The 20 Minute Social Media Professional

Vanessa DiMauro
Vanessa DiMauro CEO, Leader Networks

Posted on December 6th 2011


“I don’t have time to participate in social media” is a common cry heard within enterprise. The concern is that social media has a steep learning curve and is a time vacuum preventing more essential work from getting done. In other circles where social media is more widely used, those who haven't started are sometimes in a pickle.  They don't know where to start and won't ask for help, worried about exposing that they haven't developed this professional skill yet.  Fear not...while we are led to believe that everyone and their uncle is using social media with great skill and acuity, there are many who have yet to take the plunge. 

Here is a 20 minute social media activity plan to help you dip your toe in the water while managing your time for efficiencies.There are many different activities you can do once you have started to master the art of social, but this activity plan ensures that the core efforts are covered.  But, before you start, you will need to do a few things. 

First, go to Google and set up alerts on your name (in quotation marks for best results – e.g. “Tom Smith”) as well as topics that pertain to the work you do (e.g. “airplane parts manufacturing” or “firmware and quality assurance”).   Try to be specific so you don’t get too much information or that which is not relevant. Also set up an alert for the name of the company where you work. 

Second, create a LinkedIn profile on at least one other network such as Twitter or Google+ if you haven't already.  Here are some practical tips to make the most of your social media profile.  

Third, if there are a few blogs that you find interesting, subscribe to them.  I recommend having the new posts emailed to you so they come to your mailbox for easy access.  Most thought leaders publish a blog, so if there is a speaker or author you value, search on their name and most likely you will find their blog.  There is usually a way to sign up for email delivery directly on the blog post.  

For extra credit, try to find an online community or LinkedIN group that is specific to your subject matter expertise.  I have created a big list of professional online communities that can serve as a starting point, but you can also search online or ask peers where they find discussions and resources online.   For many professionals, here is where you will find the most value in terms of content and connections to support the work you do.

Now it is time to begin…

1. Read blogs posts sent by email - 2 minutes
2. Check reputation alert, topic or company key word alert – 1 minute
3. Log in to LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+ and see if you have any messages. You may want to vary the network you log into by day of the week– 2 minutes
4. Respond to a blog post you have read or look at the twitter activity to see if anything catches your fancy  – 5 minutes
Possible actions include;  send email to author of great article & invite to connect if person responds,  re-tweet an article or blog post you have read, make a comment or like something one of your colleagues posted on LinkedIN 

5. Participate in 1-2 professional networks or online communities once to twice a week.   8-10 minutes
Connect to 1-3 people every few visits
Write a personalized email to 1-2 connections
Comment briefly or post a forum message that is relevant to you.
If you are reading this blog post, chances are you are already on your way to social media success. Congratulations!  If you know someone who wants to get started but doesn’t how to begin, do a good deed by forwarding these suggestions to them in email. And, if you are a savvy social media user, consider "adopting" someone who isn’t.  Offer to set up some time with them to show them how the tools work.  Be sure to use searches that evoke professional topics that may catch their interest – as relevancy is the key to success. And if you crave more information, here is a good blog post from the Social Media Examiner offering videos and additional resources to help support the learning curve.
Vanessa DiMauro

Vanessa DiMauro

CEO, Leader Networks

Vanessa DiMauro is a trusted business advisor, and founder and CEO of Leader Networks, LLC, the world’s premier B2B social business consultancy. Vanessa helps organizations drive top line growth through innovative digital strategy design and thoughtful execution. Her experience as a social business executive spans over 15 years and her award-winning track-record is fueled by passion, experience and consistency.  Vanessa's work has been covered by leading publications such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and CIO Magazine and she was recently named a Social Marketing Master by Forbes. She is serves on the board at a number of leading organizations such as Social Media Today, The Society of New Communication Research and is a former Executive In Residence at Babson College - Olin School of Management. 

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Comments

Great article for the Social Media "newbies"! I especially like the tip for the Google alerts.

Glad it was helpful!

You must be a fast reader.

I acutally times this based on low effort- Of course a person can take much longer expecially with a salient post or comment, but for the beginner just getting started this hopefully provides a guide to a quick way to get started.  And yes, I am a fast reader :)

And, yes I completely concur that taking 20 minutes a day to participate in social media will not yield mastery of the skill.  Like anything in life, you get out what you put into an activity.  But the idea of 20 minutes a day is about behaviour change!  Many people are reticent to begin and havent developed the habit of participating online as the perceived and actual hurdles of doing something new can be quite daunting.  Easier to remain static than to endeavor to change.  However, rooted in learning theory, a commitment to *just try* something new is often a gateway to change.  Just as no marathon runner ever started their first foot journey with 27 miles, no social media participant starts with hours of effort.  And if they do, most likely there will be frustration and fatigue.  The idea behind 20 minutes a day is to socialize and expose a new social media user to the experience so that they can choose to scale over time, or not. But at least they have a reasonable starting point with a clear direction in mind. 

Curious - why did you leave out Facebook?

Good question! There are so many social networks and online communities on the web, I drew largely from common examples.  I also left out Bebo, many of the asian social networks which are in many cases larger than the US based ones, as well as the many many gated online communities that tailor to specific subject matters.  If I were to be all inclusive or exhausive in my examples, the post would have been too long and likely unfocused!

I debated including Facebook for a bit and decided to leave it out.  Since personal and professional interactions are often blended on facebook due to the nature of the medium (we look at friends pictures and endorse a brand all in the same fell swoop on Facebook) - I think it is sometimes a difficult platform for new social media users to start to develop a social media habit due to it's complexity. 

But the primary reason was I couldnt possibly list them all so I drew upon examples that I think would be best suited for the jump start emersion program.

Well done! 

Great article with some useful tips. It's one of the areas that I find I constantly struggle with so I'm looking forward to using these ideas. Thank you.