“The 5 S’s” – Part one of a two part series looking at how to best manage your time when it comes to social media in 2010.
Part one: The daily routine.
Scan. Select. Schedule. Share. Sweep.
The following takes place between 7.00am Monday and 10.00pm Sunday, starting from 4 January 2010…tick, tock, tick… events occur in real time.
You think Jack Bauer‘s got it tough?
Granted, a normal day for Jack is governed by a ticking clock, but so is the average week for a social media enthusiast.
The deeper I delve into this space, the more I’m convinced that time management and productivity processes are just as important as knowledge and experience.
With that in mind I thought it would be useful to share my ‘template’ for fitting social media into an average week.
Now, this approach may not be possible / right for you (for a number of reasons), but you never know…so here goes…
The 2010 social media daily / weekly planner
There are two distinct parts to my approach:
– Things I do on a daily basis, with a focus on how I use Twitter (the subject of today’s post)
– Things I assign to certain days aka the heavier lifting (part two of this series, to be posted soon)
The routine I (attempt to) follow daily is based around The Five S’s”
Scan. Select. Schedule. Share. Sweep.
As mentioned up top, knowledge is paramount in this space as things tend to develop and change so quickly…and, I get a kick out of learning new things, so it’s a win / win.
The following structure permits for the push / pull balance that works for me.
Scan (step 1)
These sources are specific to the areas I’m interested in, and include several ‘vertical’ subjects i.e. retail (in addition to general Social Media, PR, Marketing and Communications sources).
Of the posts I do read / review, I’ll flag up a handful that the members of my ‘community’ might find useful.
Schedule (step 3)
I then log in to Hootsuite (a Twitter client which allows you to schedule your Tweets) and line up my flagged content that I want to share for the day.
This is probably the step that saves me the most time, but creates the most value for me and the people I’m connected to (Hootsuite also doubles as a great filing system, keeping all your sent items within the application).
There are tens of tools that can help you do this. In fact, just this week QuickOnlineTips posted a great list of 15 tools you can use to schedule tweets – worth bookmarking.
You might want to put these links in other places as well i.e. Facebook
Share (step 4)
Hootsuite facilitates ‘structured sharing’ – it allows me to send out the links / posts that I think are interesting at the times of the day I see fit (all done at the start of the day, limiting the ‘business’ hours impact) – it essentially means, I can do my bit for the community while (attempting) to keep my employers happy.
It also means I’m giving more quality time to the content I’m sharing, as opposed to treating it as a a chore / afterthought.
Scheduling some content frees up time to conduct a handful of ‘sweeps’ during the day (this is where I check Twitter, my RSS, emails, replies etc).
As a general rule I assign 4 or 5 slots a day to ‘reacting’ to content coming in.
Other tools like TweetDeck, Seesmic and Monitter can help ensure nothing slips through the Twitter cracks via keyword searches / notifications.
Another great tool for Twitter (that I wish I used more) is the ‘favourites’ function – if something pops up you like the look of, hit favourite and come back to it later in the day.
I normally like to finish the day with one final sweep to make sure I haven’t missed anything…again, time permitting.
The outputs of this approach
In essence, this enables the time I allocate to social media to be split pretty evenly, and hopefully productively – 50% of time spent on the proactive ‘pushing out’ of content, and the other 50% spent on the reactive ‘pulling in’ of content / dialogue (and interacting where appropriate).
Some general principals
– Quality over quantity (in both push and pull facets) – the big one for me, volume doesn’t necessarily equate to value
– Think about your audience – I tend not to forward stuff by sources like Mashable because most of my community follows that feed already, but am more inclined to share something that people may not have seen
– ‘Find’ time to say thanks – if someone sends around something you really liked, drop them a little note at the end of the day (for the really time stretched, do this on the bus home from work – use ‘dead’ time to your advantage)
– Don’t be robotic – on one hand its ok to be organised, but don’t just be a bot and fire stuff out ‘broadcast’ style all day – it comes back to balance – people want to interact with people, not tools / machines
– Be flexible – some days this approach works a treat, on other occasions ‘forgetaboudit’ – the great content you want to consume will still be there at the end of the day…and the day after that…
This is just one element of the mix.
In the next post we’ll get a bit broader and look at how you can split your week up to make sure you’re doing the other things that add value.
We still haven’t looked at things like:
– When to write your own content (and when to distribute it)
– When to (thoughtfully) comment on other people’s content
– And five other things that are worth including in your weekly social media mix
BUT, the daily routine is paramount. It sets up the ‘push’ part of the equation…and permits for the ‘pull’.
I liken it to exercise.
There’s no point going to the gym five times a week if you’re not eating well most days.
The daily routine, in essence, is your meal plan.
So, that’s part one…hope it was helpful…part two is where we start the heavier lifting.
Do you have a routine / some tips worth sharing?
Post your comments in the box below.
P.S I wanted to say thanks again to everyone who read / shared the recent top 99 posts of 2009 feature…it was great to see / receive so much positive feedback.