It is hard building a business and even harder keeping up with all the technologies that go into participating in “Social Media” to help support and promote your business. I haven’t even touched upon how many personal accounts you might have that don’t stray or even worse, blend into your work life.
There are so many articles written on work-life balance and achieving a zen like state where you can achieve your goals yet still keep your sanity. I believe it is high time we do the same thing with social media tools and applications. Here are my five top tips on how to achieve a work-life balance with social media.
Tip #1 – Set up business accounts for social media usage and keep them separate from your personal accounts
If you are reading this blog, you probably have a Facebook profile and a Twitter account in addition to the many other social networking tools you have signed up for over the last few years. So many of us are out to build our “personal brand” and for whatever that may be worth we jump quickly into the social media pool without considering the impact. This is why it is important to keep your stuff separate and it is OK to have mulitple accounts, you can manage them if you use them at different times and for different things.
Tip #2 – Don’t use personal social media profiles during the day and the same for business in the off hours
Gone are the days were you went to work and came home keeping the physical location and work separate. Today’s world of mobile devices and portable computers we can do our work almost anywhere. This is why it is extremely important to use Tip #1 and have separate accounts so you can separate your work activities from your personal activities. You risk being “always on” and while that may seem cool in the beginning, people will take that for granted and make requests of you at all hours of the day eliminating any sanity you might have left. It is also relevant because the content that is contained in, for example, your work-based social media stream should be very different that what is in your personal social media stream.
Tip #3 – Pick a few tools and stick with them
These days it seems that a new social network is created ever second. Oh yeah, another one just popped up in the world right now, but I digress. There are so many tools for social media and the various channels we have begun to integrate into our lives that we just need to pick a few, stick with them. I have found that the fewer, the better. If you don’t know where to start, begin with the popular services – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr and Yelp. These will keep you occupied as you build up your network and add value to them for your business use or personal use.
Tip #4 – Schedule your usage and stick to it
Email used to just overwhelm me. I used to have it open all the time and like a Pavlovian response when the box in the bottom of the screen popped up or I heard the ding, I switched over to my email program interrupting what I was focused on. This is not good for someone who loses his train of thought and concentration costing the project to be delayed even further. I learned from a friend that I should turn my email off and schedule it into my day. Now I open the email at 8am, 11am, 2pm, 4pm and maybe once at night. I do the same thing for social media, open Twitter when I want to say something, do a scan using Seesmic desktop right after I am done email, review Facebook once in the morning (work stuff) and once in the evening (personal stuff). Other things like LinkedIn I schedule because it takes a while to use some of these tools.
While many people will say that this is not possible, I ask them to think of their lives 10-15 years ago when almost all of this stuff was not around and how they coped. Many will say they can’t remember but for those that do, putting yourself on a more disciplined schedule might free up your time and give you efficiency to be more productive and dare I say get a balance back in your life.
Tip #5 – Recognize that you need to turn it all off on a regular basis and interact with humans
If you are always on, you will never turn off. While it is great to connect with all these people all over the world that have interesting things to say or share interests with you, there is nothing like a good old face-to-face conversation to keep your social skills up. If you don’t want to interact with humans, get outdoors and enjoy activities, hobbies or dare I say, the sunshine. Personally, this disconnect gives me the opportunity to clear my head, recognize what is important in this world and get focused to when I jump back into the social media pool.
How have you achieved balance using social media? Do you struggle? Any additional tips?
We would love to hear how you are trying to tame the social media beast and what you have found successful. Please leave a comment below and share your story.
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