7 ways PR pros can be productive on social media

It’s easy to get lost in the virtual sea of content, especially if you’re managing profiles on several social media platforms. Here’s how you can make the most of the time you spend online. 

It is possible to be on social media for three hours every day but be productive for only five of those minutes. That’s a lot of time wasted, even if you were on one of the most powerful places on the Internet. Too many people are getting caught in the web of procrastination, and often, social media is the root cause.

Success on social media involves using the platforms we are presented in the most efficient way possible. Instead of being on social media for three hours and being productive on it for only five minutes, you can be on social media for 30 minutes and be productive for 25 of those minutes.

These seven tips will help you increase your social media productivity:

1. Use Mindful Browsing.

Mindful Browsing is a great tool to control what your web browser can and cannot access.

When I find myself on a social media site for too long, Mindful Browsing will block that social media site from my browser. If I want to regain access to that social media site (or any site I block with Mindful Browsing), I must wait for 10 seconds.

In a busy world where our attention spans are less than that of a goldfish, 10 seconds of waiting seems like an eternity. Instead of waiting, I take action—writing blog posts or creating products—which I wouldn’t do if it weren’t for the tool.

Mindful Browsing makes it hard for you to access the social media site of your choice and makes other (and more productive) options easier.

2. Limit yourself to a few social networks.

One of the most common mistakes I see people do is create as many social media accounts as they can and grow them all at the same time.

That’s the equivalent of trying to learn Chinese, Russian, Spanish, French, German and Italian all at the same time. You may learn some words from every language, but becoming fluent in any one of those languages is difficult due to differences in words and their pronunciations.

Success on each social network is different from one another. Valuable content and effective promotion make up a successful social media strategy. However, there are tools for certain social networks and small differences on each that change what it will take to be successful.

Focus your time on one or two social networks.

When you know how to grow your audience—you have over 10,000 followers, subscribers or likes and gain more than 100 each day–integrate another social network into your social media strategy.

This will save you time because you’ll read how-to articles for one or two social networks instead of trying to learn about six networks at the same time. You will also have fewer outlets on which to lose time.

3. Bulk schedule content.

HootSuite makes it possible to schedule bulk content for Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and other social networks. The bulk schedule option can save you hours every day.

Manually scheduling and sending the tweets I post to my followers each day wouldn’t leave enough room for product creation and writing blog posts. HootSuite Pro and the bulk scheduler allows me to schedule over 100 of my prewritten tweets in just six clicks. These tweets are prewritten in a CSV file, and they are either motivational quotes or my own blog posts.

Some people may wonder why I tweet repeat content, but most of your followers won’t see your content the first time. That goes for most social networks, too. Blog posts that I shared in 2014 still get retweets and favorites, and start conversations to this day.

4. Watch your time.

More time spells trouble, even if this time is being used to grow your social media audience.

Social media is the best tool on the web to promote your content and products, but spending too much time on it may mean you have no products and only a few blog posts. Then you don’t have much to promote.

Spend more time creating than you do on social media. If you spend two hours growing your social media audience, match or exceed that amount of time creating and writing.

5. Have big projects.

You must have a reason to exit out a social media site; I log out because I am always in the middle of creating, finalizing and/or publishing a product. You must have something more important to do than be on your social networks because this important thing will be on your mind.

As you look through tweets or YouTube videos, you may suddenly think about your big project, which may include finishing a YouTube video, finalizing videos for a training course or writing a book.

6. Focus on strategic interaction.

You don’t have to interact with your followers immediately after they mention or respond to you.

The more time we spend interacting, the less time we spend creating and writing. However, interacting with your audience is necessary for building relationships, making good friends and getting testimonials.

I only interact with my followers when I only have my iPhone with me, or I am too tired to write a blog post or create a product. I almost never interact with my followers in the morning, because that is my peak level of productivity. I’ll still say, “hi” and provide valuable advice within a day, usually in the evening when my willpower to work on projects wanes.

7. Don’t click on trending topics.

Trending topics—which enable us to see news in real time—are tempting to click. We want to know what is happening, who is saying what and which meme has dominated the Internet now.

Clicking on the trending topics is one of the easiest ways to procrastinate on social media. I encourage you to not click on the trending topics, but I know that won’t be enough.

Ask yourself each time you look at the trending topics: “Would I rather read the news, or be in the news as an excellent leader in my niche?”

Social media is a valuable tool for making connections, promoting your content, and growing your audience. But many people lose too much time that could have been spent creating and writing. The key to social media productivity is to find ways to do the same things more effectively, in a shorter amount of time.

What do you think of these methods, PR Daily readers? Do you have tips for boosting productivity on social media?

Marc Guberti is an author, blogger and digital marketing expert. A version of this article originally appeared on Business 2 Community.

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