Posted by: garispang | July 3, 2009

Maximize and Manage Your Social Networking Time

social_networking_sitesIt seems like there is some sort of new social networking tool coming out every day. Social networking is the wave of the future and a powerful way to connect, market and communicate, when used properly.

LinkedIn and Twitter and Facebook; Oh My!

It seems like there is some sort of new social networking tool coming out every day. In our day to day activities we often hear people talk about blogging, tweeting and digging (and not in your garden!). If these terms are familiar to you, but make your head spin when you think about the amount of time it may take to maximize and manage them, read on. If these terms are unfamiliar to you, read on anyway, as social networking is the wave of the future and a powerful way to connect, market and communicate, when used properly.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo, Biznik, and more. All of these can be great tools for reconnecting with people and for networking in the business world. They can also be a big time suck as it is way too easy to get lost in cyber-space. Plus, who can keep up with all of the networks that interest you and that you’re invited to join?

If you decide to test the waters and use some of the social networking tools available it is very important to know why you are using it (to keep in touch, business marketing, sharing information, establishing expertise, for fun, etc.) and how you’ll get the results you’re after.

Here are a few ways to stay organized & productive with Social Networking:

  • Know your purpose or intentions each time you log on. What are you hoping to accomplish? Make a connection? Promote your business? Share information? Take a break from work and browse “for fun”?
  • Engage consistently with a limited number of networks. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
  • Participate. These networking tools will not do you any good, if you don’t use them. Keep your profiles up to date, respond to others in a timely manner, offer value to your network, etc.
  • Review satisfaction level and measure results. Keep track of who you are connecting with and what has come of your social networking efforts.
  • Create systems and boundaries. What sites will you visit daily or weekly? How much time will you allot to browse the site for new posts, new connections, events, articles, and information? How much time will you dedicate to posting, updating your status or profile, sharing information or adding value to your network? Block time on your calendar for engaging in social networking activity and use a timer to remind you when “time’s up”. Don’t get lost in cyberspace or link chasing.
  • Use appropriate applications or tools to help manage & maximize your time spent with social networks. Three that we love are ping.fm  (to update status in several networks at one time), Tweetdeck (to help organize our Twitter contacts and their posts) and Bloglines (a blog reader where we can have our favorite blog RSS feeds come into for simple browsing and time efficient reading on our terms)

Still feel overwhelmed by social media and time management? We’d love to share an additional resource with you from the “experts”:

Embrace Social Media – a Telesummit – our friends at A Red Bench are bringing the experts to you on June 10th and 11th (or via recordings). You’ll learn best practices for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogging, and much, much, more.

What are your favorite strategies to maximizing social media tools while managing your time when using them? We’d love to hear from you.

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