Top 10 Social Media Time Saving Tips for the Busy Blogger

This is a guest post by Brad Smith.

Building a good social media presence doesn’t have to take all your time.

You just need to work smart, and focus on the activities that produce the highest ROI. Because you’ll start to notice that specific activities pay off a lot more than others.

Here’s how you can identify those activities, grow your audience, and save yourself a ton of time in the process.

Social Media & Small Business
Image courtesy of deanmeyersnet.

1. Have a Clear Goal

The most common mistake people make is not defining their social media goals before they begin.

Why are you on Twitter? What are you doing with your blog?

And how are these activities going to support your professional goals?

Forget about the ROI. I’m talking about being able to define what success will look like.

Even today, if you asked most companies why they’re using social media, they won’t be able to give you a straight answer.

When you break it all down, there are only three acceptable answers:

  1. Increase brand awareness by growing your reach
  2. Build customer loyalty by engaging more and providing support
  3. Increase sales by getting more people to purchase, more frequently

If you can figure out how your daily activities will support these three goals, then you’ll already save yourself a lot of wasted effort.

2. Funnel Fans for Quick Growth

If you’re looking for quick growth on a new social network, then you should funnel fans from an existing channel.

For example, you could:

  • Borrow some of your website traffic
  • Run a promotion with larger, established partners
  • Send an update to your large email list
  • Cross-promote from another social network

Just be careful… because you don’t want to be guilty of digital sharecropping.

But if you’re looking for a temporary way to get a quick win, then this is your best shot.

3. Chunk and Divide Your Time

There’s almost never a reason to spend longer than 20 minutes on social networks at one time.

So instead of wasting hours with TweetDeck notifications going off every 5 minutes, break your day up and check-in and out of social media for 20 minutes, three times a day.

You’ll be more active throughout the day, and each time you check-in you’ll have a purpose because you have no time to waste. You can set an alarm, or use a time tracking tool like RescueTime to help you manage that 20 minutes effectively.

Social media provides you with a great opportunity to reach more people. But it will take over your life if you let it. If you don’t come up with a plan for managing social media, then it will manage you.

4. Stuck on Google+? Find Inspiration from Others

Have you figured out how to use Google+ for your business?

Yeah, me neither. :)

But it’s going to have a huge impact on SEO, so I guess we have no choice.

Take a look at how other early adopters are having success already, and figure out how you can use Google+’s unique features to create a new experience for your audience.

For example, BlogcastFM runs a focus group on their Google+ page, while SEOmoz creates unique video content that you can’t find anywhere else.

Look at how other people are using Google+ to get some ideas, but you should ignore your competition. Instead, look at what people in other industries are doing and try to come up with a fresh approach.

5. Stop Guessing and Use Facebook Insights

If you want to succeed in social media, then you need to do more of what people like, and less of what they don’t. Pretty obvious, huh?

But most people just post random updates that don’t support their goals (see #1).

Instead, take advantage of the Facebook formula to virally grow your audience.

The big problem on Facebook is that you can’t reach all of your of your fans. It doesn’t matter if you have millions of fans. If you don’t have engagement, then you will never defeat Facebook’s EdgeRank.

So start taking advantage of the tools that Facebook gives you and figure out what your audience really loves. Then give them more.

6. Focus on Your Twitter Lists, Not the Home Feed

When you start following over one hundred people on Twitter, the Home Feed becomes useless pretty quickly.

Instead of wasting time trying to keep up with every conversation, you should create private lists of the people and companies you want to watch.

These could be special groups of bloggers that you want to include in a future social media promotion, or a list of companies that you want to reach out to.

Lists will help you manage the conversation, and you can easily jump in (during your short 20 minutes) to follow what these important people are up to.

7. Schedule Updates to Go Out Automatically.

Have you ever fallen victim to someone’s avalanche of Tweets? It’s not pretty.

Instead of bombarding your followers, use Timely or Buffer to spread those tweets out during the day. Besides common courtesy, they’ll also help you achieve better results by maximizing your click-through-rate and engagement.

You can also use Hootsuite’s “batch update” feature if you have recurring status updates you’d like to send out over a period of time.

And if you’re using WordPress, then you can use the Tweet Old Post plugin to send out posts from your archives.

8. Curate Posts from Other People

Don’t just share your own content. Content curation is at the heart of a good social media strategy.

No matter what business or industry you’re in, you want to become a thought leader.

It also helps you build an audience and connect with other people.

Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Find out the sites you like to read (that are relevant). Use your favorite RSS reader to gather updates as the come out
  2. Take 10 minutes each day and manually sift through to find the little pearls of wisdom that you know your audience will love (based on #5 above)
  3. Use a tool like Timely or Buffer to automatically schedule these posts to go out while you actually do work
  4. Then proceed to #9 below and re-purpose your updates

9. Re-purpose your Updates

Your Twitter followers and Facebook fans are different. There isn’t a lot of overlap.

So while you can update Twitter 30 times per day, Facebook probably maxes out around two.

Instead of spamming every network with the same message, use your stats from Buffer or Timely to identify and cross-promote your best stuff.

You should also tailor each update for the specific channel.

For example, Twitter gives you 140 characters, so you need a short, snappy message. Facebook gives you a little more room, so you can elaborate with a short description. But Google+ is unlimited and has high engagement, so you can summarize the content and add attractive photos or videos.

Maximize the value you’re getting out of each update, and the results will add up over time.

10. Work “Top Down”, not “Bottom Up”

Finally, there are two ways to build a large social network audience.

One way is to start from the bottom and try to build your presence organically. You start by tweeting to an empty room, try to engage the few followers you have, and participate in Twitter chats.

This strategy takes perseverance and hours of effort. But it’s pretty inefficient.

Here’s what you should do instead.

Work from the top-down. Start guest posting on larger media sites. Reach out to other bloggers and try to run a promotion for their audience. Interview influential people in your niche.

This is the new social media definition.

If you want to grow a brand, then focus more on business development instead of community management.

It’s far more effective in the long run to build your brand (and traffic) first.

Because when you’re good enough, the social media audience will follow.

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  1. says

    Hi Brad,

    Really good points you’re mentioning.

    The #1 is fundamental and to select wisely the social site – Before – spend time there.

    Is Twitter or Facebook or G+ appropriate for your business / blog?
    Perhaps is more for your visual business Pinterest and to find local contacts via Twitter / Facebook
    May be you are looking business only, then you’d try more e.g. LinkedIn in your planned time than Facebook.

    I use #3 often, if not you can use all the time you’ve available.

    Also I use Twitter lists, your #6, via Hootsuite / Tweetdeck or other apps to manage the preferences of your stream, if not you can get crazy 😉


    Gera just posted S.M.I.L.E.: Word of Mouth Marketing for the 21st Century

  2. says

    Hey Brad.

    Thanks for the straight on advice. I appreciate the “top down” analogy and focusing on business development. It’s so easy to get lost in social media and have it “time suck” your day. I’m definitely putting the twitter list on the list of things to do. Great post.
    Heather Georgoudiou just posted Ignite your copy with this hot strategy

  3. says

    This is a great list. The top-down is the best way to connect through social media. That way you can spread the word to a lot more people who are already in a position to help you with your blogging.

  4. says

    I’ve been working with Google+ for a while now…. and yeah, I still have no how it works! But thanks for those links and ideas… maybe I’ll hit on something that will revolutionize it haha. If I find out I’ll let you know!

  5. says

    These are some awesome social media tips. The biggest problem I have is the “top down” approach. Back when I started out, every time I approached the “top” people to do what you recommend , I was automatically rejected because i didn’t have a big enough following, they wouldn’t even give me the time of day. as soon as they find out you don’t have a following, they ignore you.

    However, now that I have a bigger following, they actually will give me the time of day. It can help to scale quickly once you get the initial push started but you won’t get far if you are brand new, unless you happen to have one of those top people who are already friends with you.
    James Pruitt just posted How to Start Your Own Affiliate Business Today and CAsh In Online

    • says

      Hey James – I definitely understand your point.

      If that’s the case, then I normally recommend people look around and partner with peers or other up-and-comers. What’s great about online marketing is that you don’t need the biggest audience… you just need the *right* fit and you’ll be able to convert well.

      Another tactic that works well is to figure out what the partner needs (that you can supply). For example, partners typically looks for (1) exposure, (2) money, (3) expertise. If they’re lacking in one of those areas, and you can supply it, then you have a better chance to succeed.
      Brad Smith just posted Why Social Media Can’t Save Your Brand

      • says

        True, I found by going to similar blogs as well as getting into networking with the bigger bloggers on social media helped, but had to build those relationships up first, plus I had to prove myself to them, and show that I had something to bring to the table before ever asking for anything.

        I think that is really where I see the problem. You have to prove yourself to them first, before asking for anything in return. Still, really great post, and I like all your tips :)
        James Pruitt just posted How to Start Your Own Affiliate Business Today and CAsh In Online

  6. says

    Thanks for the great tips, Brad. I love the one about putting aside 20 minutes 3x per day. I’m probably the opposite of most people, in that I end up not going onto my social media sites simply because I have so many other things to do. I end up running out of time in the day. If I schedule just 20 minutes at a time, get in and get out, I’ll be more active in general.

    The tip about guest posting is also spot on. Whenever I do a guest post I get a surge in traffic. I’ve started with ones that are active, but not necessarily the big guys. Have to get my nerve up for approaching them, but what have I got to lose? The key is to write something that’s truly valuable to their readers.

    Gotta love Buffer too. Especially when they send you email reminders!
    Sharyn Sheldon just posted Business Blogging PLR – Article Pack OR Report

  7. says

    Hey Brad,
    Thanks for these tips. I’ve always had the sense that social media was time consuming, but I love your organization tips for saving time. I’ve been one to get caught up spending too much time reading things and just goofing off. I think I could set it all aside to the end of the day and get it all done in one swoop with a quick 20 minute session.
    Richard just posted Power Up Your RSS Feed

  8. says

    Yes – Owning a blog takes time – Not even to mention a successful blog with a lot of traffic and engagement like comments that needs to be moderated can be very time consuming. And time is money – So it does make sense using tools that can save you time and in return save you money and effort.
    Anton Koekemoer just posted Be authentic with your social media campaign

  9. says

    “If you don’t come up with a plan for managing social media, then it will manage you.”

    I like this Brad for I have been a witness to this. Many times I fell to the Social Media trap because I don’t have a plan to begin with! When I started making a monthly content plan, then chopping it down to weekly idea for messages – then to daily, it was so much easier for me! Ideas keep coming freely and more people are engaged.
    Alisa Conley just posted ‘Using Recruiters: The Rules of the Game Recruiters Won’t Tell You’ Is Now an Amazon Ebook!

  10. says

    After Penguin update, Google is giving the high priority for the social media. So that every blogger needs to spend some time on social media to boost their Blogging.

    Yeah, in these busy days spending so much time on social media is some what difficult to the bloggers, so that you can use some automated tools are there for auto posting the blog updates into the all social media web sites. But make sure it’s not a spam.
    Robert Jordan just posted Summer Delight: Thomson Data Offers 15% Discount on SAP Users List