find the time for social mediaHow do you find the time for social media? This is the question I get asked probably more than any other.

I have four lovely children, a demanding job, a wife with a successful career and more. So how do I find the time to tweet, blog, share, and comment?

The answer is simple: I make the time for social media because I think it’s important.

I believe that business people in general, and marketers especially, have an obligation to do more than just consume content or share other people’s content but to become a content creator and to contribute to your work and your life.

Now I am not trying to guilt anyone into this. I realize there are a lot of reasons why people don’t spend the time on social media even though they know they should.

There are also plenty of reasons why people don’t work out, quit smoking or stop eating too much. You know, reasons like: I’m too busy with more important stuff, I don’t know what to say, I don’t understand the tools, I don’t see the value, and my favorite excuse: social media is for kids.

In order to find the time for social media, you need to see why it’s important, how it will change your life, how it will improve your business.

And you need to understand what steps to take to be successful. I call this the Social Business Imperative. I do not think it’s a choice when you accept that we live in a social world and that only the social business will win.

So if you don’t think you have time for social media, let’s find some for you. First you have to consider: How do you spend your day?

According to The Atlantic, we spend more than a quarter (28%) of our day answering email!

According to this infographic, the average worker spends 19% of their time in meetings. And they consider half of those meetings a complete waste of time. The average worker also reported spending another 25% of their day dealing with meaningless distractions.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the problem is even worse for executives, with as much as 33% of their day spent in meetings.

Wow. So when my kids ask me what I do all day at work, maybe I should answer “I do email, sit on conference calls and listen to my colleagues talk about TV shows.” (Disclosure: these examples are purely fictitious. Any similarity to real persons living or dead is purely coincidental.)

So finding the time for social media is simply about making it a priority over emails that aren’t important, meetings that aren’t productive and the daily distractions that come along.

My main tips for making the time to blog, tweet, comment or share:

  • Make a small but daily time commitment.  You have to find the time to make small “investments” in social every day. Tweet once a day. Blog once a week. Do whatever works for you and be realistic. But it’s amazing what happens after a year. You’ll have sent hundreds of tweets, created dozens of blog posts, connected with lots of great people and learned more than you would have ever imagined.
  • Build your content and your audience based on your passion. Write about and share what interests you and you will attract an audience of like-minded people. They will inspire you with questions and theories and unique points of view that will spawn completely new thoughts of your own. This in turn becomes the idea factory you need to consistently generate lots of great share-worthy content.
  • Help others. Give-to-get (G2G), “pay it forward,” whatever you want to call it, the bottom line is that “karma” works in the social world. Share the work of people you admire and they will take a second look at your own work. Over time, you will become an authority yourself.

Are you an active social media contributor? Please share your thoughts and tips with us here. And follow along on TwitterLinkedInFacebook and Google+ or Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates..

About Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is the Vice President of Global Marketing for SAP where he leads content strategy and serves as the managing editor of the company’s award-winning Business Innovation thought leadership blog site. He is also the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor to Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to B2B Marketing Insider by Email

25 Comments

  1. Kerry said…

    This is so true. I really started to immerse myself in blogging and a number of the social networks just over a year ago. I’ve learned so much and have expanded my network. I’m a marketer by day, but the blog is personal. Still, I know without a doubt that my blogging has made me a better marketer.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Kerry. I tell people all the time that this blog is the greatest and most challenging marketing program I will ever run. I have learned more about marketing from this experience than any of my professional challenges. Now, I am trying to apply all that great learning to my job and to help my peers.

  2. nickie snyder said…

    One needs to be regular and patient for success in social media marketing, as it needs more time, so that you always have something new coming up on your site and is up to date.

  3. Great article, Michael!

    I think the most important thing is to find what makes you tick in social media. You don’t need to use every social media platform under the sun. Find two or three that you enjoy and then set small and achievable goals (as you mentioned).

    And of course, don’t forget to have fun!

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Cendribe, great point about having fun. I have fun with social and often forget to remember this when speaking to others.

  4. Sam said…

    Thanks for valuable article Michael, I’ve been using EverPost in the last few days with great success.

  5. David Spark said…

    You, me, and everyone else gets this question. I think it’s more an issue of shifting non-efficient communications to efficient communications. I wrote an article about that entitled, “Blogging Advice for People Who ‘Have No Time to Blog.’”
    http://www.sparkminute.com/2010/06/14/blogging-advice-for-people-who-have-no-time-to-blog/

  6. Small Footprints said…

    I really appreciate this article and your suggestions. It is sometimes overwhelming to think about all the various networks and how much time it takes to connect. It’s great to know that even a few minutes can make a difference and that we don’t need to devote hours and hours to it. Thank you … I kinda needed to hear that!

  7. esta said…

    Great read! Thanks for making time to write ;) Do you think it’s perhaps easier having a team work with you on social media tactics than working independently, or are you carrying all the social media weight, plus managing a team? I feel a little overwhelmed at times consulting independently, trying to professionally keep on top of ever-changing trends, managing my own social media position, and, taking clients; due diligence, planning, implementation. Oh, then there’s that *life” thing…. ;)

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Hi Esta, I believe that you have to manage your own social accounts and relationships. I will definitely admit to automating and scheduling some of the sharing I do on Twitter. But outside of that, it is all me 100%. I think it’s too important to outsource.

  8. Alex Thompson said…

    Finding the time for social media is one of the hardest things, You know that you have to find the time for social media because it is important for your business, but you just want to find the simplest, smartest way to get it going, then be consistent and get it right.

  9. I find that using a tool like Hootsuite helps a lot. That way you don’t have to log in to every account to share the same content. Of course you still need to monitor it, but it does save some time.

  10. Russell Hrdy said…

    Everyone has scraps of time that are wasted throughout the day. I try to hop on social media when I take breaks. The challenge is creating content because that takes time and research. I find creating lists helps me because I like to check off. But I’m just starting to research how to blog. We’ll see how that goes

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