by Sharlyn Lauby

Social media is a great thing. It allows us to connect with others and learn new things that will benefit our professional lives. But it can also be a huge time drain. Our time on social media must be optimized, so when we’re using it, we get the maximum benefit out of it.

A reader recently asked me about social media short-cuts so I wanted to share with you a few things I use to stay productive when using social tools:

OUTLOOK – I know this might sound silly but I’m an uber organized person. And I start hyperventilating when my in-box is cluttered with a bunch of notifications. So to stay organized, I’ve set up folders and rules with social media sites. Get a new follower on Twitter? It goes to my Twitter folder and when I have a moment I look at it. Same with my LinkedIn group updates. Goes straight into a folder.

On a personal note, I also use this for shopping emails…so I’m not distracted by Living Social or Rue La La. Ha!

BROWSER ADD-ONS – The next place I rely is my browser. I use Chrome, so I can really speak more to what it offers. But every browser offers add-ons to make life easier. The one I really like with Chrome is Share This, which allows me to quickly send something to a social media platform or email it to a colleague. I can also send articles to my account – and later read them on my iPad.

BUFFER – It never fails that I will see a whole bunch of blog posts or articles that I want to share but I don’t want to bombard people all at once. Buffer gives me the ability to set up several status updates and send them throughout the day. You can set your account to feed Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

TWEETDECK – Being able to search and aggregate information in Twitter is its real value and strength. Here’s an example: I’m a total news and politics junkie. Tweetdeck allows users to curate their followers into columns. So I have a column with all of the news sources I enjoy. Think of it as a personal news feed.

Tweetdeck, like Buffer, allows you to schedule tweets. And you can manage multiple Twitter accounts.

HOOTSUITE – If you like the features of Tweetdeck but need something more robust, HootSuite is an option. It gives you many of the same features but also has the ability to analyze social media traffic. This could come in handy if you need to provide metrics surrounding a recruiting campaign. Some of their features are free and others have a cost.

This is a short list of the options available when using social media. There are many more. Got a social media short-cut you can’t live without? Share it in the comments.


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