We’ve all been there. A new day starts, and we’re ready to work.
As we open our laptops, it hits us. “I wonder what my friends have been up to? Let me quickly look at Instagram!” Fast forward to 30 minutes later… You’ve lost track of time, and you’re trying to figure out why you’re there in the first place. Do you ever feel that way?
2020 has been a year of uncertainty, and no one can blame anyone for being distracted. And, browsing on social media too long can contribute to that. We can be more productive, intentional and strategic by refocusing our social media efforts.
I’d like for you to take a moment, and ask yourself two questions:
1) “Why (and how often) do I use social media?”
2) “What are my goals with my social media efforts?”
These two questions hold the key to better understanding why – and how – you spend time on social media.
5 Ways to Refocus on Social Media Efforts
How to maximize your time and productivity
- Understanding your current social media efforts. Answer this question: “Why, and how often, do I go on social media?” Does the answer surprise you? If you had to estimate how much time you spend on social media each day or week, what would that look like? Now, think about what it is that you’re doing on social media. Seeing what your friends are up to? Creating content? Networking? Running ads? Once you have a better idea of why and how often you’re on social media, it can help you plan your day/week more strategically. Task for the week: keep a journal and jot down how often you’re on social media, listing which networks, and noting your activity.
Defining Social Media Goals
2. Setting goals on social media. I get a wide range of responses to this question. “I’d love to gain followers, sell more product, and increase brand awareness.” Those are admirable goals. Marketers refer to SMART – which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound – goals. SMART goals help to set expectations. If you’re spending countless hours on social media without a clear reason, think about how that contributes to your progress on specific goals. Your task this week: click the above link about SMART goals and answer questions to create your social media goals.
Developing a Plan
3. Creating a weekly (social media) plan. After answering questions and exploring SMART goal setting, it’s time to figure out how you can best use your time on social media. Tip: I recommend that you allocate only certain hours of the day to social media. Task: Find time in your daily schedule, and block that time off on your calendar to dedicate to social media efforts. Certain tasks like research, content creation, and performance analysis will take longer.
A Related Story from an Entrepreneur
- I’d love to share an anecdote that I think captures how to refocus your time. While talking with an entrepreneur friend about productivity, she made an interesting point. “I have dedicated times of day in which I do certain work, depending on my energy levels.” I especially loved that point about energy levels, because not everyone is an early bird… On Mondays, my friend spends mornings responding to business inquiries, while during afternoons, she conducts follow-up calls. Tuesdays are her “creative days,” where she brainstorms ideas in the mornings, and writes new content in the afternoons. More focused and intentional work results in not spending *hours* on one task, but rather distributing your work, according to productivity levels!
4. Researching who your audience is, and writing content that resonates with them. I often hear people say, “Nowadays, I feel I have to be on every social network. I could be missing out on potential sales or clients, if I’m not.” Actually, that’s wrong. You need to be on the right social network(s) that make the most sense as to where your audience is. How do you find your audience? How do you know where your audience “hangs out?” Read my post on How to Find Your People: Audience Personas.
Analyze your social media results
5. Measuring your social media efforts. Just like you wouldn’t open a book and begin reading a chapter in the middle of it, your approach to social media shouldn’t start in the middle.
- Before you create new social media posts, you need to define 3 things. 1. Identify your main goal(s) of using social media. 2. How will your social posts support your goal(s)? 3. Measure how your social media posts are tracking against the goal(s). It sounds simple, but too often, these crucial steps are missed. It shouldn’t be a “let’s throw something at a wall and hope it sticks” method.
- Tip: While there’s nothing wrong with *testing* content on social media to see what resonates, there is a problem with not measuring HOW that content is performing with the goals you’ve set. Goals should be clear, and social media should aim to support them.
6. Bonus tip: Balancing your online and offline time. It may sound contradictory to advise you to spend time offline, but I highly recommend it. Take time away from social media and computer screens. Practice self care. Go for a walk or exercise. Set up a designated office space (don’t work from your bed!), and avoid checking emails late at night. Do whatever makes you happy, offline! You’ll be surprised at how energized you’ll feel when you sit back down to start working again.
What do you want to focus on right now with social media? Reply with one project or task you want to dedicate more time to.
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