I’ve had this post in the back of my mind for over a year now. I told myself that I would write it when I mastered the topic. That hasn’t happened yet. I still get distracted by social media. They say the best learner is usually the teacher, so I decided to write and maybe it will help you and me be more intentional with our social media marketing. More intentional and less distracted.
There are affiliate links in this post. I only recommend products and services I like.
We all know that using social media is an important part of our internet marketing. We hop on Twitter to reply to tweets. We check Facebook to see if anyone has interacted there (hello, anyone?). Then there are Facebook groups for bloggers. All one billion of them. We can’t forget the FB feed that goes on and on forever. While you’re stuck there, “Hey look, someone shared their Instagram photo.” Now we’re on Instagram and there are live stories and pictures for hours. Wait. What was I working on?
You get the picture. Unless you’re intentional with your social media marketing it can quickly become a TIME SUCK. Every time I ask bloggers what their struggles are, they tell me they don’t have enough time to do all the blog things.
I’m just going to throw this out there: maybe we do have the time, we’re just not using it properly.
This is going to be embarrassing for me, but I am going to show you how much time I spend on my phone.
That’s just for January and only my phone. Doesn’t include computer or tablet. I’m an addict. I know. 106 hours, that’s over four days! I use the excuse, “I have to be on social media, for my blog” but let’s get real. I get sucked in. As mentioned above, I am working on improving.
I want to share with you some of the things I am trying, or will try, or have tried to help me be more intentional with my social media marketing so that I can make better use of my time.
Have a plan
Before you turn on your phone or computer, make a plan. Decide exactly what you are going to be doing online and how long you want to commit to that project. Write it down if that helps and then check it off when you’re done. Turn it off or close out once the task is complete. If that works for you, good job. You don’t need the rest of this post. If you need a little more help, keep reading.
Set a time and place for social media
Scheduling times when you want to sit down and check on social media for your blog will help you be more intentional with marketing. It’s part of your plan. I know it feels like we have to be on all the time, but it is okay to not check our phones in the bathroom or before we’re going to bed. Joshua Becker frequently says that the bedroom is for two things and they both begin with S. One of those S’ is not smart phone.
Get an alarm clock and a watch
Have you ever checked your phone for the time and 15 minutes later found yourself still on your phone? Yeah, me too. Using a different source to tell the time will reduce the amount of unnecessary browsing. Using an alarm clock to wake you up instead of your phone will allow you to start the morning off with something other than browsing.
Use apps and tools to monitor and limit your social media use
Maybe you’re like me and aren’t quite disciplined enough to limit yourself on social media. That’s okay. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. I have found that monitoring my time and using tools that limit it for me to be very helpful.
Here are a few you can check out.
Kill News Feed – this one is specifically for Facebook. It is a browser extension for either Chrome and Firefox. they are by different creators but work similarly. When you have Kill News Feed activated you can use Facebook, but you won’t be able to see your news feed. This is one of my favorite tools. The news feed is so depressing these days anyway, you won’t be missing out on much. You can go directly to pages or friends you want to visit. You can go directly to your blog’s Facebook page to promote your content and engage with your adoring fans. All without getting distracted by the feed. Bliss.
Breakfree – Breakfree is a good app to start monitoring your time. It doesn’t limit or block anything for you but will help give you a better idea of how much time you are
wasting using on your phone. This a free app for android and apple devices. It was the first tool I started using to monitor my time and it was eye opening.
Why use Break Free? “Study shows that an average adult checks his phone a whooping 110 times a day. That makes it once every 13 minutes. And for most people this peaks to once every 6 seconds in the evenings. So if you, like most people, are checking your phone when you could be spending time with a real human being, or doing something constructive, then BreakFree is for you. ”
Freedom.to – Freedom To is designed to help you be more productive and purposeful with your time. It works on your iPhone, iPad, mac, and windows computer. It doesn’t work on android, which is why I don’t use this one. It could be a good fit for you, though. You can schedule internet block out sessions or only block out certain sites during specific times.
Why use freedom.to? “Studies show that every time you check email, a social feed, or respond to a notification, your mind requires 23 minutes of re-focus time to get back on task.”
Circle – Circle is the device that I am currently using to monitor and control my internet time. It’s advertised as a parental control, but I use it for myself. 🙂 Circle allows me to set time limits on specific sites, bed times/awake times, internet break times, and even pause the internet. It also keeps a log of how much internet time I’ve used. I set up different filters for my phone and my computer.
Totally distracted side note (I told you I get distracted easily), both Freedom.to and meetcircle.com are great examples of how to find a domain name when the one you want isn’t available. Okay, back to our regular program.
Moral of this section: If your will power isn’t enough on its on to keep you from getting distracted by all the things available at your finger tips, find a monitor that works for you.
Schedule your social posts
Social media schedulers are the best thing that ever happened to the marketing world. They make it so you don’t have to be on all the time. Here’s a run down of some of the options out there. I tell you what I use first. I’m kind of a cheapskate so I don’t use a weird combination to get the best deal.
Tailwind – I use Tailwind to schedule Pinterest. I don’t even know where to start with my love for Tailwind. No only does it schedule my pins for me at prime times, but it also gives me statistics. I sit down once or twice a week and schedule out all of my content for Pinterest. I get to choose how many times a day I want to Pin, I can shuffle my pins to get a good balance of content, and I can space my new posts to go out on a whole bunch of relevant boards.
They also recently launched their Instagram scheduling. If we’re being honest, I haven’t decided if it is worth it or not. I’ve been using HootSuite for Instagram and it works great. Tailwind says the advantage of using them other scheduling tools is their smart schedule, telling you when to post for best engagement with your audience. This is probably true if you are sharing a lot to Instagram. Plus you get their awesome analytics. You’ll have to weigh it out for yourself. Until I start using Instagram more I think I’ll stick with HootSuite.
HootSuite – might as well talk about this one now. I use HootSuite to schedule my facebook group posts, Twitter, and Instagram. You can have up to three accounts on the free plan with HootSuite. Buffer is a similar scheduling platform.
Facebook – when I decide to focus on my blog ambitions facebook page, I use Facebook’s built-in scheduling tools. Which I guess doesn’t help solve the problem of being on the actual platform, but at least I get to use it when I want and now when the post is going live.
Make more time for your blog by limiting social media distractions.
Yes, as bloggers we need to be on social media. It’s important for us to be sharing content and interacting with our audience and peers. That doesn’t mean we need to get sucked into the vortex of mindless browsing. Let’s commit to being intentional with our social media marketing so that we have more time for the important aspects of our blog and more presence in our everyday lives.
How will you be more intentional with your social media marketing?