Making time to execute a social media strategy can rattle even the most experienced marketers. According to a study by eMarketer, 73 percent of marketers say finding time to create content is their biggest marketing challenge.
Here are four ways to avoid the social media time suck:
Learn to avoid distractions
Reuters estimates the average worker loses 2.1 hours of productivity every day to interruptions and distractions. To avoid wasting time, prioritize your week. Since unexpected issues can come up, plan for the best and worst.
If you have three hours a day to dedicate to social media, what do you want to accomplish during that time? Proper planning will improve your productivity and efficiency. Also, determine what your top distractions are and eliminate them.
Determine when you are most productive
Focus on what will impact your productivity the most. Determine what time of day you are the most productive and which activities are the most significant to help you stay on track. Are you an early riser, night owl, or somewhere in between? Create a daily schedule to improve your productivity.
You will also want to keep in mind the best times of day to engage on social media. An infographic by KISSmetrics provides valuable insight into the best times of day to engage on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Some of the findings include:
- 5 p.m. is the best time for retweets.
- The middle of the week and the weekends are the best days to tweet.
- 12-6 p.m. is the best time to tweet to increase click-through rates.
- Saturday is the best day to share.
- Noon is the most effective time to post.
Tips to stay focused
Let’s talk about some don’ts that many of us do. Do any of these sound familiar?
- Your best friend is having problems with her significant other, so you keep your phone close in case she calls.
- It’s baseball season and your team is playing, so you keep Internet radio tuned to the game.
- You have email anxiety, which forces you to check email every few minutes. You never know what you might miss!
- One of your colleagues loves to chat online and pings you every few minutes with a question or joke.
- You schedule tweets, post to your personal Facebook page, and read Psychology Today all at the same time. You’re a master multi-tasker.
I used to think I could do everything at once. I considered multi-tasking an art form, a higher form of organization than my counterparts who only focused on one thing at a time. I could not have been more wrong.
In recent years I buckled down and forced myself to devote all of my attention to one task at a time. The quality of my work improved, and my stress level decreased significantly. Some tactics that work for me include:
- Closing my email when I work on social media tasks.
- Closing all Internet windows and tabs except for the one I need.
- Disabling instant messaging to avoid distractions.
- Taking 15 minutes a day to indulge in activities such as checking personal social media profiles, responding to texts, or chatting with friends.
- Spending 30 minutes to an hour each morning and evening to review emails and respond.
- Sticking to my schedule and working only on the tasks I scheduled in the time allotted.
Depending on your schedule and social media strategy, there are many tools that can help you accomplish more in less time. Below are three different types of tools social media marketers can use to get the most out of their time.
Curation tools to quickly gather and share content:
Social aggregators and management tools to follow and engage on multiple platforms:
Social bookmarks to effectively organize and store websites:
- Evernote—not exactly a bookmarking tool, but very useful for content curation.
Most of us have to work to manage our time. Consider the following questions to determine what you can do to focus better:
- What are your top three social media goals, and do you have a plan to reach them?
- How much time can you dedicate each day to specific tasks?
- What steps can you take to improve your focus?
- Which type of tool—curator, aggregator or social bookmark—can you use to help save time?
Ashley Zeckman is the marketing manager for TopRank Online Marketing where a version of this post originally ran.