Let's face it: social-media management can be a big time suck. It is not an overnight process, but a strategy that is composed of a series of daily, time-consuming steps. Just think about how quickly hours go by when you read through Facebook posts. And that's just one social-media platform. As entrepreneurs, we don't have time to waste.
But it turns out, Americans are wasting a lot of time on things that are beyond their control, including waiting in a doctor's office and standing in line at the DMV. A report also reveals Americans waste an average of 18 months of their lives sitting in traffic. Yes, sitting in traffic!
In two surveys of 1,000 people each for traffic-intelligence specialist TomTom.com, 88 percent of Americans say they waste valuable time every day -- either on purpose or accidentally -- and the cost, in dollars and happiness, can make a big impact on their lives. Those surveyed said they estimate that with every hour they waste, they lose anywhere from an average of $54 to $1,296 a day.
The same survey revealed that one in three Americans says they value their time above all else, with 81 percent admitting they are constantly on the lookout for ways to cut corners. With this in mind, I reached out to a few business folks to find out the most efficient ways for anyone including entrepreneurs to cut corners and stop wasting time when it comes to managing social media.
Brit McGinnis, a virtual assistant and coach for virtual assistants, explained one tip: "I always go in with a plan. Social media waits for no one, so you better be using your time as effectively as possible. I devote around five hours a day to social media, but it really depends on what my customers need."
Having a plan and being organized in your daily tasks are definitely good places to start. I include social media in my list of daily tasks.
One survey respondent suggests, "Have a list of at least six things a day to do and do them. Stay off the phone as much as possible. Get up early. If someone does call, make it brief. Don't stay on the phone all morning and don't watch television shows that have no meaning."
Tammy Cho of Encore Alert, a company that identifies a brand's key mentions and trends in real time, says her team uses two principles to save time. First, Cho encourages business owners to prioritize.
"Rather than responding to every single tweet that comes your way, it’s important to prioritize the five to 10 conversations per day that will make the most impact for your business," she says. "These might be influencers who are chatting about a topic in your industry, or when many people are using a trending industry hashtag (such as #NYCtech) -- essentially a way to reach a lot of people at once."
While more than half of Americans now use some sort of technology or device to help them save time, the TomTom.com survey revealed that people waste time at least twice a day, with 63 percent lamenting they waste upwards of 40 minutes a day.
The second thing Cho's team does is automate social media whenever possible.
"Technology exists to empower humans to make the final, smartest decision possible," she says. "Instead of spending valuable time manually reading through feeds of tweets, posts and industry content to post, automate this process. Use tools such as Buffer to publish, Feedly to find fresh content relevant to topics you’re interested in or Encore Alert to identify real-time trends and influencers."
Remember, autoposting can be helpful for saving time, but pay close attention to your clients and the platforms since each one has its own message, language and audience.
Finally, if you still find yourself wasting time in any part of your life, try to avoid becoming annoyed, frustrated, stressed or anxious. A few people in the survey claim the key to handling wasted time "is a good attitude."
How do you save time when using social media? Let us know in the comments section below.