As I sit down to write this blog post, I can’t help but think about all the “social media time” I’ve been racking up lately. If you are anything like me, you’ve entered into this virtual world of connections, status updates, and thought-sharing opportunities that was supposed to simplify your life and now you’re more time-committed than ever. Perhaps it is the beautiful summer weather that has rolled into Wisconsin, but I find myself wanting to simplify my online life. Just take a look some social media user statistics and you’ll see what I’m talking about:
50% of active Facebook users log on to the site every day and creates 70 pieces of content each month
People spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook
Nearly 2/3 of marketers are using social media five or more hours each week, with the remaining third spending over ten hours
The amount of time one can spend engaging in social interaction online is unlimited, but how do you gauge when to step away from the screen? My research on social media “best practices” unearthed some so-called “experts” recommending a minimum of two hours per day engaging in social media! “Goodbye children, mom has to go tweet.” Combine professional and business use with personal use and the statistics are staggering!
So, how do you keep life balanced and still maintain a strong online presence? Here are a few tricks I’ve found that can help to make the most of the time you devote to social media.
1. Determine how much effort you should dedicate to social media use by weighing the personal and professional benefit. The following site has a great self-assessment to help you get started.
2. Select the best tools for your individual situation – and stick with them. Spend some time researching the different social sites out there and choose just a handful to get involved in, 1-2 personal sites and 2-3 professional sites maximum. If you’ve got accounts for a dozen or more social media sites, consider consolidating and closing some accounts. Websites like www.mashable.com give great overviews of the computing power that is out there, the features and benefits of each and allow you to refocus your efforts in the best direction.
3. Manage your social media involvement through a social media aggregation tool. There are some great tools out there that help organize and bring all your sites into one place – many people have heard of applications like HootSuite and TweetDeck, but I’m surprised by how few people are using them. No more logging into multiple sites to manage your accounts. You can find some great aggregation tools at http://www.socialmediatoday.com/SMC/192312 – in particular I’m intrigued by NetVibes because you can view your social media sites, favorite websites and even email all from one screen.
4. Know that all good rules are made to be broken! As much as we try to manage our time, it still runs away with us. If you blow through your weekly social media “time budget” in a day or two, be sure to give yourself a day off. Get outside, enjoy the great Wisconsin summer, and when you get a chance to tweet about it we’ll be there to listen.
Lori A. Bruss
Executive Vice President
The Roberts Group, Inc.