Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How do you budget your social media time?

I am always trying to tweak/examine how I spend my time with various social media sites and tools. A big reason why, is because I honestly love connecting with people and sharing ideas. I learn SO much, but at the same time, I am a social media consultant, so I have to balance out the benefits to my business, as well.

I have two rules for budgeting my social media time:

1 - Spend 10 times as much time OFF my blog, as I do on it,

2 - Spend 10 times as much time promoting OTHER people's content and blog posts, as I do my own.

Other than that, I am pretty flexible. And really, I think I need more rules. Like I spend a lot of time on Twitter, because I love connecting with SO many amazingly smart people, but I also see traffic benefits to my blog. And the connections I make via Twitter occasionally do lead to work/speaking opportunities.

So I'm always on the lookout for ways to improve how I budget my social media time? How do you manage? And how much time do you spend with social media each day? Being a social media consultant, I obviously spend more time with these tools than most people.

How do you manage your time? And perhaps more importantly, how do you determine if your time is well-spent? What are you looking for?

Pic Tunnels of Time via Flickr user fdecomite


Anonymous said...

I set limits on my time so I can make sure I spend it where it makes the most sense. Like you, staying connected with others via Twitter is important to me, so I try to have 3 Twitter sessions per day - morning, to catch the UK and East Coast folks, noon to catch the West, and end of day to catch Australia/NZ and others who are up late in the East!

The rest of my social media time I see as part of overall marketing, so I don't really separate it out.

Thanks for asking, Mack; I look forward to hearing tips and techniques from others here. You rock! :)

Anonymous said...

I spend my afternoons, between meetings and projects and research with my social media. In the evenings, I only use Twitter when I'm watching TV, I only blog on the train. The rests of my evenings I spend working on my social media aggregation tool to solve all of these problems!

R. Efrain Ayala said...

Managing my social media time is easy, because I do not actively do it. My college campus was extremely e-mail oriented. I have been ingrained with a tick like characteristic. I continually check posts, statuses, updates and e-mails.

At times I find myself scrambling to make up the time. I am interested to see how others manage their time and hopefully I will pick up some pointers!

Thanks for posting this topic and thanks for taking various strategies.

Anonymous said...

Mack, I have a tremendous amount of ADD when it comes to social media, but am finding evenings work best for at least trying to catch up-Twitter though is a tough one to ignore, especially when running twirl or tweetdeck with its subtle little ding or chirp- then there is the blog post-which we all know can take time to construct-still trying to balance that one.

Simon Burgess said...

Hi MAck,

Good question. I guess as I'm trying to start out in social media and and learning a lot quickly I'm spending more time than perhaps I should (when other work is interfered with).

I tend to spend an hour in the morning going through my Google reader checking up on blog's like your's, Altitude, John Walsh, and Chris Brogan.

I spend this much time because I want to start my own blog by the end of the year and doing as much research as possible.

I twitter all the time in moments of calm but then might have to leave it for a few hours which kills me. I find I am spending less time on Facebook and Linkedin these days now that both my pages are established.

Twitter I find most useful as the people who I respect and am learning a lot from always alert me to new posts, interesting articles etc. It's connected me already with about 50 people I didn't know a month ago when I started using it, and that's 50 sources pairs of eyes to help search out stuff I don't have the time to search for.

cheers @siburgess79

Tamara Sullivan said...

I've thinking about this since I read it but got caught up in conversations on Twitter. This is because I'm not budgeting my social media time. This is starting to cause a problem with me because I'm not as productive as I should be. I want to stay connected to people and continue to learn from everyone but social media can be very distracting if not budgeted.

Anonymous said...

Hi - been following you on Twitter for a while. I think it would be very smart to have some schedule or routine to control the amount of time spent reading blogs, talking on Twitter, but it's hard to limit. It's kind of like being at a party and determining when to leave. I try to watch the clock and tell myself, "Step away from the computer in 20 minutes."

Anonymous said...

One area that I have budgeted time for is commenting. There are so many great posts written and I would like to give some input, however I find I don't have enough time in the day to read/respond to every one ... So I've set aside Friday mornings at a minimum(present company excluded :-)).

Throughout the week I'll star certain posts that have caught my attention, and then will read them thoroughly on Fridays. I also believe I can give more attention to them that way.

Twitter is a constant in the background, and I've sorted certain people into "must read" silo in TweetDeck so I can keep an eye on anything hot, and check the rest when time is available.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I do a good job of budgeting my time, but probably do a good job of maximizing it. I tend to use my iPhone to access Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Reader -- my primary social tools and leave my laptop for blogging.

So I squeeze the social thing in during walks and waits. The only real budgeting I do are my daily Twoogle Breaks. I take 10 min twice a day to check all unread Tweets, at least 4 pages of Google reader (60 posts)and a quick check of Facebook wall -- all from my phone.

Anonymous said...

Like a lot of folks have mentioned here, I too have to block out certain windows for Twitter or Facebook everyday, or I get drawn into conversations and distracted from other concerns.

I generally screen them on a schedule like becky carroll outlined above in her comments.

Anonymous said...

I'm kind of data driven, so I find reporting tools like RescueTime incredibly useful for setting a baseline around actual time/week I use various social media apps/programs. That way, I can actually set goals like 10x more time on other blogs relative to mine.

I look forward to any new rules you come up with!

Anonymous said...

It's an interesting questions, but then what other kind of questions do you ask? :)

I spend the morning saying hello to Twitter and then I'm off to my day blogging. I typically check in with Twitter in between blog research and writing and reading blog posts. I like staying connected via Twitter.

I do, however, set limits on my night time interactions. On the weekends I try to step away a lot more and lately that's the one thing I have to do in order to avoid burnout.

Mack Collier said...

Joe that's interesting about reserving comments for Friday. I have actually done that a few times in the past. If I am caught up on work, I will go on a 'commenting spree' and see how many blogs I can comment on during that Friday. Think I got up to 100 the last time I did it.

And great advice about sectioning off the people you follow on Twitter into groups via TweetDeck. I do that as well.

Great tips and tricks from everyone, and thanks to everyone that came from Twitter!

Mack Collier said...

Oh one other note on how I use Twitter; I try to reserve the mornings for reading my feeds via Bloglines, and linking to interesting posts on Twitter. Then at night, I am there more to talk with everyone. And I mix the two during the day, as I have time.

All told, I probably spend too much time on Twitter ;)

Anonymous said...

As I tell people, Mack, I live and breathe social media. People I meet and see me on my BlackBerry or doing something on my laptop ask if I'm working on playing. To me, I'm doing what I do best and I let them guess.

I've recently organized my time as follows:

On Twitter, where I spend the bulk of my time asking questions and sharing information and learning from others, I use TweetDeck and I created the following categories where most people are grouped:

A-List is people who I've met personally or spoken to on the phone; and have a real connection with.

B-List are selected people whose first names begin with A-N.

C-List are selected people whose first names begin with O-Z.

And then some other categories that are subject based.

I use a similar system for blogs in my RSS reader:

A-List are people I've met/spoken to.

B-List are people I respect, like reading, and/or have a relationship with. For instance, Mack, you're in my B-List.

C-List are people I stumble across and don't know well. They hopefully move to B-List over time.

I also have blog RSS categories for "News," e.g. Mashable and Techcrunch; and for "Regional" bloggers. And 1-2 other subject categories.

Jay Baer said...

Great question Mack.

I find that social media requires a pretty consistent effort. It's difficult to pop in and then pop out. You get just a slice of the conversation every time, which can be frustrating.

I read blogs and RT stuff first thing in the morning, then try to work on my own stuff, then jump back into the pool in the early afternoon.

I've been trying to write all my blog posts for the week on Monday, and then stage them T, W, Th (which has taken away a lot of "I need to write a blog post today" pressure)

The big challenge is really a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more social media consulting you do, the less time you have to do social media. That's something I'm going to need to figure out eventually. Ideas welcomed!



Mack Collier said...

Ari thanks for explaining that, that's very interesting and I had thought about doing something similar with the way I use TweetDeck. Right now I just have a tab set up for all tweets, for replies, DMs, and a special group of about 30 or so people that I am good friends with and want to make sure I don't miss any of their tweets.

Very fascinating to see how everyone is budgeting their time, thanks guys!

Anonymous said...

I judge the quality of my time spent on social networks by the interactions that I make while there. If I make a connection (and I'm not talking about "links" or "follows" or "friends"), I'm talking about real genuine connections, then I've made great use of my time.

My network might not be large in terms of numbers but I know that I can confidently reach out and connect with the various members of my network. It's a quality network.

Anonymous said...

What a great question and my answer is that I don't yet know! I'm still discovering which social media tools are the ones that fit strategically with my life, my business; but generally I check everything in the morning and again in the evening. My biggest challenge is finding time to read blogs, and not just skim...there is so much rich content "out there."