3 Steps to Social Media Productivity

We all love social media, don’t we? The problem is not our affection for the various platforms, which are growing by the day. It is our time and energy spent on them. They are serious productivity killers, and so many of us have found the clock jumping ahead by several hours without our noticing thanks to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and other websites that are there to tempt us away from our work.

For the majority of us, however, social media is becoming an increasingly important part of our lives. Especially our professional lives, as more companies integrate the platforms into their customer service and networking plans. Not to mention those of us who work freelance or own small businesses, and so benefit greatly from what is provided by these valuable resources.

So how do we balance social media use and productivity? I have personally found three main tips to be helpful.

1. Take a Look at What You Need

What is it that has led you to social media, and what do you hope to gain from it? Even social users who are only on there to speak to friends and family can find their lives being derailed in the process, which is why it is so important to map out what you want with it. For example, if you are there for social reasons only, you should keep in mind that it is more beneficial to communicate in other ways.

Instead of spending a bunch of time on Facebook and Twitter, why not arrange a meeting face to face or make a phone call? For those who are looking to use social media professionally, is it for customer engagement? Finding clients? Promoting yourself? Scoping the competition? All of the above? How does isolating these needs change your plan for social media use?

2. Set Times For Activity

Set Times For Activity

Whatever your reason for using social media, the best way to keep your productivity from being altered is through scheduling your time on certain sites and sticking to that plan. It takes some discipline, but it will become habit after awhile and get progressively easier to keep from wasting time. Many people I know put multiple times during the day where they allow themselves on: mornings before work, during lunch, in the evening before bed, ect.

Try setting an amount of time you can spend, even professionally, on each site. If you need help sticking to this, try a program like LeechBlock or StayFocused. They allow you to set websites you are not allowed to visit during certain times of the day. Or, they limit the amount of time you can spend on a certain set of sites per day.

3. Get a Social Media Dashboard

Get a Social Media Dashboard

These helpful tools will allow you to cut the amount of time you spend using social media professionally by linking them all together and giving you a multitude of features that should improve your productivity. Embrace new tools: Even Google can be used creatively!

You can schedule posts for multiple accounts, set keyword filters for reputation management, put people into groups, see analytics on followers, such as when the bulk of them are online and much more. There are a lot of these out there, as the demand increases. The more popular ones tend to be Hootsuite, SocialBro and Tweetdeck.

Do you love social media but it is eating into your productivity and time? Let us know how you have been dealing with this in the comments.

Image Credits: goals, Flickr, Flickr.

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