Digital branding is my primary focus these days, and that means helping clients get past their resistance to social media. The number one reason they tell me that they don’t engage in social media is: I just can’t find the time to do it.” So what if you made a habit of committing no more than nine minutes a day. Could you find nine minutes? You can actually get a lot accomplished, deliver value to your audience and not wear yourself out when you’re willing to commit a few minutes a day. To make this work, though, you need to commit to doing it every day. When you do, your nine-minute habit becomes three hours a month of social media engagement. Here’s how to make it happen:
Step 1: Focus On One Platform
Don't squander your efforts by being on every platform—Facebook plus Instagram plus Twitter plus LinkedIn plus YouTube equals social media taking over your life. It will be impossible to be consistently visible on all those platforms unless you make it your full-time job. Instead, choose up to three, preferably just one platform to start. How do you choose, you ask?
Pick what sits at the intersection of these two criteria:
- You enjoy them. There’s no sense picking YouTube if you abhor creating videos. You’ll be more likely to keep up your 9-minute daily social media habit you’re having fun with it. If you like to write brief, pithy content, choose Twitter. If you love visuals, choose Instagram.
- Your people are there. When using social media for professional purposes, the goal is to be visible, valuable and available to the people who are making decisions about you. There’s no sense in tweeting at the frequency of Kim Kardashian or Donald Trump if your target audience isn’t on Twitter.
Identify your best time to engage in social media. We know that true habits are easier to form when they take place at the same time every day–like brushing your teeth. Your social media habit might take place first thing in the morning or right before you leave work or during lunch. Or, to make it even more efficient, consider a time when you can double up on productivity. For example, if you commute to work on a train, that’s the perfect time to also connect with your online community. If you wait in line every morning for your triple tall half-caf, iced skim caramel macchiato, get your phone out and make the wait more productive.
Step 3: Engage
Be strategic in deciding what you want to talk about. Your topic should help you demonstrate your thought-leadership and give you an opportunity to express your point of view. Remember, being visible on social media does not mean creating new content every day. If you’re just starting your social media habit, here's a good mix of items for your daily do:
- Like and comment on content that was posted by others.
- Share others’ content, adding your point of view to make their post even more valuable
- Share something you learned, a favorite quote, a relevant statistic
- Post your own content (article, tweet, picture, video, etc.)
Step 4. Make It Easy
There are lots of things you can do to automate the time-consuming parts of social media.
- Use a social media posting tool like Hootsuite or Buffer to post multiple items and schedule them over time.
- For responding to your connections/followers’ content, create shortcuts on your phone for standard responses. Apple iOS makes it especially simple to do this.
- If you prefer speaking to typing, just talk your message or update.
The point is to find ways to make your social media habit more efficient and more aligned with how you like to work. Personal branding is all about being authentic, so if you dread your social media routine, your posts will seem phony or forced. Do whatever you need to do to keep your new habit from feeling onerous.
That’s it! If you have been reluctant to engage in social media, follow this process. Commit to your nine-minute habit and watch your digital brand soar.