Making Social Media Fit Into Your Life As A Birth Professional

by Jeanette McCulloch

in Uncategorized

Do you want to maintain a presence on social media, but don’t have a lot of time?

Does every time you log in to Facebook turn into a 2 hour (ahem, at least) session of reading birth articles, commenting in groups, and yet you end up feeling like you haven’t accomplished anything?

Do you attend births or have other commitments that mean you may be unexpectedly away from the computer for long stretches?

You CAN still be engaged online. What you need is  . . . a social media routine.

Social media routines help you to:

  • Be focused and strategic about your time online
  • Keep up the most important part of social media – engagement – without requiring your 24/7 attention
  • Avoid the common “time sucks” of social media

Our social media routine

No matter what platform you are on, your goals should include:

{One} Finding and sharing new content

{Two} Engaging with your current audience

{Three} Building your audience

Here’s our routine. Please feel free to adapt this to meet your own schedule and communications goals!

Oh, one more thing – I really do set a timer. (I’m a chrome devotee and I use the chromodoro plugin.) I don’t always finish in time (sometimes I just can’t leave a really great conversation or I feel compelled to read a hot new piece of research) but I always set the goal.

{One} Finding and sharing new content. 10 minutes.

Finding content.

My blog reader keeps me up-to-date on my go-to bloggers. Following the demise of Google Reader (RIP) I use Feedly. I scan for articles to share with my community.

I also check my e-mail for content identified by the Google Alerts I set up, using keywords of interest to our community.

Sharing content.

Then, I schedule content for my key social media platforms. Make it go fast with good tools. I use Facebook’s native scheduling tool. Dashboards like Hootsuite allow you to manage multiple platforms like Twitter and Google + simultaneously. I’ve also used Buffer, which is beloved by many for its convenience and one-click coordination with readers like Feedly. I don’t currently schedule pins on Pinterest and everyone’s favorite tool, pingraphy, is no longer free. Have other favorite scheduling tools/dashboards? Let us know in the comments!

{Two} Engaging with your current audience. 10 minutes.

On Facebook, change to “using Facebook as” your page and take a pass through your newsstream. Leave comments on 3-4 sites of people with whom you regularly engage.

On other platforms,  taking the time to learn and customize your dashboard tool will quickly payoff in time and higher engagement. Learn to set up streams in Hootsuite or your tool of choice. Respond to any mentions and engage with 3-4 of your “regulars.” Swing through the hashtags commonly used by your community and comment, RT, or share.

{Three} Building your audience. 10 minutes.

Follow and engage with three new Facebook fan pages (or Tweeps, or pinners or . . . ). Leave a comment or share useful content with three new people you haven’t connected with in the past.

Be sure to respond to anyone who has engaged with you!

How often?

{One} Schedule as works for you! I usually schedule every 48 hours or so because I want to share the most current and relevant information. You can do this as infrequently as once a week if that works for you.

{Two} Plan 2-3 sessions per week where you plan to actively engage with your audience.

{Three} Plan to check in daily for quick responses to comments and questions.

{Finally} Step away from that computer (or tablet or smartphone)! Engage in the habit of quick, planned bursts of strategic social media for three weeks. See if that helps you feel like you are accomplishing more, connecting more effectively, and using your time more strategically.

What is your social media routine? What tools help you stay connected while keeping it efficient?

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