We have all been there: the day is starting out a little slowly, and so you hop onto Twitter to do some social marketing. Before you know it, lunch has come and gone and half of your day has been wasted. What you thought would be a productive means of reaching your target base has really just become a time sucking squid.
The truth is, social media is a double edged sword for the business world. While providing huge potential at generating brand loyalty through one on one interaction, it is also a great way to become distracted. Which is hell on your productivity, and so your bottom line.
So, what is the solution? Do you give up such a valuable tool? Or sacrifice your productivity and hope that next time you will be able to tear yourself away?
Thankfully, the answer is somewhere in the middle. Here are five tips on using social media, without letting it get the best of you.
1. Get A Social Media Dashboard
Social media dashboards like are amazingly useful. Tools like Hootsuite allow you to manage all of your profiles at once, keep track of analytics and monitor important trends and keywords through the day. All without you even paying it much mind.
You might think that having a management center running all day that gives you immediate access to social networking would be difficult to ignore in favor of work. But it is actually a good way of keeping away from your personal profiles, as you don’t have to sign in and out. Let’s be honest here, all that Facebook time wasn’t spent promoting your brand.
2. Set A Timer
There are plenty of plugins, like Stay Focused for Chrome or LeechBlock for Firefox, that allow you to set time limits to websites. You can select how many minutes in an hour or a day you are allowed to be on a certain site. Then it locks you out of it until the next day begins. LeechBlock even allows you to lock out access to the Add-On tab while it is in place.
3. Make It An End Of Day Priority
Sometimes the best thing to do is stay off of your profiles altogether. Notice that I said ‘best’, not ‘easiest’. But if this works for you, make all social media work something done at the end of the day. You can even schedule your posts using a tool like LaterBro, so that you won’t have to worry about missing whatever time the next day is your busiest feed time.
4. Don’t Multitask
The worst thing you can do is try to hang around on a social media site while doing other things. Just a single visit to Facebook or Twitter (not to mention YouTube) can derail an entire day. Especially when you are busy, because your instinct will be to hide from the work. Make a separate time for it, or wait for a break. Just make sure it is a dedicated block of time, in itself.
5. Tweet Between Tasks
If all of the above fails you, there is always intermittent social media use. Set earmarks in your work where you can logically take breaks without messing with your productivity. For example, between publishing blog posts. Then take a quick look around your profiles before getting back to work. But you have to be disciplined to do this and pull it off without spending too much time. Which would defeat the entire purpose.
I love social media as much as the next modern day entertainment bot. There is so much information out there, so many things to do. It is easy to get completely wrapped up in it, especially when it comes to social media.
But productivity is important, so you have to find a balance. Especially when you are professionally reliant to any degree on social media. So be careful and use the tips above. Hopefully, it will be enough to keep you from getting sucked into a distraction sinkhole.