Tips on finding time to socially engage online

finding time

We all experience difficulties in finding time to do everything we want to do. And regularly interacting, engaging and commenting on social media and blogs is no exception!

I confess I am as guilty as the next person. I feel terrible I am not practising what I preach, but there is only one of me. However, this post will give you some tips to attempt to rectify the problem of living in a time-poor world.

There is no need to complete absolutely everything presented here. But it is important to do at least some of them. Make an objective for finding time to achieve some socialising on the web, because once you have done, you will feel so much better for it!

Check out this infographic for some ideas:

Tips on finding time to socially engage online

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You need to have a reason for commenting and engaging, otherwise you'll have no focus. The result would be aimlessly wandering around social networking sites, reading this, popping in an answer to that, with no structure to whatever you are doing.

If you have formed yourself a strategy or target for your social engaging, suddenly the process become more meaningful, and therefore purposeful. You will not be wasting time, because you are aiming for an end result. However, don't assume this will happen overnight, as socialising creates better benefits over a period of time.

Social interaction and engagement is not a quick fix tactic. It's all about forming relationships with a potential warm audience. It's all about wooing them, changing how they think and making them remember you for the right reasons. Providing a constant message will eventually form the impression you want to achieve.

Where is your audience and when are they there?

Part of successful online engagement is talking to the right people. Social media has millions of potential followers, but are they all suitable? And would they all be interested in you? Realistically you need to set your targets a little lower.

It's worth spending a bit of time analysing your potential audience and finding out a bit more about them. This includes understanding which social platforms they prefer, the subjects they prefer to talk about, and when they are most likely to be around. Going in when nobody's there is not only soul destroying, but a waste of your valuable time.

And it's worth testing these socialising periods to see when your chosen audience is most active. This also includes knowing what to say which would get them going! Remember socialising is not for talking about your business, but to be able to listen carefully to your followers so you can relate to them better.

Scheduling valuable content in advance

A lot of busy people will resort to scheduling the sharing of their content within social networks. I know, I also do this. I use plugins which share my posts on Twitter, and other scheduling apps in which I load up content to drip feed throughout the day to whoever might be interested in reading it.

This may be suitable for busy people for whom finding time to always be active within social media isn't an option. This is particularly so for solepreneurs or businesses with few employees. Knowing your (and other interesting) content is given exposure within social networks rather than lying dormant in your blog or feed readers can be a great comfort.

However, you shouldn't totally rely on this. Automation is not the solution to interaction and engaging online. The best way would be to use this as a lever when you do go online. Ask people for their opinions about the subjects you have shared. Getting them talking will enable you to learn more about how you can help them.

Overcoming your time-poor problem

People who are thoroughly organised always seem to get a heck of a lot of work done. This is because they block out time in their diaries for everything they do. And this needs to include social engagement and commenting as well.

Work out how much time you can realistically and consistently provide towards social interaction online. This is important, because having a sudden flurry of intensive activity followed by a lengthy fallow period won't be helpful to both you and your potential audience.

Segment activities which are specifically targeted towards online socialising. Combine this with your marketing strategies to make the process of finding time more productive, meaningful and achievable. Knowing when, where and how to socialise results in efficiency, effectiveness and even enjoyment!

Finding time to get creative!

One way to get noticed is to offer brightly coloured visuals, such as infographics, memes, gifs and other kinds of graphics within social media. You can produce these relatively simply on sites such as Canva. These can be very compelling in getting a simple message across to potential followers. Offer one concept at a time to make them more memorable.

Another tactic is finding time to produce videos, either live or pre-recorded. Even people who are introverts and would rather stick pins in their eyes should consider doing this. Once you've mastered how to quickly create something on a regular basis, your social engagement reach will start to soar.

Leaving visuals such as graphics or videos on social media gives your audience something to talk about. They are more likely to comment on these than an automated blog post feed or the occasional retweet or like. This gives you the opportunity to immediately reply to their responses, and ask questions to continue the conversation further.

Learning how to focus properly

I deliberately turn off the notification system on my emails, and turn down the sound on my phone to avoid hearing all those beeps! This is because I prefer silence when I'm being creative. And you can extend this concept to when you socially interact online.

This kind of distraction doesn't have to stop with technology. Having blocked out a period of activity in your diary, it would be disastrous if you were continuously interrupted by calls or your staff requiring your attention. Social engagement works best with proper focus on what people are saying or writing, so you can respond to them better.

If finding time for online socialising is important to you, you should treat this opportunity like gold. Read posts really carefully before answering. Take time to go through a thread thoroughly before joining in. Whatever you contribute needs to be relevant, valuable and helpful if you are going to make any meaningful impact.

How do you go about finding time to engage properly?

Being in the right frame of mind is a big factor when it comes to finding time to accomplish anything. Having a proper focus through a strategy, a goal which you know is realistic and measurable, will certainly help. Knowing how your audience ticks and what they like to talk about is another advantage.

You will only become popular online if you continuously turn up. People have to constantly see you to keep you in the forefront of their minds. This is a tall order, hence why being organised with your time is a good solution. If you find this difficult, I suggest starting with baby steps to make the process easier over time.

If you have any tricks or tips to add to this post to enhance what I've already mentioned, please let us know in the comments below. Finding time is a large issue for many people, myself included, so we would all value whatever you can share with us. We look forward to hearing from you.

Alice Elliott
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