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Does Social Media Enhance Productivity or Kill It?

Learn ways to avoid productivity loss and gain control over social networking at work and beyond.

By
Aliza Sherman
April 23, 2009
Episode #050

 

Hi there, The Digital Marketer here, ready to help you put the power of the Internet and technology to work for your business.

I recently received an email from a chamber of commerce director worried that the social media his chamber is using to improve member services might be turning into a productivity sink for his staff.

Social Media Can Take Over Your Life

Social media maintenance takes time. No matter what your goals, you still have to

  • check your emails.
  • respond to friend requests.
  • add content to your blog.
  • tweet regularly to maintain your following.
  • provide status updates. And
  • communicate with your networks.

Social media seems to add more work to your workload, but it can measurably save you time and money. Whether social media becomes a valuable tool or a burden really boils down to diligent time management and the creation of guidelines-- in writing-- that you and your team can follow.

Social Media Can Bring Efficiencies

Like most things that require our time and attention, too much of a good thing can actually be bad. Too much email? Can kill productivity. Keeping up with your traditional network of colleagues? Very time consuming.

In a perfect world away from Internet addictions, tendencies to get sucked into the vortex of our computer screens, and mind-numbing online time wasters, social media can actually make us more efficient

  • by enhancing our ability to directly communicate to more people all at once. Take a look at all the friends, followers, and fans we can reach instantly.
  • by expanding our networks exponentially more than the effort we put forth. You are no longer just connected to your own contacts but now have easy access to their contacts and beyond.
  • by leading us to any resource or answer we need with a single tweet or question in our status update. I can get answers to my technical questions in minutes and hardly have to pause from my project to tap into vast reservoirs of expertise.

But for all the benefits of social media, there is still the risk of wasting time.

Setting Parameters to Social Media Activities

Before embarking on using social media, you need to establish why you're using it in the first place. If you're looking to increase customer service, build your brand, increase loyalty, or any number of communications and marketing goals, social media can help when used correctly.

Some questions you should ask yourself to help establish guidelines regarding social media usage include:?

  • What are your business objectives??
  • What are the social media tools that you will be using to achieve those objectives?
  • Who's on your team to help implement social media tactics??
  • How much time will you allot each day for social media activities and what are the specific approved activities?
  • How will you track time spent on social media, who will keep track, and how will you measure success?

To create your written social media guidelines, you should also answer the following:

  • What constitutes acceptable social media usage by your staff?
  • What constitutes abuse of social media?
  • What technologies have you put into place to monitor staff usage of the Web?
  • What are the repercussions of social media abuse -- including verbal warnings, write-ups, and yes, even firing?

Whether you are working solo or with a team, setting some written guidelines can help you stay on track and manage your time well.

Bottom Line: social media can be an enormous time suck and productivity killer. But used properly -- and with some parameters and guidelines-- it can make you and your team more efficient at communicating in ways that can eventually save you time and money.

Contact Me

That's all we have time for today. Visit the show’s website at digitalmarketer.quickanddirtytips.com for links to all of the sites mentioned in the show including some of my favorite social media tools. If you'd like to ask a question or request a topic for The Digital Marketer, email me at digitalmarketer@quickanddirtytips.com .

The Digital Marketer's Quick and Dirty Tips for Building Your Business With Web Tools is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network at quickanddirtytips.com.

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Tune in for another business boost from The Digital Marketer, the host who's not afraid to go under the Internet's hood & get a little dirty!

Resources??

Socialcast - http://www.socialcast.com/

Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/

Hellotxt - http://www.hellotxt.com/

Social Media image courtesy of Shutterstock

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