People tell me lots of reasons that they don’t use social media as part of their marketing efforts. For the most part, they all boil down to one thing: TIME. They don’t have the time to learn how to use it, they don’t have the time to actually use it, they don’t have time to waste, and so on and so on.

You can successfully use social media in as little as 15 minutes a day. However, there are two things to keep in mind: FOCUS and PLANNING.

Keeping your focus may be one of the hardest things to do. There’s lots and lots of fun and interesting things to look at on social media and it’s hard not to get sucked in with all the bright, shiny objects (look…a squirrel!). You can always go back when you’re not working and catch up.

You may need to set a timer to make sure that you keep your focus. If you’re reading great articles that are business-oriented, or other items that do help with your business, it’s OK to go over the time limit. However, get your posts done first!

It is important to remember that you do need to interact with others. Social media is all about being “social” – not “pay attention to me and only me.” Take a couple of moments to respond to appropriate posts by others and always, ALWAYS make time to respond to comments on posts you made.

No matter how long you spend on social media, a key component is planning. Before you even dip your toes into the social media pool, determine which sites you’re going to use. It’s just like networking in person – it may be fun to see people, but if it doesn’t benefit your business, is it a good use of your time? The same goes for social media. Determine which sites will be the most beneficial for your business and spend time there.

Many people tell me they don’t know what to post and content can be a problem. Are there “frequently asked questions” for your industry? Those make great content! How about new innovations? Industry news? Something new at your organization? Trending topics? There’s tons of great content when you actually think about it.

One of my resources is SmartBrief, which provides curated content for a wide-variety of industries on a daily basis…for free! Another good source is Flipboard, as well as online business or industry magazines.

Use a scheduling program to post several articles at once, across several social media sites, with the actual posting times varying. At the moment, my favorite is Buffer, which has both free and paid versions.

No matter what your source is, always READ the entire article to make sure it’s actually something you want to post. Then, take a moment to write something about the article to generate COMMENTS!

I’ll admit that 15 minutes may not be enough time – but it’s a starting point. Once you get the hang of it, you may spend more time. But, always remember: FOCUS and PLAN!

What are your time-saving tips? Post them in the Comments.

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