Maximizing social networking usage

Simple tips so your social networking doesn’t consume all your time.

According the 2015 Pew Research, 87 percent of adults spend time online daily, and 76 percent of all internet users access at least one social networking site. With a large portion of the population spending time online, it is important to think about how volunteer organizations can maximize their social networking usage without it being time-consuming.

First, approach social networking in the way you approach your email account. If you spent all day just answering email, you probably wouldn’t get much work done. The same is true for social networking. It’s easy for social networking to consume huge amounts of time. Determine what works for you. For example, some individuals spend the first part of their day checking and responding to email, and may focus on it for a while again in a few other parts of the day. Once you determine what will work best for you, begin establishing a routine. If you spend the first 15-20 minutes of your day updating content on your social networking sites and then respond to followers at set times throughout the day, you will be meeting the needs of your social networking plan without wasting a lot of time. Set a time limit for yourself and stick to it.

Second, you can use different social media dashboards to schedule content to be posted throughout the day. There are a variety of web-based tools that allow individuals to organize their social networks. Sites like HootSuite might help you to be more successful in streamlining your social networking approach. Some individuals are managing professional accounts and personal accounts. Using a social media dashboard allows you to send updates to all or some of your accounts without having to log in and out or picking which accounts the updates are shared on. You can send the same update simultaneously from all of your accounts if you choose as well as schedule updates to happen throughout the day, saving you time and energy.

Third, make sure your different tools are connected. For instance, if you’re using Facebook, YouTube and WordPress blogs to build a sense of community amongst your volunteers, make sure you’re linking them all together. Did you write a new blog? Share the link on your Facebook account. Did you post a video? Imbed the content of that video in your blog. Creating consistency across the board with your program’s brand is crucial. Don’t use different logos or taglines in different mediums – Michigan State University Extension suggests sticking to one consistent theme and people will begin to associate it with your program.

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