social media how toSocial media isn’t something that we’re born to do. Yes, we’re social creatures by nature, but let’s face it… you were plenty busy before Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn came along.

The truth is, most marketers simply don’t have the time to use all of these tools on a daily basis.

So the trick is to create and maintain a social media presence in as little time as possible, while remaining effective and worthwhile.

Here are three tips to manage your social media presence in as little as 10 minutes per day.

#1: Take One Platform Bite at a Time

Will you need a solid presence on Twitter and Facebook if you want to rock social media? Probably, but it doesn’t mean you have to get it all going at once.

If you only have 10 minutes to work with, then you’ll have to focus, which means that you shouldn’t try to divide your time among all platforms equally.

For those getting started

Don’t try to master each platform at once. Pick one and get that platform up and running before you jump to the next. If it’s Facebook, then take the time to get your Facebook page set up properly. If you decide to start with Twitter, then read this guide to get started.

This means you’ll need proper branding (images, messaging, etc.), a proper bio, a decent FBML page and an active wall.

Focus on getting each part perfected before you move to the next, but in the end, it’s the wall that counts.

Want to see a good example of how to rock a wall page? Check out this recent conversation starter:

By asking questions when you post a link on Facebook, you can encourage engagement.

For those already rolling

If you’ve already got everything set up the way you need it, then I recommend that you alternate between platforms on a daily basis. Ten minutes spent on Facebook in one day is better than 3 to 4 minutes every day.

Juggling doesn’t work, so take it one platform at a time.

#2: Respond to Your Fans

Many companies feel the need to talk first and respond later. This isn’t going to work.

First, most people aren’t listening to you. They’re waiting for you to respond. This is especially true of consumers.

Even though this might seem like a drag, the reality is that it’s an opportunity for you to create an excellent experience and add to your company’s narrative. If you can make a difference with just one reply, then you’re golden.

So… spend the most significant portion of your time responding to @’s, messages, wall posts, and most importantly… putting out fires.

This boils down to being an effective listener and having done a good job of setting up listening stations, while simultaneously being ready and willing to embrace detractors by meeting them on their turf and doing your best to take away their ammunition.

If you’re dealing with a light day (no complaints), then spend time getting to know your people better. Don’t differentiate between customers and prospects, because anyone can become a brand evangelist if you treat him right.

If this takes your 10 minutes, then at least you’ve spent time on the important side of social media, which is improving and repairing relationships.

Look at how Facebook responds to complaints about their recent changes via Twitter. Not only did they adjust their policies, but they adjusted their messaging as well.

#3: Reach Out And Help People

Pick an off-day to reach out and lend a hand to people who don’t expect it.

Many times, this can be a random person in a Facebook group, or even someone tweeting a question about your particular industry or niche.

Don’t ask them to follow you and don’t link a product. Simply seek out those who need help using searches and your networking skills, and give them what they need.

Might this lead to an invitation to join you on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog? Sure, but that’s not the goal.

The goal is to get on people’s radar, and get them talking about you.

It’s highly possible that the people needing your help the most don’t actually know who you are, and just as you wouldn’t shove a business card in someone’s face at a conference (you wouldn’t, right?), you shouldn’t shove a link down a Twitter or Facebook user’s throat.

Just extend a helping hand so that they know who you are and how to find you. That’s it.

Once you’re good at doing this, you should be able to hit both Twitter and Facebook in less than 5 minutes. A tweet takes what, 10 seconds? In 5 minutes you should be able to send out 6 to 12 tweets and reply to a dozen Facebook threads.

If you’re worried about doing too much at once, then use a service like Social Oomph to schedule your replies. There’s nothing wrong with scheduling an authentic tweet, especially if it prevents the appearance of spam.

I’m not a customer of Blue Sky Factory, but they sure as heck treat me (and others like me) as if I were one.

Pick Your Poison

Each of these three steps is important, and each will help you rock the social media universe. The key really is to focus on one or two actions per day, and leave the rest for tomorrow.

Obviously, putting out fires is important, but don’t get wrapped up in it. There’s always another fire.

The same is true of replies. You don’t have to reply to everything. Sometimes a blanket statement will do, while other times a tweet to a blog post will do.

If you’re hearing a lot of the same thing, then maybe it’s time to address it on your website so that you can send the message to everyone at once.

Lastly, don’t underestimate the importance of just hanging out. Marketing messages often go unnoticed on Twitter and Facebook. Let your actions tell the story and your interaction be the message.

Don’t try too hard to stand out. Believe it or not, doing the opposite might earn you all the respect you need.

How do you manage your social media? Let us know your thoughts and ideas in the box below.

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  • 10 minutes a day sounds like a challenge but would love it work!!

  • I can’t tell you how important Point #2 is. So many people create pages and then ignore the activity on them. This is what will build your online community, not just auto posted items or feeds.

    Point # 3 – Reaching out and helping people is how I built a lot of online contacts and new clients as well. People really appreciate your help and time to do it as well.

  • I agree with Kathy — interacting with people, whether it’s responding to your fan base or just some random person who asked you a question (on facebook or twitter) — it’s important to build those relationships. I see some FB fan pages where all they do is ask questions and while it’s clear that someone is posting those questions for discussion, you never (or very rarely) see a response to any of them from the original poster, which is why I think many of them end up not being very successful.

    I also think “don’t underestimate the importance of just hanging out” is a HUGE thing — so many people just don’t “get” twitter — but twitter is about meeting and getting to know people you didn’t already know, whereas facebook (not a fan page, but a personal account, anyway) is more about interacting with existing friends and family. But people want to know there’s a real person on the other side of the computer. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) get into all the mundane details of your life, but little things like being excited about Netflix on the Wii or the new Spicy Chicken from Chick-Fil-A (both things I’ve posted about recently) let people know that I’m a real person and will often start a conversation about the quality, how I liked it, how it compared to this or that, etc. Or maybe they’ve had similar experiences and they make a connection with you — which is what people are looking for. It’s all about connecting with people.

  • Carrie

    I agree with all of these points. I manage two social media accounts for small businesses. The rule we use is if we post, they respond, we respond and we are always the last communication on the post. We stay actively involved with the discussions, even if it is someone saying have a nice day-we will reply. It’s worked well, they know we care and are committed to our fans and followers.

  • The point about doing a bit today and leaving the rest for tomorrow is huge for me. I tend to get overwhelmed and feel like I need to be doing something on each platform EVERY DAY, then of course I don’t do ANY of it effectively! I am going to start doing 10 minutes per day on ONE, then on another one the next day. 🙂

    Thanks for the tips!

  • susanredmon

    Hi Kathy,

    Great tips!

    It’s easy to get trapped in the details of setting up social media accounts and lose track of what’s truly important . . . connecting with people. Thanks for pointing out where the focus should be.

    Have a great day,

  • Some great advice Nathan!

    The one thing that struck a cord with me is to reach out to a random person and offer to help them. I’ve never thought of doing that and like how it shows a genuine interest in people who are your target audience or operate within your niche. This is something I intend to implement immediately!

    One thing to note is, yes it is easy and convenient to syndicate your RSS feed to Twitter and Facebook to automate things. But this makes you more like a robot rather than a person who is genuinely interested in the needs of your target audience. Nathan’s advice on just hanging out is great advice and builds relationships with others who will not only share your content, may also become a loyal customer.

    Great advice, thanks for the post!

  • Thanks for the information!!

  • rickey gold

    These are terrific tips. It’s really all about KISS!

  • Nathan, you make some very valid & simple points. My challenge though, is staying on for just ten minutes! LOL. It always ends up being a few hours dispersed throughout the day.

    I try to limit the time spent by not engaging in every discussion that’s happening but even then, it adds up cos I’m watching about 60-70% of the time and interacting the rest of the time. I’ve yet to come across someone who works from home & still manages to run in and out of social media sites in 10 min a day. On a daily basis that is. Maybe I just know too many social people 😉

    Not complaining though, cos that’s my choice – to interact and connect and learn and inspire and have fun. My social media activities include twitter, facebook, facebook fan page, reading a bunch of blogs and commenting on them, and of late, I’m being very intentional in reaching out to people in my stream to connect with one new person a day by phone or in person.

    It’s going a long way in strengthening my relationships with people – and even creating connections where only names and faces existed before. THAT is something I wish more people would do but I’m not waiting for anyone to reach out to me, I’m making a stand for intentional social media and reaching out myself.

    A great tip from Mars Dorian is to email 2-3 of your blog post commentors personally, thanking them and connecting with them. I haven’t done that yet, but I love it! These little things make a big difference in establishing and maintaining online social media relationships.

    Cheers! @TiaSparkles

  • You can easily let time run away from you when managing social media profiles. The article is right on – stay focus and pointed in your activity and communications. Thanks!

  • So easy to lose hours at a time if you aren’t careful, that’s for sure.

  • Yep, it’s important to remember to be there and be present, but at the same time…we’ve only got so much time in the day, and we have to keep focus on the product as well.

  • There’s always a list, so why stress over it right? 🙂

  • I like that strategy a lot, and it’s proof that you aren’t just randomly talking to make it appear as if you’re engaging.

  • Well it’s tough to do it all, especially if you’re a small shop. However, if you can master one territory, then people get used to seeing you there, and the lack of interaction on other profiles is often overlooked.

  • Absolutely, why set up the page if you’re not going to get involved at some level?

  • It is, but I believe it’s possible.

    This doesn’t account for the times we’re just hanging out and having fun, but just those times when you can’t afford to do much more.

  • Thanks Susan, But they are Nathan’s tips not mine! 😉 I just made a comment on how good a couple of them were!

  • Hi Nathan
    I like your comments and perhaps that is why I have found Twitter to make me feel like I am throwing comments into thin air. I have been very mindful of not sending out massive amounts of spam, and I probably respond less to my followers than I should. I started out with good intensions but I didn’t follow through with people. I think that going through and finding people to help is a great idea. Thanks for this.

  • I usually like the stuff you provide and find it very useful. On this one I have to respectfully disagree. Any business which has only 10 minutes a day for social media should not start to dabble in it and I use the word “dabble” deliberately. In view of the importance of the social web on how consumers communicate, research, shop and buy today, anyone, even a small business owner who thinks 10 minutes is all they have to devote to this, doesn’t get the importance of it. It’s like saying we can only spend 10 minutes on customer service a day.

  • keyshabass

    It’s very important to not overwhelm yourself with trying to take on too many strategies. When I started I just had facebook and it seems to be a great place for beginner marketers to start.

  • Hi Nathan,

    The big question I get when speaking about social media is “How much time does it take?” Obviously, the real question is “How much time will I have to spend?”. Your post gives clear, intelligent advice about how to incorporate new activity into an already busy schedule. I’ll reference it in the future. Thanks.

  • Darryl

    Bless you from one of the easiest distracted individuals on the planet!

  • Nathan: I don’t understand your reply to Nathan. what do you mean by “those times when you can’t afford to do much more”

  • Very simple and understandable — thanks for these tips!

  • billysticker

    Great post Nathan. I listen to your podcasts too. Very *practical* tips. That’s what we like.

  • I am using social media for my brand promotion, but unable to maintain all my accounts profiles and updates. But, I am extremely thankful to you that you have provided such easy tips for handling the situation. I start to work the way you have provided. Thanks for an appreciating stuff.

  • Hello there
    I have just started this social media thing recently and its canny that your tips are exactly the things im making mistakes on . i will be following these ideas and that will hopefully boost me on.The best way that i can describe all this is like (Whoever is the best talker and fun personality at a party gets the most attention” Would this be accurate”).

  • I believe he means for those times when you can’t afford to do much more.

  • Qotal

    I loved the article, but I usually fail to accomplish point #3 in under 10 minutes. Sometimes it takes me 10 minutes just to find the answers people need.

  • This is excellent advice! I hadn’t thought of trying to use just 10 mins a day. It’s surprising how much you can get done, if you only allow yourself a short time to do it.

  • I’m glad you mentioned taking everything one step at a time. Many beginning bloggers just jump into every platform they can see. Personally, I set up my Twitter first, stayed on that for a couple of days, went over to FaceBook, got that set up, than hopped around to other services like LinkedIn. It’s like owning a car refurbishing business, but only spending an hour on each car. Will you be able to fix that car up completely? No.

  • This is absolutely one of the best posts I’ve ever read about managing Social Media Marketing. This blog is also one of the few that I REGULARLY read religiously. Keep up the good work.

  • Okay, I understand now! Thanks

  • I take advantage of a quiet day or when I’m on a train to schedule in a series of tweets using SocialOomph. But trying to keep to 10 mins a day is quite hard!

  • Anne

    There’s an excellent whitepaper download from Palo Alto Networks, “To Block or Not. Is that the question?” here: It has lots of insightful and useful information about identifying and controlling Enterprise 2.0 apps (Facebook, Twitter, Skype, AIM, etc). Enjoy!

  • You nailed it with this article. Best one liner ever “The goal is to get on people’s radar and get them talking about you.”

  • Amy

    A coworker and I were just talking about this topic this morning. Thanks for validating how we feel. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed with trying to tackle to many social media outlets at once. It’s nice to know that actually might not be the smartest avenue to take.

  • Excellent advice and information! Even though I am a social media manager for others and manage the time well, I don’t handle it well for myself. I get all wrapped up in one thing and before you know it, an hour has gone by. (It’s similar to what they say about how you can clean another persons house but not your own!)

    I also love the suggestion about getting out and helping others (another passion of mine). I have gotten more clients by doing this. I strike up a genuine conversation with someone, never imaging they might be a potential client and before you know it, they are! (It actually makes for a great relationship because we’ve somewhat become good friends by the time we work together.)

  • CampingEquipmentCo

    Great comments here and it seems everyone agrees with the importance of engaging at a personal level

    Is there anyone out there who is putting these rules into practice?

    If so, I’d love to know if this has netted you any kind of specific result and on what sort of level eg brought a lot of measurable traffic to your site?

    Thanks all

  • CampingEquipmentCo

    Great comments here and it seems everyone agrees with the importance of engaging at a personal level

    Is there anyone out there who is putting these rules into practice?

    If so, I’d love to know if this has netted you any kind of specific result and on what sort of level eg brought a lot of measurable traffic to your site?

    Thanks all

  • Anne

    Social media apps like Facebook and Twitter can be a boon to businesses when used properly and in the right context. Using social media apps however, come with risks to your network security and privacy. To help your IT department counter these risks, check out: me know what you think…

  • Anne

    Social media apps like Facebook and Twitter can be a boon to businesses when used properly and in the right context. Using social media apps however, come with risks to your network security and privacy. To help your IT department counter these risks, check out: me know what you think…

  • Excellent information, thanks!!

    I’m finding that utilizing apps like TweetDeck and Seismic to categorize my communications into topic helps me manage my time efficiently and is much less overwhelming when engaging with so much media at once!

    And as a side note, the book Tribe, by Seth Godin is a must when engaging in social media to help amplify your mission or message.

    Thanks for the info!

  • You’re so much in the money, Nathan. Everything begins with baby steps – and social media is no exception.

    Spending 10 minutes every day on social media – with the baby steps you listed down here – is a surefire way to succeed in social media.

    #1 Take One Platform Bite at a Time – especially resonated with me. I was comparing social media to parenthood a few days ago on my blog, Social Media Notebook – and had a similar suggestion to offer. Focus on one baby at a time. Trying to look after twins (or even triplets) is difficult, confusing and stressful 🙂

  • nathanofsm

    Hi Nathan, Great content here, I always learn a lot from your posts.

  • Taking the most value of your social media engagement is simply the best way to manage the time and effort you put into it. You need to deliver your goals right straight to your market and utilize the most convenient channel for your business type.

  • Great tips! Conversation, conversation, conversation.

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  • Aanchal Agarwal

    i like the post it is quite helpful..i am new into social media thing..though i have a thing going on in mind..what if no one responds to your page on facebook? here no one is in sense of just few people…how do you actually create a brand???

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