Social Media Optimization: Keeping Control of Your Social Media Life

By Ric Shreves, Michelle Krasniak

Optimizing social media can sometimes be tricky. It’s easy to be swept up into the tide of instant gratification: getting your news as it’s breaking, tweeting to or posting on the Facebook Page of a company and getting a response within minutes, posting fresh blog content to your Facebook Page and getting Likes or shares within minutes. Having positive responses virtually instantaneously is intoxicating, but this prompt feedback can also cause problems in your personal life in areas such as work/life balance.

News outlets including CBS and The Huffington Post have run stories about how social media can ruin relationships. Don’t waste precious moments with loved ones checking Facebook or Twitter.

People who use social media for business purposes are sometimes given a little more leeway when it comes to letting social media infiltrate their lives outside work. After all, social media is their job. That doesn’t make this infiltration into their personal lives acceptable, though. Fret not! You have ways to ensure that your social media life stays separate from your real life.

Set boundaries for SMO

As our mothers tried to teach us, there’s a place and time for everything. SMO doesn’t have to be everywhere at all times, and it shouldn’t be! It may be tough to pull yourself away from your accounts at first, but you’ll be better for doing so in the long run. Trust us.

Here are some ways to structure your social media life to make it more manageable:

  • Set aside a regular chunk of time for SMO, and stick to it. Block out a chunk of time during the day to attend to your social media accounts. That chunk of time could be 30 minutes every 3 or 4 hours, or it could be 1 hour right when you come in every morning and right before you leave for the day. Test different times, and see what works best for you.

  • Delegate when you can. If possible, hand the reins to your social media accounts over to a trusted colleague or employee. Doing so will allow you to turn your attention to other responsibilities, and it’s good to get a fresh pair of eyes on what’s going on in your company’s social media world. Who knows — another person may have some great insight into ways to improve your SMO practices.

  • When other people are involved, put electronic devices away. If you’re in a meeting, at dinner with your spouse, or at your kid’s soccer game, put your phone away. Put it in a desk drawer or a pocket, or leave it in the car. If you’re in your office, turn your computer’s sound and screen off. Show your visitors that you’re present and care about what they have to say. Remove the temptation, and you won’t feel the urge to look at your screen every time you hear the ding that signals a new tweet or blog comment.

  • If it’s time to sign off, sign out. Some people have a hard time resisting the temptation to take a quick peek at what’s going on out in the world of social media. If you’re one of those people, sign out of your accounts and, if possible, shut your phone off, even if for only an hour or so.

Republish to fill in the gaps

It is extremely helpful to cross‐publish content to different social media channels to get the most bang for your buck. You can also republish content. Nothing is wrong with posting the same link to a recent blog post of yours, provided that you don’t do it once an hour and that it’s all you post.

It’s generally acceptable to repost the same content once a week for the first month and then maybe once every other month. That way, you get more mileage out of your content without annoying your followers and fans with the same content over and over.

You can also share other pages’ content or retweet a link posted by another Twitter user. Luckily, Facebook and Twitter make it easy to give credit to the original sources. Be sure to always keep the content originator’s username in your post so it doesn’t look like you’re trying to plagiarize someone else’s content.

Use scheduling software. . . carefully

Being able to schedule social media posts ahead of time may seem like the bee’s knees and the solution to all your time management issues. You should use this capability with caution, however.

Scheduling helps keep social media accounts fresh and active even when a live person isn’t manning them. These tools save time; they allow you to turn your attention elsewhere, focusing on more pressing issues; and they may even save you some money if you’ve been thinking about hiring a person whose sole job would be to manage your SMO.

What these tools won’t do is automatically cancel posts if, for example, a natural disaster strikes somewhere else in the world. If a scandal arises in your corporation, for example, your scheduled posts don’t pick up on that scandal and adjust content accordingly. You’re essentially leaving the state of your brand in the hands of the universe, and you can look like you don’t care about anything but what’s happening in your business if you aren’t careful.

Here’s an unfortunate example. On April 13, 2013, two bombs went off during the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260 others. Social media guru Guy Kawasaki illustrated the negative side of using Twitter automation when his account continued to post links to his blogs and other marketing messages, while the Twitterverse was lit up with news updates and tweets about the unthinkable tragedy. Failing to turn off his auto‐posting feature resulted in him looking very insensitive, and people weren’t afraid to let him know that.