work on at jugnoome . We do have Facebook Pages as well as LinkedIn and the other major networks. Throw in Social Monitoring, Social Teams, sentiment, social dashboard, analytics, and some very cool visualization tools, and I think you’d find us pretty competitive at $20 per month. 🙂

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  • keewood

    @brasonja thanks for the RT!

    • brasonja

      @keewood You’re welcome Kevin. My weekend is over, batteries are full and ready for a new week. Good luck by moving! 🙂

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  • mlaffs

    @secretsushi i love @ginidietrich haha

    • secretsushi

      @mlaffs hey there. Any update from the weekend?

      • mlaffs

        @secretsushi lots of good inspiration, a little homework accomplished, and lots of extra things added to the to-do list for this week 🙂

    • ginidietrich

      @mlaffs I love you back!

      • mlaffs

        @ginidietrich wow our mutual admiration society is reaching new levels of intensity hahaha

        • ginidietrich

          @mlaffs LOL!

  • ginidietrich

    @secretsushi I hear you’re doing some fun Google Hangouts with @allenmireles

    • secretsushi

      @ginidietrich Yes. On to our third this Friday. Cc: @allenmireles That’s in addition to the weekly live stream recording of @solomoshow also

      • ginidietrich

        @secretsushi Jeez…no rest for the weary!

  • LiberMedia

    @jakolien you say that as of social media is a chore and a bore…?

    • jakolien

      @LiberMedia Not for me but it CAN be if you do not know how to incorporate it as a marketing tool instead of a timesuck ツ

  • PublicityGuru

    How to Make Social Media Less of a Time Suck http://t.co/fvmgdAyw ( RT @Steveology )

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