Social Network Organizing
More and more, social networking is being used to stay in touch with family, friends and colleagues and to boost business. But I barely have time to live my own life, much less to read what everyone else is up to. How do you manage your time and use social networking in an organized way? To answer these kinds of questions, I talked with WRITEIMAGE founder Jonathon Narvey, who helps organizations get their message out through social media.
Q. How is social media good for business when people are Tweeting, Facebooking and updating their status about what they just had for lunch? A. Filtering the information is the key to making it useful. You select the RSS streams, Twitter profiles and Facebook friends that you want to follow. If someone is always Tweeting about their lunch, the solution is simple – you would never follow that person in the first place. It’s the same idea as when you watch TV, in that you choose the channel you want to watch – except that you can probably get far more targeted information from scanning relevant status updates online for 10 minutes than from any TV show.
Q. Which tools do you use?
A. I manage several blogs to establish a presence in my chosen fields and build connections with others. I also guest blog on other websites. I use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. These are the big sites. All of my social networks include both personal and professional connections. Often, there’s overlap, as colleagues become friends.
Q. But which tools are better for business?
A. All of them can be used for business. For instance, anyone can have a Facebook fan page for their business. LinkedIn is handy for building professional connections and finding professional associations. And Twitter is a convenient tool for finding influencers, connecting with them and broadcasting your message.
Q. Maintaining all those networks must be a lot of work. How do you manage your time?
A. Especially for those using social networks for business, the amount of time you use them will depend largely on how you want to use them. For passive connection-list building, a few minutes a day is probably all you need. If you’re using social networks for marketing campaigns, keep a strict schedule.
Social networks often include tools that automate functions, reducing the amount of time you need to spend maintaining them. For instance, you can set up your blog RSS feed (a summary of your most recent posts) to auto-Tweet whenever you publish, and then use Ping.fm to update all of your social networks at once.
Q. How do I de-clutter my social networking profiles?
A. Facebook and LinkedIn both let you customize the look of your profiles. You can select the applications you want and get rid of the rest. For instance, I organize my Facebook profile to show very minimal contact information, some links to my business and articles I’ve written. I keep it minimal to make an easier scanning experience for myself and others.
Social networking, just like email, can get out of control and consume what little time you have. Set your priorities and make social networking a part of your marketing plan, just as you would a face to face meeting or networking event.