How to Make Social Networking NOT a Time Suck

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PR veteran Sherrie Bakshi offers advice on how to efficiently manage social media channels

In the age of Web 2.0 (or is it  3.0 now?), social networking has become a critical component of our work, and more importantly, an integral party of an organization’s communications’ outreach. But, with the welcoming of this new media into our lives, also comes another type of communications activity that many of us public relations professionals need to manage.

So, how does one utilize social networking to market our organization’s brand, products and services without making it a time suck? Here are a few tips that I follow:

1. Don’t just jump into the social networking world. Many organizations feel that they need to set up a page on Twitter, a Facebook Fan page or launch a blog, but then are unsure of what do next. Determine which sites work best for you.

2. Develop a social networking strategy. Similar to creating a traditional public relations plan, you need to build a social networking strategy for your organization. Determine why your organization needs a strategy, the overall goals of it and what type of content you can/will provide. It’s a good idea to review your organization’s overall communications goals and develop content recommendations and tactics for each profile.

3. Set up a schedule and utilize some of the tools that are available to help you manage your time. By setting up a schedule, you are able to better organize your day, i.e.,  tweet 2-4 times a day, update Facebook status once a day about an organization activity, add a new video to YouTube once a month, blog  twice a month, etc. Also, consider using tools like Hootsuite to schedule updates in advance so you don’t find yourself worried if you forgot to tweet one day.

4. Evaluate. Evaluate. Evaluate. Similar to any public relations plan, always benchmark your social networking activities against your goals. Determine what’s working and what’s not.

Social networking is an integral part of our work today, but it is not the only activity and should not consume your entire day–so keep that in mind when you are developing and maintaining your organization’s social networking outreach.

What are your thoughts? How are you managing your social networking activities without making it a time suck?

Sherrie Bakshi is the Communications Maven at Matrix Group. Bakshi has more than 10 years experience in the field, working with a variety of clients. She specializes in everything from traditional PR to working with clients on effective social networking and online strategies. Be sure to follow her on Twitter via @sher_32.

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7 comments on “How to Make Social Networking NOT a Time Suck

  1. This is such a great post! I completely agree. I work for a major company that crosses several state borders in the western U.S., and I’m part of the team that is developing our corporate social media strategy. Our company has been following all these guidelines and it’s been working wonders, especially on the customer satisfaction end. It’s also helpful to develop a workflow chart, especially if your company is very customer-service oriented. We also use the vendor, Radian6, to help listen and evaluate what is being said about us. From there, we decide to whom we should filter that information based on our workflow chart. Great post! Very true.

    Best,
    Shari Lopatin
    http://ShariLopatin.wordpress.com

  2. Shari,
    Thank you so much for your comment. We are always looking for ways to manage our social networking at our company, evaluating what’s working and what’s not, and always tweaking our strategy with an understanding of what people are saying.

    Thank you so much again for your comment.

  3. Awesome post, Sherri. I’m struck often by some of my clients who pronounce they “need” to do the “social media thing” – and then, after gently drawing them out a bit, it turns out they’re not really sure what that “thing” is, or what it can do for their businesses. They just know there’s something called “social media” and they “need” to do it! Once I can lay out the different channels for them, and those channels’ unique advantages and disadvantages, a funny thing often happens. First their eyes start to glaze over and they begin moving away from the concept altogether. But then they start to come back to a middle ground — which is where we’re usually more receptive and creative anyway — and that’s when I know we can actually begin to create a program and a strategy that’s right for that client, that business. Jumping in without that plan and strategy is a sure-fire recipe for overwhelm and burnout. Also? It doesn’t work. 🙂

  4. Sherrie,

    Excellent points all! I’ve noticed that evaluate usually means “see if we’ve made money at this,” rather than, see if we’re talking to the right audience and what they’re saying about us. Hard to teach us old dogs new tricks.

    Thanks for the great reminder!

  5. Thank you Sally and Annie for your comments. We’ve been hearing more and more about how to manage social media activities without being a time suck. Annie, I agree with you, everyone wants to do the “social media” or they feel that they have to do it because everyone else is doing it. I always like to tell people to determine which platforms they want to be with based on your customers’ needs and motivations. I do recommend getting into Facebook simply for the fact that they will definitely be on Facebook if not anything else. Furthermore, if you find something is not working, re-evaluate it, it may not be the right platform for you to be on. Thank you again for your comments.

  6. Pingback: Five Social Media Lessons From Larry David |

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