Anyone who’s ever done it can tell you: social media management can be a lot of work. Whether taking care of Customers on social channels or utilizing social to build brand awareness or drive sales, there are many things that must be done on a daily (several of them, multiple times per day) – and we deal with things an array of things happening in real time as well.
We’re all very fortunate to have such a goldmine of information and so many handy tools (many of them free, no less!) readily available online to help us hone and utilize our expertise. Of course the other edge of that sword is a seemingly endless flow of blog posts, articles, white papers, case studies, infographics, apps, updates to apps – and countless reports from all of those tools and apps – which often triggers a sense of information and task overload that can destroy true productivity and really suck some of the joy out of our work.
If you’re finding that your work time has become a frustrating cycle of lingering too long on some tasks, continually punting less desirable to-do’s from one day to the next, and the ever-popular falling down an internet rabbit hole or two – it’s time for a little early spring cleaning of your day to day processes.
These three simple steps can help streamline your daily workflow and increase your productivity – letting you get more done in less time, so you can spend more time doing more of the things you love.
1. Plan your day the day before
If you want to glide effortlessly into a productive morning, the last thing you do each day should be to plan the things you intend to do the next day. This single step has had a profound impact on my own productivity. Rather than trying to plan my day as the first item on my daily to-do list (in the midst of the interruptions and demands of a full inbox, backlogged Twitter and Facebook feeds, etc.), I’m now able to get to work immediately on my Top Five Things list I prepared the day before and enjoy a strong tide of forward momentum that usually carries me through the lunch hour.
2. Focus on only key goals and metrics
Having the “true north” that goals offer is an excellent way to keep from getting caught up in time-consuming activities that may not be moving the needle for your business. However, having too many ambitions for a social program – and the massive metrics list and data that can accompany them – isn’t the path to productivity and success, either.
Take a look at the top three goals for your company and come up with an equal number of clear but meaningful, reasonable and measurable goals for your social media efforts. Then, choose the 1 – 3 of the most critical metrics that will illustrate your degree of success against those goals. Then, spend an hour or two setting up a dashboard (your social media management tool of choice should facilitate that, or you can DIY it with the help of Google Analytics) to help you easily track the few but mission-critical metrics you’ve established, moving forward.
3. Eliminate superfluous social networks – and the tools to track them
You don’t have to be on every social network in existence. Nor do you have to become glued to every single hot new tool the experts tout. Smart choices about which networks are well suited to reaching your audiences and which tools indeed save more time than is spent poring over them can go a long way toward freeing up your workflow – and your valuable time.
To narrow your target networks, you must assess where your brand is being actively discussed. If you haven’t engaged in a meaningful listening campaign around your company or brand lately, do so. Where are people talking about you the most? If the only conversations you can ever find about yourself are on Facebook and Twitter – and you’re not trying to crack into a new market that dominates any particular niche network – then pour your efforts into Facebook and Twitter. Significant, strategic efforts on two or three strong or high-potential channels will yield far more dividends than a more fragmented approach across more, but less targeted networks.
Similarly, if you have a mile-long list of social media tools you find yourself obsessively checking on a daily basis, take a good hard look at which tools are lending you insights that roll up to your achieving or exceeding your goals. Anything that isn’t, ditch. If it’s something important in building and maintaining your expertise, continue to use it, but in a more structured way (maybe check it weekly, vs. daily).
These three small but impactful changes are just a few ideas to help make your time working in social media less overwhelming and more efficient and effective.
What are some ways you’ve decluttered your own workflow? Please share your tips with us in the comments. Let’s light a spark!