If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.(Attributed to Lucille Ball)
Today, everybody is busy, right? Or maybe not and we’re just disorganized so we look busy? 🙂 Maybe its just a throw away excuse? Well, I’m really busy, but here I am, carving out the time to write a blog post! How did I find the time? I made the time because the task is valuable and important to me on many different levels; and hopefully for my readers!
I sympathized with someone this week who, after I chided her to get engaged in social media, commented that she is too busy for social media. She has a full time job that requires a rigorous travel schedule, she has a young family, and to top it off she has a second “full time” volunteer job as the president of a large professional association. How anyone can handle two full time jobs and a family is certainly remarkable, but is it a justifiable reason to skip social media? Do we give her a pass?
Social Media Examined
Despite what some (self identified laggards) may have concluded: that social media is for people who have time on their hands to kill, I beg to differ. Social media is a highly influential medium that is being accessed by (very busy) business persons around the world in huge numbers.
The social web (i.e. social networks, blogs, YouTube, review sites, and more) holds the attention of CEO’s of some of the most forward-thinking organizations, the top journalists, the Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches of the U.S. government, foreign governments, scientists, clergy, authors, artists, and entertainers—the thinkers and doers of our world.
This simply begs the question in my mind: Can a full-time businesswoman and volunteer leader of a geographically dispersed membership possibly afford to ignore the conversations that would help her better understand the people, issues, places, and ideas being put forth in social media by her clients, her organization’s membership (including vendors and sponsors who underwrite many of the programs), and her colleagues? What about those of her competition or the journalists who might help her promote her causes?
The answer: He/she who makes the loudest excuses, simply doesn’t see the value in doing it. When it comes to social media, be careful with those excuses because, if it hasn’t already, ignoring it will eventually set you back. I suggest you start now by putting one foot in front of the other…slowly, and move forward—to the best of your ability. (Which was exactly the businesswoman’s final agreement in response to my urgings. Kudos!)
Here are 10 tips to get up and running:
- You’ve got to find your rhythm. Social media listening and engagement needs to become a natural part of your day or evening. It’s the same as checking email.
- Make sure your mobile devices are “app-ed” up. Your most important social media channels should be travel ready. You can get a lot done while on the go. (Just not while you’re driving!)
- Choose the right channels. If you’re putting in the time and not getting benefit (defined in many different ways), move on. Talk to business people you admire and who use social media, they’ll be happy to steer you in the right direction.
- Take the time to gather the right people into your networks. It won’t take long. Start with only people you know and expand from there. Build your network before you need it. I promise it will be worth it.
- Filter the noise. Don’t get caught up in reading every post that passes through your stream. Use precious time allotment more effectively.
- Create lists and saved searches in Twitter.
- Create a dashboard in iGoogle for your favorite blogs, journalists, and Google Alerts. Make it your landing page when you open your browser. Quickly scan the conversation.
- Remove overly chatty friends from your Facebook stream by unsubscribing to their status updates. (You can still keep them as FB friends, you just won’t be bothered by their games, photos and links to canned thoughts for the day. Simply go to one of their posts in your timeline and click the little drop down arrow to the right of the status update, click unsubscribe to change your preference.)
- Manage your FB settings to only notify you when you’ve been tagged in a post or other media like a video or photo. This is the easiest thing to do, still many don’t. It gives you a notification in your email box so you can quickly link to the mention and respond if appropriate.
- Join only ONE group on LinkedIn and be present and accounted for.
- Only respond when you think you can add something worthwhile, or when promoting others’ content can deepen your relationship with them. (by sharing their content). Sometimes it takes only a second to send a link or point someone in a helpful direction. Other times it takes writing a bit more. No one will judge you by the length of your response, only by the content in it. Be smart. Add a personal insight or comment to links you share. The extra minutes you spend writing it will go a long way toward your contribution to others and your credibility.
- Load up your Internet browser’s tool bar with helpful short cuts to clipping programs like Evernote or to Twitter, link shorteners (though most networks now have onsite auto shorteners) and YouTube.
- Practice mailbox hygiene. Email newsletters sprout like weeds. I swear I don’t remember subscribing for half of them, the other half seemed wise at the time, but do I read them? Probably not. Unsubscribe to most, keep only the ones that you really read or that have links to content within your subject matter so that you can easily access and share to Twitter, Facebook, etc. without ever having to search the web.
- Create a paper.li –a little newspaper that you create by selecting custom subject matter. Your weekly paper.li will post to Twitter, include author Twitter handles and build followers.
- Easy does it! You don’t have to be social 24/7. You don’t have to be social every day. But, be social…to the best of your ability. We all have off-line obligations, many are critical to our business, however, neglecting online opportunities just may hurt you more in the end.
I’m not suggesting there aren’t reasons to skip social media, there are. However, “I’m too busy” is an excuse, not a well-thought out choice. If you need help making choices, the VMO provides practical training on social media, but only for very busy people!