At this time of year, as thoughts turn to gratitude and gifts, I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for coming back each month to visit via this e-newsletter, for being supportive and passing it along to others and most importantly, for all the great questions! Your questions help guide my content, determine my classes and help me expand the services I provide. They keep me on my toes and keep me in touch with why I do this – to help YOU! I truly enjoy teaching and sharing what I know and love – thank you for engaging!
And as for gifts, in my opinion, the most valuable thing I can offer is the gift of time. Here are a few tips, tools and hints that I hope will give you just that – time that you can then use as you please. Enjoy!
- Schedule your social media posts using a tool like Hootsuite.
People often ask me if I LIVE online as I post fairly regularly across many platforms. I do spend a lot of time online but the answer is no, I schedule many of the posts in advance so that even if I have a day packed with sessions or am out of the office, the information will be posted, at regular intervals. This also allows me to spend the time I AM online, replying to visitors, scanning other people’s posts and engaging with others – a much more valuable use of my time there.
- Make an editorial calendar for your e-newsletter, your blog, your social media posts or all of the above!
An editorial calendar can be as simple as a monthly outline defining the themes you will cover (I will be talking about LinkedIn in January, E-newsletters in February, etc) or as elaborate as a document outlining who will post what and when. I create these for my corporate clients so they can get the posts pre-approved and to spread the task of maintaining the corporate presence across multiple team members while staying on message and consistent in tone.
- Create a branded template for your E-newsletter with the fields you will use each issue.
Not only will this keep your image consistent but it will make it easier (and easy means it is more likely to happen – a plus!) by allowing you to copy and plug the content into the template rather than starting from scratch each time. Combine this with the editorial calendar and as you find a photo or article for the March issue, you can plug it into the correct template even though it is only January!
- Getting back to Social Media, have your goals in mind and set a time limit for the amount of time you will spend on each ‘visit’.
Say you are going to spend 15 minutes to check your inbox, reply to invitations, scan your network activity and post at least one comment. Or that you are going to request 3 recommendations. Do that and then sign out. It is SO easy to start following random links and find, 45 minutes later that you haven’t done a thing related to work. And that is OK if you have the time to play but if you don’t, be honest and be cognizant of how you are spending your time on these sites. It CAN be very productive but like anything, it will probably be more effective if you go in knowing what you want to get out of it.
- And speaking of being honest, take a minute and honestly assess how you have spent your online marketing hours this past year and see what has and has not worked for you.
If you have been spending an hour or two on Facebook every week and have not gotten a single reply or client, maybe you need to think about creating a new plan or, maybe it just isn’t a good fit for your business. And that is OK – realizing what doesn’t work is almost as valuable as figuring out what does!
Here is a second gift to you – a free pass to say NO to any social media tool, site or platform that isn’t working for you! And yes, I too hear the hype, everyday, saying that Facebook is going to have 8 gazillion members by 2012 and if you aren’t on it you will perish. Or that you MUST blog, tweet AND be there or you should be buying a grave plot for your business. Yes, these ARE excellent tools and yes, they really can drive amazing results for many businesses. But like your Mom probably said, let’s not worry about what everyone else is doing and focus on what is best for YOU!
If you had a plan and gave it a year (and if you were here last year, that was the suggestion going into 2010) and you really tried and it didn’t work, let it go. Use that time to focus on one of the places that DID work, or to identify one that will. THAT will help you make the most of your time, which I am sure you know, really is your most precious asset!