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Why Less is Not Always More With Social Media Productivity

This is a guest post by the very fine Chris Garret, @chrisgarrett.

There are some very good examples of less being more, in design, productivity, and so on. When it comes to social media though, this is not necessarily the case.

I keep hearing the following advice

  • Schedule your tweets to go out automatically so you do not spend too much time in social media
  • Only follow a few people so you do not get information overload
  • Limit your interactions to only “key players”
  • Hook up your blog to your social accounts so you do not have to manually post links
  • Have a maximum of five minutes a day set aside for social media

… and so on.

With due balance and context, some of this is good advice. Some is sourced from good advice but taken to illogical extremes (eg. only five minutes a day?).

The problem with blanket advice is there is no connection to you, your goals, or your overall strategy.

First you have to answer WHY you are getting involved in social media.

Then you have to work out a strategy that works toward that goal.

Limiting yourself and your social media interactions to an arbitrary time figure is like saying you will only use the telephone for five minutes a day just in case you get into wasteful conversations. “Sorry Mr Customer, I have to hang up now as I have gone past my five minutes for the day”. You wouldn’t do that, so why are people happily doing it with social media?

Track progress towards what you want to achieve, do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Most of all … Do what works for YOU.

About the author: Chris Garrett is a new media commentator and internet marketing coach living in the UK. You can find him regularly guest posting at blogs such as this one, or writing for clients such as Cogniview and his own blog at chrisg.com.



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This Post Has 10 Comments
  1. I am not very involved with social media (I have a new twitter account and that’s it).

    I do find that the tips you mentioned like automate all your tweets etc to be a bit strange (I have heard that before). I am not saying there is not a place for automation (after all I am in the time management business!). But if everyone is automating everything with social media, doesn’t that make it an empty social scene…

    (This all made sense in my head…hopefully it does to your too!)
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Feb 19, Ways to Avoid Procrastination: Cure For Procrastination =-.

  2. Forgot to include – Obviously like you said in balance all those tips do make sense.
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Feb 19, Ways to Avoid Procrastination: Cure For Procrastination =-.

  3. Ever since Twitter and Facebook came into our lives it’s hard to talk about simplicity anymore (lol..). Not that it’s a bad thing but most bloggers will have to train themselves more to be a better communicator and smarter manager (of time/tasks).

    I agree that not all strategies work for all people, even schedulers can be a pain in the neck if not used properly (agreed by most readers in previous post) Recently I have been testing out various ways to keep visibility alive in frequented networks, it becomes clearer to me no matter how much I dislike to let go I know I need to. Tough choices needed to be made until a better approach surfaces.

    Thanks Chris and Dragos for the sharing.

    @wchingya
    Social/Blogging Tracker
    .-= Ching Ya´s last blog ..6 Points To Ponder Before Using Automatic Status Updates =-.

  4. Thanks Crisg and Dragos. This is a great perspective. I agree that social media should be used to make real connections. And the truth is that develop real relationships, it will take some effort and inconvenience on our part.
    .-= ProductivePinoy´s last blog ..EFFECTIVENESS vs. SKILL PROFICIENCY =-.

  5. I’ve been amused with all the tools feeding one social media account into another. The ultimate goal of these seems to be to post in one place but have all your “outlets” populated immediately.

    The convenience of this is obvious on the face of it. Yet, there are different audiences and needs on each network and the one size fits all surely can’t be that effective? At least I did not find them effective when I gave them a go.

    I agree with Ching Ya about letting go… visibility is not enough, there needs to be an interaction that works for your objectives.
    .-= Reeta Luthra | Stress and Health´s last blog ..Making Successful Choices =-.

  6. Well, I just finished reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It book last night so some of what you have written about social media sounds very familiar. I would agree that it can get overwhelming sometimes and that there definitely should be limits placed on certain activities that are definite time sunks, but I would also agree that you have to ‘Do what works for YOU’. Asking why you are using social media is also an important question to answer. It should be the first question in your strategy, as you state.

    It’s definitely something that I need to remember, so thanks for sharing.

    Karen
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Invest In Your Most Important Asset – Yourself =-.

  7. Hi Chris, I agree that it would kind of be pointless to limit oneself to using social media for 5 minutes a day. I believe that as long as we are using social media for a good purpose that helps us accomplish a goal, then we shouldn’t worry about time too much. But if we’re just on social media to chat and waste time, then maybe we should just stick to 5 minutes of it.
    .-= Hulbert´s last blog ..My Brother Got Pulled Over by the Police – Part I Interview =-.

  8. Those bits of advice have always confused me…only interact with “key” players? Isn’t that just a fancy way of saying “be a snob?” And automated Tweets are pretty annoying for those of us who are looking for real conversation.

    Of course, email, Facebook, Twitter, blogging and all the other ways we interact can become overwhelming, but automating things is probably not the best way to approach SOCIAL media. How social are recorded messages?

    As with all things, finding a comfortable, workable, individual way to handle social media must be the answer.
    .-= dava´s last blog ..Too Much To Do Can Be Good =-.

  9. Brilliant advice. I have heard the same standard “guidelines” on limiting your time with social media etc and yes, there is something to be said about focusing on one’s own productivity, but you are absolutely right in that it depends entirely on what you want to achieve. If your goal is to market a book or find clientele or promote your brand, how can 5 minutes a day be better than 1 hour? Thank you for the common sense here!

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