It’s Tuesday. You’re heading back to your desk and peering out the window, just realizing that it’s pitch black outside. Having spent the past four hours helping your team put out a mini-fire, you lost an entire afternoon. Now, you need to settle for the fact that those two items you were sure you’d be able to scratch off your to-do list will still loom overhead tomorrow morning. We’ve all been there, and when moments like this creep up, it’s difficult to picture taking on any new initiatives—especially the one your social media department just started pushing.
Just last week, you sat through a mandatory training, in which two members of the social team were actually able to convince you that maintaining a professional social presence is worth your while. Sure, you’ve skimmed articles featured in Fast Company and Forbes that touted all the ways building up your own social presence could work wonders for your career, but now you’re really ready to jump on the bandwagon. There’s just one thing you hadn’t considered until now: how will you ever find the time?
Believe it or not, hundreds of professionals encounter this very same dilemma. Even in our office here at Skyword, we see that folks recognize the importance of staying active on social, but they just can’t seem to find a way to squeeze the extra task into their busy day-to-day schedules. When it comes down to it, posting a few tweets and one LinkedIn post a day doesn’t suck up as much time as you think it does, and here’s why:
1. When it comes to social, quality always trumps quantity. There are dozens of engaging social media platforms out there, but it isn’t crucial to establish a presence on all of them. Start by identifying the outlets that are most popular in your industry and focus on sharing content that will resonate with your peers and colleagues.
2. There’s an app for that! When cutting a sliver of time out of a busy schedule, you want to make sure it’s used as efficiently as possible (and that you avoid getting stuck in a black hole of Twitter rants). Below, I’ve highlighted a few (free!) apps you can use to build and efficiently manage your social media platforms.
LinkedIn and Twitter are the two platforms most professionals focus on when developing a social presence, and this first recommendation was built to maximize your time spent on the latter.
TweetDeck gives users the ability to create a custom experience with live feeds and columns. Users can choose to add 15 different types of columns into their deck, depending on what they need to monitor and publish. For example, if your department is gearing up to host your company’s annual conference, you can add a search column to track all conversations that link back to the event’s designated hashtag. By monitoring this column, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with attendees and prospects. With TweetDeck, you can even like, retweet, and @reply to tweets directly from the interface. Pretty cool, huh?
TweetDeck boasts a variety of other capabilities as well—such as real-time streaming and the ability to manage multiple handles at once. If I haven’t sold you on it yet, feel free to check out its other nifty functionalities here.
Side note: You can use TweetDeck’s web interface, but I strongly recommend downloading the TweetDeck app. Keeping it open on your desktop and watching all the live feeds on your second monitor throughout the day can be distracting, so I’d consider minimizing the tool whenever you aren’t devoting time to social.
When it comes down to it, finding the right content to share on social ends up being one major time suck that ends up really discouraging folks. If you find yourself browsing the internet for 15 minutes straight in search of an intriguing article to share with your audience, chances are you’re in dire need of a Feedly account. It may take 30 minutes or so to get set up, but once it’s up and running, you’ll realize it was well worth the investment. With the free version of Feedly, users can create their own news feeds tailored to specific interests. Once the feed is live, all the news from the specific outlets you’ve decided to follow will populate in one place with short descriptions. Oh, and did I mention you can create more than one?
Feedly users are able to kill two birds with one stone. By checking the feeds daily, you’ll stay up to date on current trends and breaking news with ease—and you’ll have the opportunity to share the content via social. When reading an article in your Feedly, a variety of icons appears on the top of the page. If you’re already logged into your social account, you can use the toolbar to share the content instantly. When you click your designated social icon, a pop-up will appear with the title of the article and the link back to the source. Keep in mind that you can easily add in any comments you’d like to make about the piece before sharing (as long as they’re within the allotted character count).
Ever start off your morning, coffee in hand, reading an interesting piece your boss sent to the entire department, and think, I need to share this!? Before you can even save the image and attach it to your LinkedIn post, your calendar alert goes off, and you’re running to your first status call of the day. What are the chances you’ll actually come back to that post later in the day and share it?
That’s where Buffer comes in.
Once you start using Buffer, there’s a very good chance that the time you’re struggling to devote to social will be cut in half, especially when using the platform’s handy scheduling tool. In the Buffer app, users can queue up to 16 social posts and then, with the click of a button, schedule them to post throughout the day. Oh, and just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, by enabling the Optimal Timing Tool, you can have the platform pull data from your social account to analyze the very best time for each post to go live.
Buffer also encourages users to download its Chrome plug-in, which is sure to amaze you. Let’s go back to that morning, coffee-in-hand scenario. After you’ve read this article, you simply tap on your Buffer plug-in. Before you know it, you’ve published a brilliant LinkedIn post, image included, even before your calendar alert goes off. If the article you’d like to share doesn’t have social share buttons embedded, Buffer will populate the title of the article, a shortened link, and the featured images right into your social post. Oh, and if you’d rather share a blurb from the article, rather than just the title, all you need to do is highlight the text on the web page, and it will automatically populate in the draft of your post. (I know, that little trick really threw me for a loop, too.)
Still think social will suck up too much time, even with these tools at your disposal? I still have two more tips up my sleeve. Consider asking your marketing department to send out a morning email filled with company news and thought leadership articles employees can share throughout the day on their social channels. And do yourself a favor: download the mobile apps. Chances are, you’ll find a few minutes during your commute into or home from the office to retweet or share an interesting post.
Ultimately, when I hear folks say they simply don’t have the time to devote to social media, I can’t help but shake my head. Just another quick reminder: all of the tools I mentioned above are free. So, seriously—what are you waiting for?