Yesterday someone sent me a question that really got me thinking. It doesn’t take much to send my brain off on a 2-hour tangent, but this was a question we all struggle with. Her comment and question was this:
“I am marginally involved in social media, but, like most of us these days, I'm so busy taking care of the “have-to's” that there is little time to devote to keeping things current on Facebook and LinkedIn. I recognize, however, that I always manage to make time for the really important things. How important is social media? “
Now I am no life coach or productivity expert (that made me laugh just typing it!) but when it comes to prioritizing activities around social media here are some questions you must FIRST ask yourself:
- What are my goals? What am I trying to achieve in my work and personal life (if they are separate?)
- What activities must I be engaged in to get me to these goals? If your goal is to move into a leadership position (which hers was) then personal and professional development are essential activities. If your goal is to start your own business, then networking, learning to market and sell become essential. So we must first identify the activities.
- NOW- what are the best ways to perform these activities? What tools can I use to do these activities better, faster, BIGGER? If your goal is to learn management skills, take a class, but also find and connect with other top leading managers and leaders on Twitter to learn from the best (go beyond the book). Network with others in management classes on Facebook or LinkedIn to share knowledge and accelerate our learning. Through social media you can create your own mastermind group of experts where you can listen, ask questions, and grow faster than you could on your own. You are also putting your name and expertise out there creating more opportunities for yourself. My oldest daughter is a zoology major up at CSU and I have encouraged her to connect with and learn from others in her field on Twitter.
- Lastly, what are those other “HAVE TO” activities that I am filling my day with and how can I re-prioritize or become more efficient while doing those?
If you are spending 2-3 hours attending meetings that are not productive…ask for agendas, call in instead of attending live, etc. If you are spending too much time on email, commit to becoming more efficient with that by creating rules and telling people to send you messages only when necessary- no FYI messages. And at home how are you spending your time? If you are spending time watching television at home, well then….. YOU HAVE TIME!
Social media tools are just that…TOOLS. They can help you perform some of these activities on a much bigger scale and less myopic than other activities (ie- going to Chamber lunches or Association meetings) (Yes, I am anticipating the hate mail on that comment), but the bottom line is you have to start with the end in mind. What are your goals and how can social media tools help you reach those goals?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this~ What are YOU doing to make time for social media? Is it working for you?
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