The Social Media Time Suck and How to Avoid It

Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Google+. And the list goes on.

At first, it was just web browsing that ate your productivity, then it was email, and now with social media it’s mushroomed into an all-consuming black hole. Or at least, that’s how it can seem. Without a doubt, social media has changed our communication landscape. And whether you use social media for business or personal use, you’ve probably noticed how much of your time can go down the rabbit hole of social media. Ideally, you’re using these tools personally for fun, and if you’re using them for business, they are generating leads or they’re helping you engage your community. Either way, there are strategies and tools that can help with your social media time management.

Compartmentalize. Decide how much time you want to spend on social media weekly or daily, and then schedule a set time each day when you will check up on your Facebook page, read your Twitter feed, and see what’s happening on LinkedIn. Just because social media CAN be accessed continuously, definitely does not mean that it SHOULD be accessed continuously. In fact, leaving email, social media, and other tools that ping you for your attention open all day long can be a huge distraction and can sap your productivity tremendously. If it’s helpful, you can even use a timer, like in the Pomodoro Technique, to help you hold the time container you’ve set for managing your social media.

Choose. There is a laundry list of available social media platforms. Don’t feel obligated to be on every platform – choose which ones you like and spend your precious time there. Are you mostly interested in professional networking? LinkedIn is for you. Want to check out what your friends are up to or engage in a multimedia conversation with your community? Facebook is probably where you’ll want to be. Or do you just want short updates on what people are up to? Try Twitter.

Even though tools all fall under the social media umbrella, they are decidedly different from each other. Choose the one you like and/or where your people are, and devote time to building your presence. And, if you don’t like social media, remember, being on it at all is OPTIONAL! If you don’t enjoy being on it, your messages will seem inauthentic. Better to find another way to engage with people.

Use tools. There are many tools designed to help you manage your social media. If you have downtime while on the bus or train, download a mobile application to help you make the most of your commute. If you are reading and responding to social media at your desk, save time by using a web application like Postling or Sprout Social to centralize and consolidate your various networks. Getting all your social media onto one screen gives you fewer sites to visit and fewer tasks to keep track of.

Remember, you are in control when it comes to social media and time management. Unless it’s your job to manage your company’s social media presence, I doubt you want to spend your entire day on social media – you probably have other priorities you’d like get to!

Try some of the strategies listed above, and if you have ideas on managing social media, please sound off in the comments!

Joshua Zerkel, Productivity Strategist, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and the founder of Custom Living Solutions the San Francisco Bay Area’s premier productivity and organizing consulting firm, and he’s the creator of the Profitable Productivity System. Josh specializes in helping entrepreneurs and small businesses find easy ways to get control of their space, information, time, and technology so they can reduce stress and boost their productivity – and their profits. Visit Custom Living Solutions and get instant access to Josh’s exclusive Special Report “The 7 Must-Have Productivity Systems” and schedule your complimentary “Eliminate the Chaos” strategy session!


Top 3 YouTube SEO Tips

At last fall’s SMX Expo in New York, I attended a session on SEO and YouTube. Among the things I learned: Search engine users are 50 percent more likely to click on videos in search results than on text-based results. And Google Instant, the recent addition to the Google interface that displays search results as you type, has increased clicks on video results by 28 percent.

Clearly, videos are great for attracting attention from search engine users. Here are 3 quick tips to help your videos rise in search engine rankings:

Use YouTube for your keyword research

As with Google, when you start typing a search query on YouTube, the site will suggest terms related to what you’re typing. If you type “silly pets” in YouTube’s search bar, for instance, YouTube will suggest variations such as “silly pet tricks” and “silly pet videos.” These suggestions give you an idea of the terms YouTubers are using to find videos, which you can then add to your YouTube video titles and descriptions. Keep in mind, however, that the most popular terms are often the most competitive, too, which makes them harder to rank for.

Put your important keywords in your title, description, and tags

As with any SEO effort, put your keyword phrase at the beginning of your video’s title, as well as in the description and the tags. Keep titles within 65 characters (including spaces and punctuation). Longer titles can get clipped in search results. Use the entire space alloted for your description and make it as compelling as possible. Your goal is to motivate people to click to view your video from among the others in the search results.

Look at the analytics of other videos

In many cases, you can see the keywords, URLs, and related videos viewers used to find a video. This can give you ideas for keywords to use for your own videos. Note: Some people don’t allow YouTube to display their analytics to others. Also, don’t forget to monitor your own video’s analytics. If YouTube’s analytics aren’t sufficient, consider third-party tools like VOOT (Video Online Optimization Tracker), a new service currently in invitation-only beta.

James A. MartinJames A. Martin is an SEO copywriter and consultant based in San Francisco.


6 Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

Enough has been written about the need to create a personal brand today if you want customers, clients, and potential job possibilities to find their way to you in a fairly direct way.

In my opinion, what many of us don’t do is think through the branding process ahead of time, plan it out and make a schedule to put our plans into motion.

So here is what we can do

 Understand what you are passionate about because without passion to sustain you every day, it is hard to keep up your personal branding efforts regularly. This means that you analyze your brand and research if it is something that creates a positive experience for you. I am very much in favor of the “fake it til you make it” approach, but see if your brand is in your area of expertise and if it feels right for you and reflects what you want to represent.

Create your niche and look at:

  • What makes you different, what makes you interesting?
  • How do people introduce you, are they associating you with your particular niche?
  • Do you know how your competitors differ from you?

Develop a sound personal brand message

Have a personal brand message for the quick introduction. Remember you can test it when you are in line for a movie or at the doctor’s office. You’d be amazed what kinds of contacts you can make if you try to connect there. Write down and refine your brand message to use on social networks and when you connect to your customers.

Set up a social media plan

Where are you going to put your efforts online? As you know, the most important way to be visible today online is through your web site and blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – so do something on them – now!

Before launching your personal brand in social media and offline, develop a written(!) strategy and look at:

  • Your goals, what can you commit to?
  • How will you know that your strategy is successful?
  • How will you measure this success?
  • What are the steps you will have to take to implement your strategy?

Make a weekly schedule for your online branding strategy and decide how much time you will give to each social network and to your offline efforts as well:

  • Decide how often you’re going to blog – key word is consistency.
  • When are you going to post on Facebook and Twitter?
  • Do you have enough time to “answer” questions in LinkedIn, How to Use Linked In For Business? Or get involved in groups?
  • How often will you update your web site with articles and good tips?
  • Do you show up in business organizations, meet-ups, alumni groups where you can show off your brand?

Don’t over-think these steps! Just go ahead and start – nothing is “written in stone”, you always have a chance to improve and change your tactics later on.

Angelika BlendstrupAngelika Blendstrup is an expert at International Business Communications: Personal Branding, Accent Reduction, Presentation/VC Pitch Training; Author & Speaker Professional Business Communications.

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, It Is Best Not to Say Anything

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, it is best not to say anything;” basic common sense equally applicable in the digital age. A good example of this is Yelp. There is a growing trend on the Web to permit comments and reviews, which can be done “anonymously.” But more and more the commenter’s identity is not so secret. And when the posting is false or slanderous, the commenter may be sued for libel or defamation by the injury party.

The recent case of Wong v. Jing is based on a negative and false posting on Yelp regarding a dentist; Wong v. Jing, 2010 WL 4457330 (Cal. App. Ct. Nov. 9, 2010). In the posting, the commenter was identified by initials only. However, the dentist was able to link the post to the father of a child treated by the dentist. The California Court of Appeals held that the father in his Yelp post falsely accused the dentist of harming the child’s nervous system by the use of laughing gas, failing to advise the parents of the risks with amalgam fillings, and misdiagnosis. The father defended his posting as an exercise of his constitutionally-protected right of free speech. The Court held otherwise, stating that “to constitute a libel it is not necessary that there be a direct and specific allegation of improper conduct. The charge may be either expressly stated or implied; and in the latter case the implication may be either apparent from the language used, or of such a character as to require the statement and [colloquium or innuendo to show the meaning].”

The Court of Appeals held that the dentist is able to proceed with a libel lawsuit against the father for the false Yelp posting, and sent the case back to the trial court for further proceedings against the father.

Yelp was also sued by the dentist, but the website was quickly dismissed from the case. Hosting websites are generally immune from liability for harm created by false postings. To add insult to injury, Yelp has grounds against the dentist to recover its attorney’s fees.

Before posting comments on Yelp keep in mind what your words imply and that they could be considered libel. Sometimes the less said really is better.

Denise Chambliss

Denise ChamblissAttorney Denise Chambliss is a Senior Associate of Garcia & Gurney, A Law Corporation, a law firm in Pleasanton, CA. Ms. Chambliss serves clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as clients throughout California.

Social Networking for Business: Are You Doing What’s Right for Yours?

The BIG 3: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Everybody who’s anybody has a profile in each. And it seems everybody is preaching the same thing:

  • You HAVE to have a Facebook Fan Page
  • You HAVE to be on Twitter
  • You HAVE to join LinkedIn and participate in groups

But, do you really HAVE to do any of this? Will your business fall in the water if you don’t?

The answer depends on your target audience.

Remember, your target audience determines where you should be and how you spend your time. If your target audience spends their day on Twitter, then that’s where you should be engaging with them. While it may be a little challenging to have a full-fledged conversation, you can still interact and find out what their challenges are, participate in the conversation when they are looking for solutions and become a trusted adviser.

The same could be true if your target audience hangs out on Facebook. Maybe they prefer to interact there because there’s no character limit (like the 140 characters on Twitter). They may like the back and forth conversation of posting comments on each others wall and seeing their updates throughout the day.

The point is, participating in social networking is just like participating in live networking. You should only attend the “events” that make sense for you and your business. Thus, you should only be spending your time where your target audience is hanging out – otherwise you’ll miss the boat completely.

Nothing is more frustrating than spending your efforts pursuing a particular marketing strategy only to find that it generates ZERO results. Has that ever happened to you? If so, it’s likely because the strategy (or in this case the platform) didn’t fit your business. You may be chasing an opportunity that doesn’t even interest your target audience — and they’re not going to go looking for you either.

In order to provide the solution to a problem, you need to be visible when your ideal prospects need you. Marketing yourself and your services is simply about educating your target audience about how you can solve their problems. You can’t be a day late to the party. Take the time to do your research and find out EXACTLY which social networks your target market is hanging out in. This will tell you where you should be spending your time. And most importantly, you will see the return on your time investment as you’ll be connecting directly with the people who are already looking for you.

A big part of your social networking marketing success will depend on how well you do your research. Take the time to interview your current clients, as well as any prospects whom you’ve met with but aren’t working with yet. You can send them a short survey via Survey Monkey or simply pick up the phone and ask them. You can also use a tool like Flowtown which will analyze your email list and tell you exactly which social networks your subscribers are participating in.

By taking the time to research which social networks your ideal prospects are interested in, you will demonstrate that you are committed to helping others and serving their needs. You’re not just following the crowd because it’s the “in” thing. This isn’t high school – and the success of your business depends on your ability to connect with your target audience.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a presence on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn or ever engage there. All of these are great platforms with a high search engine ranking. So if you have a well-developed profile that will help folks to find you when they’re searching for you online, that may be enough. But what you want to seriously consider is which social networks you should concentrate your time and marketing efforts on. Think about it, wouldn’t you rather have 100 highly qualified and targeted potential clients to engage with and learn from rather than 2,000 people on Twitter who have no idea of your expertise and talents? Of course!

So, which social network will it be for you – or rather your target audience? It might (or might NOT) be any of the “BIG 3?. It could be a small community on a Ning network just waiting for an expert like you to join in the conversation. Take your time to do the research and find the best solution for you and your tribe. Make the commitment to participate in the conversation for at least three months before evaluating your performance. You’ll need at least that long to get comfortable and start developing relationships with the folks you meet.

Let me know what you find! If you find a specialized network outside of the big 3, post your findings below and let the community know how it’s working for you!

Your Action Plan For The Week:

  1. Create a simple survey using Survey Monkey and ask people in your network which social media sites they participate in.
  2. Register for an account with Flowtown and analyze your email subscriber list to see which sites your audience frequents.
  3. Research what other industry or niche specific social media networks are available.
  4. Optimize all of your social media profiles and start actively participating in the sites where your ideal prospects are most active.

Sydni Craig-Hart

Sydni Craig-HartSydni Craig-Hart, expert marketing coach and consultant, supports service professionals in creating success – in both their businesses and their lives. Known as “The Smart Simple Marketing Coach,” Sydni uses a results-focused, “how to” approach in implementing simple and customized strategies so clients realize their professional and personal dreams. She has worked with hundreds of clients in over 50 different industries to help them attract more clients, develop multiple streams of income, discover untapped profit centers, gain national recognition, and create profitable businesses in which they enjoy the lifestyles they choose. To get your free Smart Simple Marketing Starter Kit and to schedule a complimentary “Profit Breakthrough” coaching session, visit