Three Ways to Trick Yourself Into Organizing Your Social Media

Happy Life List Club Friday, everyone! I’m so happy to be here at Jess’ Happiness Project again. It’s so much fun ’cause you never know what could happen. She could jump out from behind the screen in a crazy costume or bring in a critter she found on vacation, like that baby alligator, and scare the you-know-what right out of me!

“Who me?”

Anyway, Jess is occupied now over at the blog of our newest Life List Club writer, Lara Schiffbauer. PLEASE go over to visit Jess when you’re done here so I won’t get pranked. While you’re there, say ‘Hi’ to Lara and introduce yourself. So, while I’m here and Jess is over there, Sonia Medeiros is at my blog Doing The Write Thing by entertaining you all. Stop by and give her some comment luv, too, would you? Thanks.

Note: Since I began writing this post, several other bloggers’ posts have been published with similar and/or additional useful information. I’ll link to some of those posts in the body of mine.

I know, you’re asking why should you have to tone down your socializing. Being social and friendly is so much more fun than working, right? Right.  You can socialize all you want IF you don’t have a day job, a book to write, a family to feed, a need to sleep now and then.

We’ve all admitted to having a very full schedule and now we’re adding social media networking on top of it. That means you have to allot a specified amount of time to take care of your social networking ‘needs’. I’m going to show you how you can have fun and not overdo it at the same time. Bonus – you’ll also be able to keep track of whom you’ve visited or supported!

My Desk Before*

Now don’t get the idea that any of these organizational skills come naturally. Uh, uh. Only since I’ve been retired have I had the time to work at being organized. Prior to that, it was hit-or-miss success with keeping it all together. I have always been a list maker and that’s the ONLY thing that saved my butt previously. Even now, it’s a struggle but it keeps my fading memory from totally burning out.

One important thing to remember: Writing is a business. Start treating it like one and you’ll be amazed how productive you can be.

Roll up those sleeves. We’re about to start working smarter, not harder, at keeping up with our self-imposed obligations to network and support others.

1. Get Tough – Make a list of all the blogs you follow. Assess each blog on the list and decide if it falls into one or more of the following categories: Blogs I LOVE, Blogs with info I NEED. Some will overlap categories and some won’t fit at all. For those that don’t fit into either category–UNSUBSCRIBE.

While you’re listing them, put them into a spreadsheet format where you can keep track of whom you visited. Fabio Bueno published a great post on this so, instead of writing my own explanation, check out his HERE.

Overall, I probably cut out about 1/3 of the blogs I was reading. You can do it, too. When you try to find relevance in what they have to offer you and you find there isn’t much–snip, snip. I’m left with the blogs to which I’m comfortable giving my time and support.

 2. My Editorial Plan – a. Take the time to write enough blog posts to cover you for two weeks and then maintain that number. If you just can’t find the time to do that, at the very least, write 2 blog posts that you can save for emergencies.

b. Stockpile a list of topics that are timely, interesting and viable for your blog. I use a big desk calendar–you know the kind with big squares for each day. This is where I plan my topics for each posting day. I write very specific topics on my posting day squares. When the blogs have been written, had photos and links added, and scheduled in the queue, I write DONE in the square. I can see at a glance how many more need to be written or whether I need to go back to a particular post and add pictures.

c. If you use WordPress for your blog, you can schedule a specific publishing date and time, and you can set it up to automatically post your blog to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

d. Planning ahead for Tweeting is even easier when you use TweetDeck or HootSuite to schedule the tweets to go out 2-3 times a day. Jenny Hansen at More Cowbell just posted about a new-ish timesaver for promoting your own blog posts, as well as those of others. It’s called Triberr. It will increase the number of people you reach with your posts, too. Check out Jenny’s post HERE, and then watch for her next two posts in the series that further explain this new idea.

My Desk After*

3. Watch the Clock – Decide how much time you can realistically devote to social media. Your WIP writing should take precedence. After all, you’ll have no writing business without the written product. Determine how many hours you need to devote to your WIP.

Then comes the foundation of your platform, your blog. How much time do you need to keep up with it each week? For example, if it takes you 2 hours to write posts for your Wednesday theme and 3 hours to write for your Friday theme, 30 minutes for ROW80 and your easy day’s post only takes 1 hour, you need 6 1/2 -7 hours a week to write for your blog.

How many hours do you have left in your week for other social media? You still need to read other blogs, comment on them and tweet/facebook/google+ them.

This is where you begin feeling overwhelmed, right? I’m going to set you free from guilt right now! No matter what your schedule looks like –

No one has unlimited time to support and network with other writers, friends, and associates. You are not alone!

Do not feel guilty if you don’t comment on every post everyday-even for your close friends. If you can’t keep up, shorten your list. Choose one day a week to visit, comment and promote. OR Choose to visit, comment and promote on no more than two posts a week for each person. There is no reason to feel a sense of urgency in commenting on blogs. Whenever you are able to visit, the post will be there, still shiny and new for you. Your comment at any time will be appreciated.

If you’re regularly following more than 25 blogs, you should take a closer look at how many of those are really important and beneficial to you, then see where you can make that list more manageable.

Do you have other timesaving practices to share? What’s your biggest time-suck?

*All images from Google

     Marcia Richards is a veteran blogger and author of Marcia Richards’ Blog…Sexy. Smart. From The Heart. Marcia writes about Sweet Obsessions, Women, History, and the path to realizing your dreams. She has a Historical Trilogy and a collection of Short stories in progress. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing with the grandkids or her husband, traveling or turning old furniture into works of art. She believes there is always something new to learn.

Come hang out with Marcia at: http://twitter.com/MarciaARichards or http://facebook.com/MarciaARichards .

Visit Marcia at: http://Marcia-Richards.com

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30 responses

  1. Great advice as always Marcia! I especially loved the idea of sorting my blog reads (at least mentally) into “blogs I love” and “blogs with info I need.” That sounds like a great way to actually get more out of my blog-reading time by choosing where to go by my mood (learning/info-gathering versus ‘entertain me, please!’).

    1. Yes, that does sound helpful. I agree that would be a good thing to do, except it also made me realize I should up the number of learning blogs I visit. *sigh*

      1. Jess thanks so much for hosting me at your awesomely happy blog!
        You don’t necessarily need to increase your reading. Read only what you need. Joel, The Book Designer, and Joanna Penn are my two favorites. There is almost always something new to learn there. Other popular ones write the same stuff and just package it differently. I don’t need to waste time with that. You can also try The Other Side of the Story, Writing Hacks, No Rules- Just Write and Writer Unboxed. Those are usually excellent, too.

        1. Thanks for the recommendations, Marcia! Many of them are new to me, besides Writer Unboxed.

          Always a pleasure having you, Marcia!

    2. Thanks, Pam. Actually I sort them when they come to my inbox. If i find I’m not reading the educational ones, or not all of them, I unsub from them. It really cuts down on the time i spend reading blogs.

  2. Great tips, but if your desk looks anything like the one in the picture, I’m taking it all with a grain of salt. 😉

    1. Hi Mark! The after picture is fairly close to how my desk looks now, but i wasn’t quite as overwhelmed as in the ‘before’ picture, although emotionally it felt that way. 🙂

  3. LOL, I love the before picture!

    I’ve been looking all the social media stuff and trying to streamline it as I go. You’ve got some great suggestions here. Thanks for the informative post!

    1. Streamlining is the way to go, Sheila! If you guys only knew who one of the bloggers was that I cut…you’d probably boil me in oil! But I had to do it to rid myself of reading the same old $#!&.

    2. She’s so full of good info, isn’t she? 🙂

  4. I love it! Watch the Clock. I think that’s the big one. I can get lost for hours chatting with my new Social Media friends and reading their wonderfully written blog posts.

    1. I know what you mean Tiffany. I’ve spent entire days reading blogs and tweeting and commenting. It’s not a waste of time, but it’s just too much of that and too little of writing.

    2. I here ya, sister! I have to wait until I’m wrapping up with my own writing before reading any posts, or suddenly my whole writing time is gone. Oy!

  5. Marcia, you gave a lot of great tips. It’s great to hear from someone else some thing that’s in the back of our mind in a fuzzy haze.

    As a newbie on the blogging scene, I tried to follow blogs but quickly realized that it doesn’t work for me, there are just too many. I tried the rss readers and I was getting bogged down with a lot of stuff that was eating up my time.

    I just keep up with the LLC group and I use Google’s search/email service to email me summaries of blog posts on certain search terms. I get one email a day for each search term and it works well for me. You can schedule it however you like for more or fewer emails.

    Not having a plan is never better than thinking through some priorities and sorting things out. I hate the days that pass without focus and when you look at the clock you wonder what happened and you have nothing to show for the time.

    1. I like the added option you’ve provided, Gary. You always have a solution for another type of work plan. Keep em coming, Gary!

    2. Oh I know, Gary…we all have those days and sometimes there are too many in one week. I like the idea of using search terms to find blogs you want to read. I think my problem is that most of my commenters are other writers and we took a class together. We’ve become quite attached to each other, so not visiting their blogs is not an option. Problem is that adds up to a hefty # of blogs each week. So I don’t comment or even read every post they write. I comment on maybe 2 posts of most of them, sometimes one.

  6. Excellent, excellent advice. *ahem* I’m not so great in the organizing department. But I’m learning. Thanks for all the great info.

  7. I’d love to follow through on some of your advice, but I’m too busy reading blogs and tweeting. Huh? What do you mean I missed the point?

    1. LOL, cute, David! 🙂

  8. Thank you for giving me permission to not comment on every blog I follow every time. All of a sudden it seems like everyone I follow is posting daily, I swear! I am finally getting to the overwhelmed point, and recognized that something had to change. I haven’t hardly had any time to write, and still haven’t started to revise my novel since returning to work last week. I also like the idea of organizing the blogs into I love or I need categories. You’ve given a practical structure to the social media maze – thanks!

    1. I was feeling that way too trying to return from the helidaze. When bloggers post two days in a row, I already get overwhelmed. I need a day or two in between to feel like I’m not way behind in response.

    2. I’m glad it helped. I really don’t think it matters if we comment the day it was posted. I’m rarely able to anymore. If we post at all, the writer knows we’re trying to keep up and are interested in what they have to say and in supporting them. Also, anytime a tweet goes out for a blog’s posts is a good thing. No more guilt! Get rid of the ones that don’t mean that much to you.

  9. […] I gave away a few tips on my Life List Club post on Jess Witkins’ blog and you can read that here. Here […]

  10. These are great tips! I’m constantly finding new blogs and feeling overwhelmed.

    1. Hi Nina. Yeah, we shouldn’t have to feel that way. We don’t call all of our local friends every single day, do we? They’d get really sick of us–fast. So, no guilt. do what you can and no more. 🙂 Happy streamlining!

    2. Me too! I’m pumped to use WordPress reader.

      1. I’ve been using it and it’s awesome! I don’t forget anyone anymore!

  11. Wonderful advice, Marcia. Thanks for the reminder about Fabio’s spread sheet.

    Watching the Clock is a painful technique since there’s always so much to do and too little time. It works only if you know well before hand what you need to do. And you need to be able to resist temptations and put all those shiny new Twitter links to the end of the To Do List. Or well, maybe succumb to one or two as a reward when all else is done 😉

    1. Yah I haven’t mastered the time management piece yet. I’ve begun sitting down and just doing my writing first, then reading and commenting, but consequently my tweets have decreased cause I make twitter last. Otherwise, I end up finding more and more links and chatting with people and I don’t get the writing done.

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