1. Set aside the same time every day to manage social media
Managing your different social media accounts can easily become a full time job, taking you away from the business of, well, running your business. You should dedicate a small amount of time each day and get in to the routine of doing this at the same time so social media doesn't take up all of your working day.
2. Update all your accounts at once
Gone are the days of having to update your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts individually. Use social media software like Hootsuite to manage all your accounts at the same time.
They allow you check direct messages, your followers' updates, mentions of your business and your timeline all on the one screen.
You can link your Twitter to your Facebook page and LinkedIn account by changing your settings on each site. However, this will mean all updates show automatically. Tools like the ones above give you a much greater degree of control over which messages appear where.
3. Schedule updates
You can either do this manually using reminders in your calendar or use free software like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. This makes it possible to write all your tweets first thing in the morning and have them update throughout the day, without you spending every minute on the computer.
4. Manage multiple Twitter accounts
If your company has more than one Twitter account managed by more than one person, software also allows you to assign tasks to users and schedule updates. Many of these can be used on smart phones and tablets, allowing you to update on the go.
5. Use Twitter lists
If you follow hundreds or thousands of people on Twitter, keeping up to date with their latest updates can be a chore. Twitter allows you to set up lists for different groups of people you're following – i.e. business contacts, journalists, friends – so you can manage your contacts more easily.
6. Read blogs and news in one place
Imagine if you could read all the blogs and news sites you read daily in one place – like your own personal newspaper. A reader like Feedly or Bloglovin aggregates all the tops stories from the sites you follow into one site, allowing you to scan the headlines without having to trawl through numerous websites.
7. Create an editorial schedule for your blog
If your company website includes a blog, you need to keep it regularly updated. Setting up an editorial calendar – either in a spreadsheet, on paper or in your email calendar – helps you to plan ahead, think of relevant, timely stories and stay focused on your audience.
Members of the Forum can access a free guide to getting started with social media.
Managing social media can be time-consuming – and this puts many busy entrepreneurs off – but it doesn’t have to be this way. There’s a wealth of free tools and practical ways to help you reduce the amount of time you spend updating your social media accounts, so you can spend more time doing what you do best.