How to Use Social Media and Stay Sane

Social Media lets you expand your potential audience with surprising speed, but all of the popular platforms can drain your precious time. Aim to market yourself succintly and set clear boundaries on your time.

Market yourself with Social Media

Social media is a sharing platform

Smart people on social sites look smart because they share a lot of good stuff. That means you need to make sure your content is the kind of thing smart people will want to share.

What makes for shareable content? It’s a lot of what we’ve talked about already. (You can read the linked posts now or wait until you’ve finished reading this, the links are at the bottom of the post)

  • It has a killer headline. Strangely enough, lots of people online will share a piece strictly based on whether the headline makes the promise of a good read.
  • It has a great post image. Images are prominent on most social sites, like Facebook or Google+. On Pinterest, of course, they’re the main event. Strong post images will help your content get read and shared.
  • It has easy to read content. Accept that people scan web pages rather than reading them in detail, and work with this reality rather than fighting it. If you want to cover a complex topic, consider breaking it into a series of posts. It’s a great way to keep people coming back for more, and your reader will find it easier to digest your content if they get it in portion-controlled sizes.
Social media is a curation platform

You share your own content on Social Media of course, but don’t just share your own content. Share anything you think is likely to be useful to your audience on that platform.

Look for the same useful, entertaining mix that you strive for on your own site. You can also share a few things just for a smile, or an “aha!” moment of inspiration. Share what your audience will enjoy, and will re-share themselves.

Finally – Set Boundaries

Always remember that social media is a secondary activity. You don’t want to spend hundreds of hours or thousands of dollars creating a big presence on a social media site. So instead of counting how many Google+ circles you’re in or how many Facebook Likes you’ve collected, focus on your service, your business, and your website first. That’s particularly helpful when your social media site makes an annoying change — which they always seem to do eventually.

Set crisp boundaries around your social media time. It’s the nature of these sites to invite “just one more refresh” — and before you know it, the most productive chunk of your day is gone. Forever.

The best boundary-setting tool is a simple timer — it can be one on your computer, your phone, or just an ordinary kitchen timer. Decide in advance how long you’re willing to devote to each social site you use. Also decide what time you’ll do that (avoiding your peak productivity hours).

When the timer goes off, close the window and move on. Don’t keep a social media window open all day — at least if you ever want to get any real work done.

Killer Headlines
User-friendly Content