Social media can easily take over your time and squeeze you out of a sphere where actual work is being done. Indeed, social media are part of a marketing and advertising strategy, but a business cannot simply be about that – unless your business IS social media marketing! You need to get things done, be a gardener, an accountant, a public relations specialist, a life coach, whatever it is you do. And those things need your full attention, much more so than your social media presence does. Let’s face it: that is where your income is generated, not your latest blog post.
It helps to sit down and plan your strategy, and to make sure that you don’t squander your time with spotty presence on the internet. First of all, think about the strong and weak points of each of the social media you are using. If you have lots of image material about your work, Instagram and Pinterest will work better than twitter or a blog. Then again, that may not be true for all pictures: if you need lots of explanations to show off what the images are about, a blog or facebook page may get your further along the road to success.
Apart from the right choice, it is of utmost importance to be consistent: if you want to build up a regular audience, it pays to post regularly. Be it once a day on one platform, on a rolling rota across multiple platforms, or multiple times a day, anything could work but it needs to be regular. Once your followers see the regularity they will be ready to follow suit and check on your more regularly, as long as the content keeps them engaged.
Looking at it from your side of the table, you want to make sure not to get lost in those activities: there are ways to schedule posts on most media, and you should really take advantage of those options. Make sure to block your social media time into one single block per day, and follow up with reactions at the same time. This way, you can get everything done in one go and not have to check on things all the time.
The worst thing to do is never let go of the social media ties and spending all day on and off social media, checking things as you go, looking at your phone all day long during work and on the commute. Not only will this wash you out very quickly, but it takes away the opportunity to experience things that will be relevant to post on social media the next time you wish to engage.
In the workplace
This brings us to a completely different issue related to social media: the time spent on social media in the workplace. The interactions between employer and employee can become frayed with discussions if social media become the focus of the employee’s daily routine. Just like employees taking phone calls during the working hours has become the bane of every employer, social media are encroaching upon the working hours of everyone in an office even more.
As an employee, you need to be aware that you may not actually be allowed to make use of social media during your working hours. In years past, using the landline office phone was only allowable for absolute emergencies and nobody called at work unless it was completely unavoidable. Today, hourly updates per phone seem to be the rule rather than the exception, and cell phones have become so commonly used in the workplace that there is really no way to check if people are even getting any work done at all.
Social media are very similar to the use of cell phones: either employees use the work computer to access social media, or they simply use their smartphones to stay connected 24/7. In extreme cases, people might spend most of their days online or at least mentally engaged with their peers via messaging, texting, or regular phone calls, and they don’t get much work done in the process. I believe it to be pretty much impossible to keep engaged with work if social media interrupt constantly.
Using a cell phone at the workplace might even be considered a breach of protocol in some workplaces! Yes: some employers have strict rules that their employees can only use cell phones for emergencies. These rules are difficult to impose, of course, and there will always be a way to make a call in between chores or on your way to the bathroom, but some companies have such rules in place after bad experiences in the past, and it helps to pay attention to such rules.
As an employer, have you thought about setting up rules surrounding this subject? You might be well advised to not only think about such rules but to bring them into play sooner rather than later. If past experiences serve, the social networks will get even more important than they already are today, which makes it of utmost necessity to impose some ground rules, as basic as they might be.
If you already have rules in place, are those formal rules and everyone has signed off on them? If not, why not? Rules are no good to anyone if they are not followed up and imposed when necessary. It’s a good idea to have rules in place and make your employees aware of them. That will give you some ground rules to work with, while still leaving the opportunity to keep your employees on a long leash most of the time. If, however, you realise that productivity is going down and your people seem to be mentally somewhere else on occasion, you have something to work with to bring them back to work.
All this being said, this is not about limiting your use of social media. It’s more about making sure it does not fill your whole day and remains constricted to certain times of day. You’ll find that focusing your consumption of social media to certain times will enhance your focus quite dramatically and ultimately make social media more enjoyable.
Here is a complete list of the five elements of the “social media week”. Some of these are short videos, some are blog posts. Have a look at:
Links will be added to the items as they are published during the week of 19-23 February 2018.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.