Three ways to avoid a social media time sink

Last week, while blogging on vacation, I reflected on the 24/7 pace of social media.  One of my tips for time management was to let your community take some ownership over your efforts. In that spirit, I invited guest posts on this topic. One volunteer was Dana Ziolkowski, Marketing Coordinator/AmeriCorps VISTA for the Oregon Volunteers Commission for Voluntary Action and Service.  Here is her input on avoiding the time suck that social media can be.

Although it’s vital to dedicate time to social media, your social media efforts don’t need to consume your entire day. I thought I’d share a few tips I use to save time, while also delivering strong, comprehensive social media efforts.

Develop your social media plan ahead of time and keep it handy.

I’ve found it both efficient and effective to develop a plan dedicated to social media efforts. Establish social media goals that align with your organization’s strategic goals. Develop the plan with upcoming messages you can anticipate, but allow it to be organic enough to accommodate unexpected but newsworthy content or trends that might arise during the life of the plan. Doing a little planning ahead, and having this map at my fingertips, I’ve found it’s easy to be time-efficient with my social media efforts.

Align your networks on a social media platform

I use a social media dashboard that allows me to monitor and update my networks in one spot. There are free and paid subscriptions depending on your needs. Explore some of the dashboards available—each one varies in cost, which networks they connect, analytics available, and functionality.  Choose the best fit for you. I chose Hootsuite because it best fits my needs. I’ve connected my organization’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, along with my own professional accounts. Depending on my post, I choose the best networks through which to distribute my message. This saves me half the time! Thanks to for compiling this great top ten list of social media dashboards.  (Katya’s note: I also recommend Thrive, which Network for Good will be offering soon!)

Threadsy: Unify your email, social networks
Myweboo: Organize your information streams
Hootsuite: Integrate all your platforms
Spredfast: For teams of social marketers
MediaFunnel: Collaborative, permission-based system
CoTweet: Advanced features for Enterprise users
Seesmic: Free, clean and credible
Netvibes: Share your widgets with the world
TweetDeck: Connect with your contacts
Brizzly, Simplify your updating

Empower your organization’s staff to develop social media content.

Attention-grabbing, relevant content is vital for a successful social media campaign, and it’s hard to gather it all on your own. Empower staff at your organization to send you content suggestions. Be sure to express to them the type of content you’re looking for and emphasize this content should align with your organization and social media goals. For Oregon Volunteers, it’s often funding opportunities, program success stories, event photos or professional development and training opportunities. Qualify the content suggestions you collect and incorporate into your social media plan. Recruiting a team of content developers from within your organization can save you time. Plus, this practice engages the whole organization to feel more connected to your social media efforts.

See also:

Content Marketing for Nonprofits

The Networked Nonprofit

Measuring the Networked Nonprofit

Social Change Anytime Everywhere

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