This is a guest post written by online marketing strategist Tommy Walker. We solopreneurs understand the value of social media for our businesses, but we’ve discovered that it can be incredibly time-consuming to do social media well. Tommy has some suggestions and solutions.
Do you ever look at other soloprenuers on social networks and wonder how the heck they accomplish all of the things they do?
If you follow some of the big names in online marketing on Twitter, one thing always seems to stand out: these people are constantly reading, publishing, networking and constantly finding ways to be useful. If you were to watch them in person, surely they would have five computer screens and four keyboards just to keep up with themselves.
How do they do it?
The truth is, they’re just as, if not more busy than you are. The major difference between them and you? They’re using their time very differently.
This post will hopefully give you a guide to use your time more effectively as well as detail different tools to help you maximize the time you spend networking.
Reorganize Your Week
Every day holds a certain level of predictability. If you’re anything like me, you’ve got four or five different projects going on right now, you’re spending a good portion of time today answering e-mails, taking phone calls, and tweeting. You might even be wondering why you’re reading this, because you have a million other things you should be doing right now.
If you reorganize your week, that constant pressure of having to get everything done at once will start to melt away.
What do I mean by reorganize your week?
It’s really simple, but it does require some discipline. What I mean by reorganizing your week is to devote certain days to focus on a particular task.
Most high profile social marketers will tell you that having five to 10 blog posts ready well ahead of time allows them to spend their networking time more efficiently
Five to 10 posts might seem daunting, considering everything that goes on in your day. But really it’s not so bad if you’re dedicating a day strictly to blogging, knowing that the predictable stuff is going to happen, too.
Admittedly, I’m just starting to do this myself, but the results so far have been eye-opening. Here’s how I break my week up.
- Monday-researching and blogging 2-5 articles
- Tuesday– networking. Spending time on Twitter, promoting posts, answering questions on Linkedin, being active in forums I participate in, etc.
- Wednesday-researching and blogging (same as Monday) I’m also part of a Mastermind group that meets at 4 p.m. every week.
- Thursday– project day. Any project outside my day to day is worked on. This includes creating videos, writing e-books, and any other crazy thing that might come up.
- Friday-loose-ends day. I think it’s important to be able to keep a day dedicated to organized chaos.
This schedule includes client work, phone calls, e-mails and random communication. While this exact schedule might not work for you, the goal is to accept that a million different things are going to happen in a typical day. By returning your focus back to your daily task, the time you spend online will be a million times more effective than if you try to do everything all at once.
Once your schedule is worked out, you’ll be set up to even further maximize your social networking time…
There is a huge debate in the social media sphere about Automation vs. Humanization. The truth is… if you do it well… almost no one will be able to tell the difference.
Hypothetically, let’s say you’re using the schedule mentioned above. On Monday you write five blog posts. Many of the popular blog platforms will allow you to schedule when your post will be published. So if you’re writing five posts on Monday, you can pre-set their publishing for Monday, Wednesday and Friday and have two extra posts ready to go for the following week!
If you post three times a week, and you dedicate two days to cranking out blog posts, at the end of your second day, you will have written three weeks worth of material!
You can futher automate the process by using a tool called Twitterfeed. Twitterfeed will feed your blog directly into your Twitter and Facebook account, eliminating the time it takes to update these platforms manually.
If you’re active on more than just those two networks, Hellotxt allows you to update multiple platforms at once. Create an account with Hellotxt Then sync Twitterfeed with Hellotxt to automatically publish to the platforms you’re the most active on.
If you were to sketch it out, it might look something like this:
Only use Hellotxt for this purpose! Do not use it as a way to publish your status messages across multiple platforms and forget about it. That’s broadcasting, and social media is meant to be conversational, not as a broadcast medium. This method is meant to be used in conjunction with good old fashion networking, not as a substitute.
There are a few other automation tools that are smart just by the nature of their build.
Packrati will automatically add links that you tweet out to your Delicious bookmarks. This can be very useful if you tweet a lot of links out and can’t remember to add them to bookmarks for later.
Social Oomph will schedule your tweets ahead of time (great for scheduling promotional tweets), auto-follow and auto-direct-message new followers (make sure you keep your auto dm’s personal) and the paid version will even allow you to schedule Facebook fan page updates (great if you organize your updates ahead of time)! And that’s just the beginning of what this amazing tool can do.
So that’s it! By shifting your schedule to have a primary focus each day, and by setting up some simple automation, you’ll free up a whole mess of time to network without killing yourself.
How about you? What are some things you’ve been doing to free up time to network? Please share your suggestions in the comments below.