How-to Win Back Time Social Sites Steal

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Many small business owners (like yourself) have no time to do anything other than the tasks they believe are moving the business forward. Adding one more thing to an already hectic work day can be a good reason not to do something. However, many times the task will take much less time than we think.

Social sites are a good example of one of these tasks. In my random talks with people, the 2 most common reasons I find owners are not using these kinds of sites are:

  • They believe these sites are a waste of time
  • They don’t “get it”

There are many articles written daily on why you need to use Twitter, or Why You Need to Make a Facebook Fan Page. I am not going to talk about that kind of topic right now. What I am going to clue you in on, is a few tips to help you do more in less time.

Find stuff to tweet

Having something to talk about is always a good thing. Even if you have a great personality and love to chat, it never hurts to have something to share. Here are some places to find interesting stuff on the web:

  • Alltop - Alltop is a great customizable source of information. It is essentially an RSS reader. However you have the options to display by topic instead of just the sites you can find. Super great for digging up info on a specific industry. Here is a link to the Virtual Assistant category.
  • Stuff to tweet - This is great if you are looking to see what is popular on the big social sites. Digg, Twitter, Delicious, Flickr and many more. Also some larger news sources are shown if you’d like to talk about current events.
  • Your RSS reader – I use Google Reader to keep up with what my favorite sites are doing. There is an option at the bottom of the article  to share on a number of social sites.
  • Your followers – Your followers are a great source of interesting topics. Retweeting their interests will not only give you something to tweet, it will also let them know you are paying attention to them. An active audience is the number 1 reason you are using social sites.
  • Stumbleupon – A cool way to find really random sites is to “Stumble”. If you have an account setup, all you do is press the stumble button. You will a totally random site that fits into the category you chose to see. (Also a great time waster.)

Scheduling tweets

Many services are out there who allow you to postpone when a tweet is submitted to your various networks. This, in my opinion, will be your biggest time saver. You can wake up in the morning, schedule a bunch of tweets, Linkedin or Facebook updates all at once. Doing this will keep your accounts active throughout the day, yet not be a huge time suck.

A couple of these services are web-based:

Hootsuite.com

CoTweet.com

A super popular desktop client is:

Tweetdeck


All of them work in a similar way. You type in the update, add a link (most have URL shorteners built-in) and select the date and time to send it. As far as I know, there aren’t any limits to the number of scheduled update you can have pending. A good example use would be if you have a promotion coming up or want to see when your audience is most likely to reply. Schedule similar updated for different days and time of day to see what happens; don’t over do it though.

Mobile tweeting

I talked about this in a post on promoting your business, but it will get more important as time goes on. People like yourself will become more reliant on their mobile devices; you will use it more like your laptop or office computer. Acquainting yourself with a smart phone now is a great way to stay ahead of the curve.

Blog

Blogs are one form of social media you have total control over, yet is one of the most underutilized by small businesses. I will have more on why you should have a blog on your site in the near future. For now, look into either adding one to your site, or sites similar to WordPress.com, Tumblr.com or Blogger.com. These hosted blog platforms will let you try out blogging with no cost or major modification to your current web site.

How are you making the most of your social media time? Leave your tips and tricks in the comment section.

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