social media, marieleslie.com, twitter, hootsuite, linkedin, stumbleupon, facebook

I admit it. I LOVE social media.  I have accounts all over the web:  Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Empire Avenue, Klout,  StumbleUpon and probably a few others that I don’t even remember I have.  I’m pretty active on all of them, some of them more than others.  When I’m not reading and posting, I’m studying and learning about ways to use them more effectively, to make better connections and to build my business.

These social media platforms are all similar and all a little different, but they have one thing in common: time. It takes time to post and read on all these platforms.  In addition to having these accounts, I’ve tried and used more social media management tools and plug-ins than you can shake a stick at.  I have accounts at Hootsuite, Buffer, SocialOomph, Triberr, TweetChat, Bit.ly, Strawberry Jam, Tweet Old Post and the list goes on.  These apps all have different purposes.

Hootsuite is probably my most used app.  I love being able to go in a couple of times a day, see what’s going on with my lists at a glance and see direct messages and mentions.  I also love being able to use it to schedule tweets in advance, especially if I have a day away from the computer or I’m going out of town (oh, wait—you didn’t hear me say that).  SOcialOomph does this, too, and I use it frequently to schedule for my clients’ accounts.

Buffer is awesome for when I’m web surfing and find cool things to share.  One click of the little Buffer icon in my Chrome toolbar and I’ve scheduled a tweet to share with the world.  Bit.ly gets used with everything to make reasonably short links so I don’t use all of my 140 characters on a link.

And Tweet Old Post is just one of the niftiest WordPress plug-ins ever.  It means that my little pearls of wisdom can be easily re-shared with the world and not lost to the depths of my blog archives.

But the very best and most useful Social Media tool I own, isn’t any of these apps.  It isn’t even an app at all.  It’s the timer on my desk.  Social Media can be a real time sucker (notice I didn’t say “waster.”  Nah, I never waste time at the computer—it just gets sucked away). In order to avoid losing my precious work time, I’ve leraned to schedule specific blocks of time for social media.  Whether I’m reading and posting or reading up on the latest social media news and tips, my little timer keeps me from letting too much time go by and missing other deadlines or eating into other parts of my day.

Timers are cheap.  You can even get a free one from Google apps.  But I really like the simple little countdown timer that sits on my desk.  It never lies and it doesn’t let me cheat.  And it has an incredibly annoying beep that I can’t miss no matter what music or video I’ve got up on my computer.

If you’re feeling like social media is just taking up too much of your day. Try setting yourself a time limit and use a timer to let you know when that time is up.  You’ll be amazed at how much more you can get done when you know your time is limited—and you’ll be able to get the rest of your work done as well.

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So, tell me:  what is your best social media tool or tip?  Is there something you’ve found that makes social media management easier for you? Is there an app that’s made you more effective or efficient in the social media world?  I always love knowing about the next best thing and ways to work smarter?

Leave me your thoughts in the comments below.

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