Facebook and other social media sites are great resources. The interaction capability brought to us by Web 2.0 technology is wonderful. Many people connect with old friends and make new ones. Social media sites are places for having fun and hanging out. We can connect with celebrities and next-door neighbors, with our kids down the hall and our pals on other continents. It is also a place to network and can be quite beneficial for growing your business.
Or, is it? Like many good things, too much can be a bad thing. Too much social media can cause lots of problems (isolation from face-to-face connections, too much time on the computer, addiction to games and other applications, etc.), but from a business perspective, is Facebook costing you money?
Many small and home-based business owners relish and protect their freedom to work unsupervised. We are self-directed creatures, highly accomplished and determined. We have full and busy lives and juggle multiple roles without a second thought.
And, we are human. Running a business gets lonely sometimes, even maybe boring sometimes (gasp), and we need an occasional break. Just a click away, we have friends! Plus groups and games! And, we can always read posts, explore recommended links to funny videos or cutting-edge business news and we can look at photos and artwork and of course, we can join or start conversations with almost anyone.
The problem is not with taking a short break. The problem happens when you find yourself spending time you have scheduled or should have scheduled for business activities on social media sites. If your days fly by and you have nothing to show for the time, then you are most likely losing money by spending money-making time on Facebook. Often, it can even “feel” like work, especially if a lot of your work is online or performed on a computer. But, work produces results and should be making you money.
While there are real possibilities in promoting your business on social media sites, and being social is part of any good social media marketing plan, you have to learn to separate the two and draw the line. Sure, it’s easier said than done, and it can be downright difficult unless you have a plan. Here’s a plan:
--Review your big goals first thing in the morning. It can be easy to think we don’t have much to do if there are no urgent projects or deadlines looming. However, there are always tasks that can lead you closer to your long-term goals. Add some of those to your schedule so that you can be proactive about your success.
--Schedule your time. Choose an appropriate amount of time for you to engage in social media activities and schedule it. Write it down on your calendar or to-do list and stick to it. The harder this seems the more necessary it is for you.
--Do your work first. You can accomplish so much if you work uninterrupted by email and alerts, and that is easier to do first thing in the morning. Once you open your email or favorite social sites, it is easy to get pulled into discussions, games and other activities that can eat up half your day.
--Use social media sites as a reward for accomplishing tasks on your to-do list. Stick to your scheduled amount of time, but it is okay to schedule an additional 10 minutes as a reward for completing a task, especially those we all postpone, like filing. It can be a great motivating tool to get things done.
--Do not keep Facebook or Twitter or your favorite social site open on your desktop. Close them and only log back on when it’s “time”.
--Set a timer or alarm. If you are going to spend 15 minutes before lunch and 15 minutes at 3:00, set your timer before you start. Your cell phone alarm will work just fine for this, as will an ordinary kitchen timer.
If you find social media has become a major time-suck for you, try this plan to regain control of your time. Only you can decide how much time you want to spend on social media sites. Make that choice based on your business goals and dreams, and try to spend your “work” time on activities that have a direct impact on your business success, just like big business should do. Then, you can utilize Facebook and the thousands of other sites out there consciously and to your benefit.
This timer can help you stay on schedule with lots of tasks:
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