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9 Steps to building your social media framework

Is social media taking up too much of your time? Have you abandoned your social media accounts because it’s not as exciting as when you first started? You’re not alone. The marketing benefits of social media activity are undeniable. The reality of trying to fit it into your workload can seem impossible. I’m providing nine of my own tricks critical to helping me maintain a social media presence without affecting my normal workload.

Because social media tools are designed to entice and engage you, they can also quickly become a burden if you have a busy schedule. Even if you enjoy the time spent using social media, it’s also a terrific procrastination aid. I’ve developed a nifty system, broken into two task groups, for keeping my profiles active without it taking a lot of time or impacting my schedule.

Curating Content

1) Google Alerts I have Google alerts set up with my business name, my own name and keywords relevant to my work. I also have alerts set up for my clients, both business names and key personnel names.

2)  Many news outlets allow you to set alerts and will email you a list of articles pertaining to your keywords. I rely on Mention alerts to keep me abreast of industry news, competitor activity and brand monitoring. I’m finding Mention provides more detail and better volume than Google alerts. *

3) I subscribe to a lot of industry newsletters. It can be mind-numbing stuff but has a tendency to provide good content. It usually takes less than a minute to skim an email newsletter so it’s not as onerous as it sounds.

4) Paper.li has been a revelation. I subscribe to three different papers and always find great content I haven’t seen before.

5) Twitter is full of hash tag symbols allowing for quick research. For instance, I continually poll the #SMM tag to find out what’s new in social media marketing.

6) Twitter is good at making recommendations for people to follow. If I find a good account, I’ll see who they’re following and keep following the thread. If you have a high-quality group of people to follow, it’s easy to find good content.

7) I’ve joined a number of discussion groups on LinkedIn, which can provide good content, but I have to wade through a LOT of self-promotion and job listings.

Scheduling Content

8) I use a utility called Sendible that allows me to schedule updates to several different social media sites and from multiple accounts. (Hello holiday!) For example, I can use Sendible to post the same article to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I can post from different accounts, e.g. @globalcopywrite and @WITWA. Good when I want to repeat a tweet, it’s particularly handy for things like promoting events or conferences. You type the post once, set up a schedule and it repeats it accordingly.

9) TweetDeck is useful for scheduling tweets in advance, especially when I know I’m going to be busy or out of the office. This is especially useful when I’m working 12 time zones away from my office or traveling.

Select likely candidates
Every morning I wake up, grab a cup of coffee and get busy doing my reading. I browse through my email alerts and newsletters, clicking on any link that looks interesting. Next, I pop over to my daily Paper.li papers and click on any articles that capture my interest. I usually have about 20 or more articles opened in my browser at that point.

Identify shareable content
Next, I skim each of the articles. If one looks promising, I read it thoroughly then decide whether it’s worthy of a tweet or a post to another site. Depending on the hour this often happens about 5:00 am when my core audience is still sensibly in bed I’ll either tweet the story or schedule it for later in the day. I delete the article out of my browser and move to the next one until they’ve all been reviewed.

Poll favourite sites
Lastly, I check in to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn my favourite sites to see what’s going on. I always leave this step to the last because it’s too easy to get distracted by whatever may or may not be happening.

Sticking to the process
The whole process takes me about an hour but then the vast majority of my work is done. I periodically check for mentions, reply to comments or troll through hash tags on Twitter when it’s convenient lunchtime, if I’m on hold, or waiting for an appointment. I try to check in before the end of the day to make sure nothing is left outstanding. Otherwise, I discipline myself to stay away from social media sites or I’ll never make another deadline.

The take-away
I’d be interested in hearing what you do to help balance your social media activity with your workload. I’ve developed a little command centre over time, out of necessity. I love the interaction and the vast resources available but just can’t park myself on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook all day. I suspect you’re the same. These simple tricks of the trade will help you continue your social media activity without a massive impact on your workload.

What are your hints, tips or tricks for managing your social media activity?

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*Updated on 5 June 2014 to remove references to defunct tools and include current tools being used.