By October 16, 2012 Read More →

Social media isn’t real work, is it?

Using social media without wasting time – by Melanie Mackie

Work from Home Wisdom - Social Media Isn’t Real Work, Is It?For those who use social media for business or personal use as well as being a lifeline it can also eat into your day and is often used as a fabulous procrastination tool. Hanging out on Twitter and Facebook during your working day can be a big distraction and this activity cannot always be justified as work.

I am a big social media user for business. I share content, connect, comment and raise awareness of my business, so that’s the real work part.

But I know my personal stuff gets mixed in too and I have fallen into the trap of getting completely distracted online, clicking here and there on to different links and articles that I must read immediately, and liking and commenting on Facebook.

Before I know it a couple of hours have gone by and I haven’t made any headway with the to-do list. I stopped and considered how much of this social activity is essential to my day and how much time I waste just faffing about? The answer was things needed to change.

So this is what I did. I decided to create a social planner for my business activity built around sharing blog posts, allowing myself time to tweet and post on Facebook and then logged out until my other work was complete. And only then log back in if I felt the need for more chit-chat. On the whole as a result of making the changes I am more productive and focused on one thing at a time.

If you know you are regularly getting sucked into the social media vortex, you can get back in control and still use social media effectively as well as be sociable, here’s how:

1. Set a time limit for social media. Use an alarm if you need to. When the time is up log out and shut down the browser. It’s too tempting to click back on Twitter if you don’t.

2. To continue to market your business and share essential content use automation tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer. Take some time to schedule in some posts through-out the week in one hit. You can dip in and out later when you do have spare time for more personal interaction.

3. Turn off your smart phone in meetings. Yes it is acceptable to do this and the world does not end because you don’t answer to emails, tweets and status up-dates immediately. If you are seen on-line all day it becomes clear to your social networks and quite possibly your clients that you have very little work to do.

4. Focus on your surroundings when out and about instead of thinking “I’ll tweet that and check in here on Facebook”. Quit reading social up-dates as you walk, not only will you stop bumping into others, you’ll also give your frazzled social brain downtime.

In order to write this post without any social distractions I stuck to my guidelines and did not open Facebook or Twitter. The result was I got the post done in less than an hour.

However, if I had been on Twitter and Facebook first, I would have missed Judy’s deadline and no doubt would be clicking and reading things that regardless of my procrastination excuses were simply not “real” work.

Melanie Mackie runs Scarletta Media, a social media marketing consultancy. She shows business owners, solopreneurs and SMEs how to be social and integrate social media marketing into their business.

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Posted in: Social media

10 Comments on "Social media isn’t real work, is it?"

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  1. Very good points. I like how you’ve included HOW to make it better, rather than just saying it needs to be 🙂

    I schedule X minutes of time for social media X times a day (it varies). Once that timer goes off, I’m off. If I haven’t finished a task, I set a reminder to continue in my next social media time.

  2. This is a really good post, I set myself some ‘guidelines’ for using social media a while ago as I was getting totally swept along, clicking link after link which took me miles away from where I first started!

    Useful tips, thank you!

  3. Balaji G S says:

    Its true, “Time is one thing which you can neither control nor command. It can only be honored and respected”.

    Lot of times when we get stuck at things, even writing posts we tend to take a peek at twitter or Facebook. It actually disturbs our concentration even more and we end up taking more time completing the post, which actually should be our main priority.

  4. Kaitlyn says:

    All really good points I put into practice myself and encourage my clients to try out.
    I have had one professional relationship that deteriorated completely because my colleague refused to turn their phone off in meetings and insisted that it was important for them to take ‘all phone calls’ for the sake of their business.

    • Judy says:

      Quite apart from being rude to the people you’re with, I don’t believe it’s necessary to always be available to take calls. In fact, in my experience, a little distance can make people even keener. After all, scarcity is one of the principles used in marketing, isn’t it?

  5. Lee says:

    Social media can become all consuming and destroy your time management. I have sort of started the same sort of strategy you are doing but I have put in to place I will not do any after 9am this way it makes me start early and keeps me ahead for the day.


    • Judy says:

      That’s very disciplined, Lee, I ought to follow your example. Maybe when the mornings get a bit lighter and warmer!