Social media is intimidating to a large number of people. But the growth just keeps going for the users on the major social sites Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And so I get this question all the time. Sometimes the question comes from sincerely curious colleagues and peers who also want to grow their connections and interact with our increasingly social world…
Other times it comes with that oh-so-subtle implication that I’m a slacker spending my day on Facebook, status updating about the loud talkers and bad dressers in the office. As all Gen Xers have to state at some point in our lives: I am not a slacker…
For the curious peers, the answer is that it is all part of my day. It’s “built in” because it is important. For the others, my answer is that it is an important part my job. I’ll explain my views on both in more detail.
Building It In
The simple fact is that it doesn’t take that long. I don’t “block time” for social media any more than I do for email. I am constantly scanning and making quick decisions about what to respond to right away, later or simply disregard. And like we all learned how to deal with the onslaught of corporate email threads, you learn to quickly deal with the constant stream of tweets, likes and connection requests.
Here is a review of how I work social media into my routine:
- Scanning, Monitoring, Prioritizing: I start each day with a quick glance at the blackberry for urgent emails and mention notices from twitter, Linkedin and Facebook. I also check to see if there are any comments on my blog posts – which I reply to as soon as I see them.
- Read and Connect: I check Facebook for updates. I check LinkedIn for connection requests. I check my Twitter lists. I start with a list of fellow employees and company news I want to share. I add new connections based on the recommendations from each major site. This takes no more than 15 minutes.
- Share: Next I look at broader news sites, blogs and my “VIP” lists. These are the people and sites that typically have great content. I scan articles and quickly share them. If I find something really engaging, I will post a comment on a blog or write a quick note to myself about a blog post idea.
- Write: This one takes the most time but is also the most therapeutic. I usually gather my thoughts over the course of a day and write my blog posts at night while my wife watches the “Real Housewives of…” somewhere.
- Rinse and Repeat: there are plenty of books and speeches on exactly how much time to spend on social media. The timing for you will vary based on the amount of content you read, the amount you want to write and ultimately on your objectives. For me, the objective is mainly leadership, personal branding but with an eye toward corporate brand advocacy: I strive to be a positive voice for my personal and employer brand. A balance for sure – but one that I think is achievable. And that leads me to the next point…
The Social Imperative
I know many more people in marketing who are NOT active in social media than who are active. When these folks ask me how I find the time, I tell them that it is an imperative. We live in a social world. We need to have an outside-in perspective. I find the time to tweet and blog because I have to. I have come to the conclusion that it is a matter of survival and I welcome more folks to come to that conclusion too. I hope this post helps, even just one person, to wade in to the conversation, to connect and even to share.
And if you’re looking to get started but afraid to take the leap, reach out to me and I’d be happy to help!