How To Be Amazing At Social Media Without Letting It Consume Your Life

Good lord but maintaining your online life can get exhausting.  There’s always a new platform to sign up for, more people to follow, new best practices to perfect.  When I’m doing a Clever Session with a client, social media overwhelm is inevitably one of the first things we talk about.

Nearly everyone I’ve worked has said some version of the following:
“I know I need to use social media but I have no idea where to start.”
“It’s just so time consuming! I’ve got shit to do!”
“Do I reallllllly have to use __________?”
“How can I find time in my day to watch all of the cat videos I want to see?”

Dude. I know.  I totally, totally know.  I work hard to maintain some level of work/life balance and for me that means no data plan on my smartphone and only using two social media platforms (I use Twitter and Facebook - let’s be friends!)  It’s taken me a while (and an abandoned Pinterest account) to figure out a social media plan that works for me, promotes my stuff, but doesn’t consume my life.  Here’s what I’ve figured out (and what I suggest to my social media overwhelmed clients

Choose 2 (or 3) social media platforms and get good at them
It’s much, much better to do two things well than five things poorly.  If you ‘just’ have a Facebook page and Twitter account that is 100% acceptable. Devote your time to writing interesting, click-worthy tweets, creating Twitter lists that will help you reach your goals, and posting clever things on your business’s Facebook page.

If you’ve chosen LinkedIn, reach out to people you want to work with and post helpful articles. If you’re on Pinterest, write funny, helpful captions. Instagram? Share photos of the products you’re developing or behind-the-scenes photos.

You get the idea.  You’ll see better results (and feel a lot less stressed) if you really commit to becoming amazing at just a few things.

Pre-schedule your social media
This is the absolute best thing you can do to make social media manageable.  I (somewhat controversially) recommend that you tweet about your blog posts multiple times - which can obviously get time consuming.  Set aside an hour or two each week and spend that time scheduling your tweets and Facebook updates.  If you’re super organized (and feel so inclined) you can even schedule out Instagram photos and pins on Pinterest.  I use Hootsuite for all my pre-scheduling needs, but there are heaps of other pre-scheduling services.

You should also set aside at least 20 minutes a day to pop into your social media account and interact with your friends and followers in real time.  Robots we are not.

Work around the limitations of the platforms you’re using
Just because you want to post a tiny video of your products, doesn’t mean you have to create a Vine account.  If you’ve already got an Instagram account, you can use their video option.  I don’t have an instagram account, but I regularly share images on Twitter by using Twitpic.  Do you love to curate collections of inspirational images but don’t want a Pinterest account?  Create a photo album on your Facebook page.

Choose a platform that makes sense for your business
Really, arguments could be made for just about any social media platform for just about any business.  Regardless, here are my two cents for which platforms make the most sense for which business.
Twitter: just about everybody.  It allows you to interact directly with customers and potential clients in 140-character bites.
Facebook: most companies - especially brick and mortar businesses. Facebook is the grandma of social media so most people view it as a foregone conclusion that any reputable business will have a Facebook page.  It’s also the platform with the most users.
Instagram: photographers/designers/lifestyle brands.  Your goods are visually appealing!  You should be showing people that!
freelancers/marketers/consultants.  This is where you find potential clients and collaborators.  Obviously.
Pinterest: anyone who markets to women.
Vimeo/Youtube/Vine: speakers/coaches/companies whose product must be demoed to understand.

Which social media platforms do you use?  Do you preschedule?  How do you avoid the overwhelm?

photo by sean mcgrath // cc


PowerUp Social

Matching social media platform to audience is definitely the best place to start. Not all networks are needed for all businesses.

We’ll add one caveat, though: consider Google+ not just for the social media marketing aspect, but for its increasing impact on SEO.

Kieran O'Connor

Everyone should take a long hard look at how they use their time on social media. Tweeting while on the train? Fine. On Facebook after supper while watching TV? Fine. Using social media when you should be working on client issues? Not good.

Maria Ross

Thank you for giving me permission to ditch some of the social networks that are just not working for me! Linking to this article in my next post.


I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, so this came at a good time! Sometimes I just get sucked into checking Tweetdeck, Facebook, etc. all day and not blogging or commenting, or having a life. Not good!

Also I really disagree with the commenters that sort of complained that you tweet about a post at most, like 3 times a day. Your tweets are always different, funny, and creative. It’s the nature of Twitter that things need to be tweeted multiple times: people don’t scroll through all the day’s worth of posts like on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram because, egads that would be impossible if you follow a lot of people! Every blogger I follow and know does it. Some (including me) much more than 3x a day.

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