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Recently I published a post apologizing for my failure to keep up with my regular blogging commitment on this blog.  I know I’m not alone in the small business world of people who sometimes feel overwhelmed by the need to do their own marketing and keep up with their content commitments in business along with everything else that needs to be done in a small start-up.  The truth is, that confession came after the first time I’d missed regular blogging in over 5 years.  I have maintained a number of different blogs, and I can usually keep up with the commitment of 3-5 blog posts a week, every week, regardless of what’s going on.

Currently, things are very overwhelming for me.  Not only am I homeschooling my two kids through high school, running HotSpot Promotion, and keeping a personal blog going that enables me to share what’s really on my heart and keep me focused on my passions, a situation last April that occured right before our launch of HotSpot Promotion necessitated me getting a part time job.  That job has now found itself in a staffing crunch, and I’m taking on four shifts a week, plus having every second week-end dedicated to lesson planning.  I really don’t have time for Social Media!  Most small businesses don’t, and yet it’s so very, very important.

So how do you cope well when life hits the proverbial fan without losing focus or letting go of one of your most important business tasks (building relationships through social media)?

Get organized!

  • Plan.  First of all, while I keep up with the blog posting on my “PraiseWalker” blog myself, I have someone else helping me manage my own social media on that site (yes, even social media managers have social media managers! :) )  She keeps her eyes open for interesting articles, topics for my blogs, helps me control spam, etc. while I focus the majority of my efforts on HotSpot Promotion.  I like to write a month’s worth of blogs at a time, and program them week by week to post at specific intervals over the month.  If anything interesting happens in the meantime, I can just pop a blog post into the mix and have something truly current show up when it needs to.
  • Automate.  Some tasks (like “conversation starters”, good questions, interesting Internet “finds”) can be automated using services like SocialOomph.  Daily specials and special offers can also be programmed ahead of time into a service like this.  I take a day every month to gather lots of interesting items I could post, and then continue to add to this from time to time as the month progresses.  That way I always have fresh material to use for status updates, etc.  I then use SocialOomph or Tweetspinner (depending on what I’m doing) to automatically post these to my sites.
  • Focus.  When it’s time to work, work.  I don’t let my own social media interrupt my schedule.  There is a time and a place for everything.  I have daily checklists I work through and a calendar task list of important to-do’s I mustn’t forget.  I do this first.  Everything else there is to do, comes after.  A great e-book on focus and getting things done in the quickest possible time is: “Double Your Productivity For Life In Just 48 Hours“.  It’s a quick read with great tips on focus. Tim Ferriss‘ book “The 4-Hour Workweek ” helps you get rid of “fluff” in your daily to-do list, and David Allen‘s “Getting Things Done” shows you how to be truly efficient with what’s left.  I take these trainings seriously and apply everything I can to my daily list.  I wish I could say I’m truly proficient at them but it’s a work in progress!
  • Schedule I’m up at 5:30 in the morning with my husband.  We have tea/coffee, and then I hit the computer.  I have a list of about 6 things I need to get done before I head into work each day.  I have no access to Internet (or real breaks to do much with it, even if I did) so I make sure I have a couple of things programmed to “show up” while I’m away.  I come home and I have about 3 other things I work to get done before dinner – mostly in the realm of engagement – checking my streams, my replies, looking for things to respond to, etc.  Every second weekend is blog weekend and I take turns either updating my PraiseWalker blog with advance blog posts, or my HotSpot blog.  I have two days in the workweek where I don’t have to go to my “job” and those days are spent handling the bulk of my client issues (I have a team managing my clients’ day-to-day management stuff), and moving forward with promotion and marketing for ourselves and our clients.

It’s a crazy schedule, and not an ideal one. I’ll be able to reduce my hours at my “job” by November (I can hardly wait) and then I’ll have more relaxed time to really work the social media in my own businesses. In the meantime, I’m letting the time crunch and stress motivate me to use the time I do have as efficiently and effectively as possible.

How about you? How do you cope with your own social media when you’re in the midst of chaos? Any great tips to share? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Oh, and if you like this post, I’d be so grateful if you’d “like” it below, or share it above (see the links at the top of the post). I so appreciate you for taking time out of YOUR busy day to read this.

Darlene

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