Social media will suck up as much time as you let it. Balancing social media activity with the meaningful work and relationships we have in real life is vital.
One solution is to make a to-do list of social media tasks and stick to the priorities.
Here are 10 on my list:
1. Check your Twitter picture
On social media, people get fewer clues about us. No tone of voice. No facial expressions that shift and change during the conversation. So for goodness sakes, replace that egghead avatar on Twitter with a photo. Otherwise, why would anyone want to engage with you?
2. Write a better Twitter profile
Yes, with just 160 characters, you’ve got to carefully choose the words to use here. But just leaving it blank shouldn’t be one of those choices. Like a faceless follower, an account without a personable description is easy to block and hardly a reason to follow back.
3. Create and nurture your LinkedIn profile
Recent research showed that eight in 10 companies included LinkedIn when recruiting. (I wonder if the other 20 percent are still using mimeograph machines and manual typewriters.)
Regardless of whether you are actively looking for work, LinkedIn is now just an extension of your résumé. You need a profile there.
4. Start a blog or website
This is a smart way for people to give themselves a professional boost. With the software and tools available, it’s pretty easy to set up a website that gives a platform to show your skills, expertise, and volunteer work that differentiates you. So even if you don’t have your own business, setting up a landing page that is visually appealing is a great idea in a highly competitive job market.
5. Use Buffer
Staying up with all the tools for social sharing is almost impossible. But a few make it so much easier to share content that they’re worth exploring. Buffer is a fabulous tool that lets you choose what, when and where to share posts. In a few minutes you can pre-load some great stuff on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
6. Use HootSuite
Another tool to use for scheduled sharing is HootSuite, which lets you also select which tweets you want to see—such as a list of people you follow or tweets that use a certain hashtag or that mention your posts. Like Buffer, Hootsuite has a free version that works quite well.
7. Share images on an uber-visual site, such as Instagram or Pinterest
Sharing images and other visual content is one of the most magical aspects of social media. Either of these two sites makes that magic even easier.
8. Check your Klout score
This social site, which offers a score for people’s influence, has had—and still has—many critics. But I am not alone in believing that layering in this kind of social influence rating is here to stay. If you think about it, the concept is actually ancient and time-tested; it just seems new because it’s gone high tech. Social rank has existed since one caveman coldcocked another caveman for the last bite of wooly mammoth meat. No doubt, nearby cavewomen noticed that. And guess who found more influence among the group after that?
Thankfully, our species is more sophisticated these days. Yet Klout really just brings analytics and measurement to our age-old penchant for assessing influence.
9. Check your Kred
Kred is a social scoring tool with a different rating system. It is more detailed and transparent than Klout, telling you how many points you have, and why. Kred also has its critics. But it’s worthwhile to know about Klout and Kred.
10. Get to know Google Alerts
This handy tool lets you set up a search that updates as mentions occur on the Internet (at an interval you pick.) You can use any search term. For staying on top of your reputation online, it’s a good idea to set up a search that alerts you when your name appears.
I’m sure some people have different things at the top of their social media to-do list.
Becky Gaylord worked as a reporter for more than 15 years in Washington, D.C., Cleveland, and Sydney, Australia, before she launched the consulting practice, Gaylord LLC. You can read Becky’s blog here. A version of this story first appeared on the 12 Most blog.