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A frequently asked question (sometimes accusation) to me is “How can you afford to spend so much time on Facebook/Twitter/Google +/Insert Social Network Here?!”. The question/accusation comes from those that observe my frequent posts on any given social network, any given day. Normally, I like to give some sarcastic reply (imagine that) about how my teacher wife is rolling in the money so I can waste my own life away in social network land but the truth is… I don’t spend very much time actually logged in to social media networks, regardless of how it may seem.

I do rely heavily on traffic from social networks to keep money in my bank (whether it be directing people to my portfolio and that leading to me being hired, people clicking on my affiliate links or product links that I am marketing for myself or projects I’m involved with) but I can’t afford to spend more time than necessary on those networks when I have content to produce or projects to complete. Over the past few years, I’ve been able to maximize my productivity which has enabled me to acquire more paying gigs, spend more time with my family, and overall just being able to have more free time.

Allow me to elaborate on how I (and how you) can keep up a presence on social networks without actually spending a lot of time on them.

Post Scheduling

If you don’t blog or manage social media profiles for a living, post scheduling may be very foreign to you and not even applicable (what are you doing here?!). To me, post scheduling is the key to keeping an active presence on social media networks without being “trapped” into browsing/stalking people’s profiles, i.e: wasting time which equals losing money (since I don’t get paid to browse social media networks… yet! If you’re hiring, I’m confident I could do the job. 😉  )

Post scheduling is exactly what it sounds like. I write my blog posts on my WordPress run site (if you don’t already have your own blog, you really should) and then schedule when I want them to be marketed across all of my social media profiles. I am just guessing, but probably 2/3’s of posts I make on any social network as WE THE CREATED are not done in real time, they have been scheduled ahead of time to post at that particular time.

“How can I schedule my posts?”

Good question, friend! There are many solutions out there to accomplish this, but I highly recommend using a program called Hootsuite. Hootsuite is web based and extremely easy to use! I, personally, use Hootsuite to manage all of my social media profiles and have been using it for about 3 years now.

Hootsuite is completely free up to 5 social media profiles. The free option will probably be good enough for 90% of you out there! This could be your Facebook profile, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIN, and maybe your Foursquare account too. Most people that I do consulting for don’t really venture outside of the top 3 (FB, Twitter, G+) so the free Hootsuite option works great for them.

If you need to manage more than 5 profiles (maybe you have multiple Twitter & Facebook pages/accounts), there is a very low cost PRO option within Hootsuite. Right now, you can try Hootsuite PRO for FREE (not catch, it’s just a limited time offer) for 30 days. After the trial, if you’re satisfied and want to keep Hootsuite Pro, then it’s $9/month. Aside from just being able to manage more social media profiles (up to 50 can be managed with PRO), you also can have separate user accounts for your Hootsuite PRO dashboard, have advanced message scheduling options, unlimited RSS feeds and more. It’s a good bang for your buck but, like I said, the free option works for the majority of people I work with.

After creating your Hootsuite account, it’ll walk you through how to fully schedule posts (which is basically just composing your post, selecting which social networks you’d like the post to apply to, and then scheduling a date & time for that post to blast out). I can’t stress enough how EASY it is to use and this is the key to allowing me to maintain a presence on social networks without wasting time on them.

HootSuite: Social Media Management for Business

“I have my Hootsuite account, now what?”

Another good question! Most people that ask me this also tag on to it, wondering what my personal workflow looks like that keeps me from wasting time on social networks. Typically, I set aside a day early in the week (Monday or Tuesday) to write my blog posts for the week. This isn’t to say that I only write on that day, but I like to get as much of my weekly content done and out of the way so I can then focus on something else/another project that also is part of my income.

After writing 3 or 4 blog posts, I’ll schedule them within my WordPress dashboard (click here if you’d like to see what services I use for my website or if you’d like some free resources on making your self created website experience a breeze), nab the individual URL’s for the posts, and open up Hootsuite and begin writing the posts that will be spread via my social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc). It’s important to note that some networks (specifically, Twitter) limit you to 140 characters when posting. Rather than creating separate posts for every specific network, I have just gotten good at being effective with only 140 characters. If you see a post of mine on Facebook longer than 140 characters, I either wrote that one in real time or I scheduled a specific post only for Facebook. OK – moving on…

Within Hootsuite, I can pick which social profiles I want any given post to apply to, WHEN I want those posts to actually be blasted out to the public, and some more awesome FREE features I use for analyzing things like effective hashtags, and when/what time of the day certain types of posts are most effective.

Hootsuite can be a little intimidating for folks but if you’re just looking for something to manage mutliple social media profiles and scheduling posts for  those profiles, Hootsuite is perfect for you.

I think it goes without saying that I gave you the shorthand version of my efficient workflow, but if you’re interested in becoming more of an expert with everything Hootsuite has to offer and/or how to be a more effective online marketer, hit me up and I’d love to help you.

Contact me if you’d like my help with anything you’ve read thus far

Replying to comments

If you DO follow WE THE CREATED on any given social network, you have observed that I not only post consistently, but I also reply consistently too. Most people assume that I am able to reply to their questions on my Facebook wall/Twitter account/G+ page so quickly is, again, because I must be spending all day logged in to these accounts. In a way, that is sort of correct but I’ll elaborate.

If you have a smart phone, as I do (Motorola Nexus 6 — HIGHLY recommend it!), then you are probably familiar with push notifications. Notifications have been my best friend in making sure I get notified that someone has commented on a post I made so that I can quickly go straight to that comment and reply if necessary. For instance, my phone beeps with a notification every time someone directly tweets at me, retweets one of my posts, or favorites them. It also notifies me whenever someone replies to a facebook post I made or comments on that post too. Same goes with my LinkedIN & Foursquare accounts. The only social network I don’t have the ability to receive push notifications on is Google + but, honestly, G+ is mainly a networking account for me and has never been very well monetized like my other social network profiles. These notifications cut out the need for me to have a browser open with tons of tabs that are logged in to separate social networks.

Don’t get me wrong, I do spend on average 6-8 hours a week specifically browsing social networks because 1) it’s fun and fills up dead time & 2) It’s good to see what others are posting about because I enjoy discourse or catching up with friends. The first part of #2 can be done within Hootsuite and is part of how I analyze what to post and when to post it. Again, if you’d like to know more about how I’m successful with my online ventures thanks due in large part to Hootsuite and my tedious amounts of trend analyzing, I’d love to assist you.

Replying in a timely manner to people creates/keeps a good relationship with those specific people, as well as being a potential catalyst to getting people to click on any links you may have posted. By replying to any comments/questions/concerns, it shows people that I do actually care about the content I’m posting about, value their opinions on that given content, which has lead to a very high rate of people clicking my posted links when I reply to their comments/questions as opposed to just blowing off their comments.

Understand it but still need some assistance? I’m here for you, friend!

Conclusion

If you can master the balance between being logged in to social networks all the time but not actually wasting your time, God bless you because I can’t! That’s why I rely on post scheduling to ensure that I can spend my time on efforts that are beneficial to me. “Beneficial” in context to my life isn’t always money making ventures. Freeing up my time because I already wrote out the week’s content and scheduled when the posts are blasted out via social media does allow me to pick up more money making jobs (shameless plug here to mention that I’m able to help you with your webdesign, graphic/logo work, audio & video production needs!) but it also allows me to be a better servant in the Kingdom (uh-oh, he capitalized the K and just randomly got religious on us…), a better father, a better husband, and a better friend! If I allow work to consume my life, I’ll be mediocre at all of those things, at best.

What it comes down to is that I don’t like being stressed with work related stuff and since I work for myself, it’s very easy to become stressed. Financially speaking, I need to focus my working time on what I am good at: Creative design, marketing, and consulting people to being effective at focusing their time on what they’re good at.

I don’t have time to waste all day on social media so Hootsuite has been a life/career/time saver for me.

So if you haven’t already: Go sign up for your FREE (or PRO) Hootsuite account. They’ll hold your hand through the learning process but if you need any help, comment below or email me.

I hope this all serves you well and helps you to be a more effective user of social networks!

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