9 Social Media Hacks I Use Every Day

JasonBaer
Jay Baer President, Convince & Convert

Posted on March 3rd 2012

9 Social Media Hacks I Use Every Day

Social media isn’t inexpensive, it’s just different expensive. To do it well requires a tremendous time commitment, and regardless of what your life and lifestyle entails, the time you spend on social comes with an opportunity cost price tag. Thus, one of the characteristics that sets adept practitioners of social media apart from less successful adherents is wise use of time.

Using your limited social media time wisely is all about going beyond the obvious activities. If you’re doing the exact same things everyone else is doing in social, I can guarantee you will not have an advantage. But, if you do some things differently, you may find activities where the reward is disproportionate to the effort. These nine efficiencies — hacks — are what you need to embrace right now.

1. Listen to Podcasts

Sure, they’ve been overcome by newer and sexier social flavors du jour but podcasts are still the best way to spend time when you’re not in front of a screen. Driving to work? Listen to Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation or MarketingProfs’ Marketing Smarts with Matthew Grant . Working out? Put on the earbuds and embrace John Jantsch’s Duct Tape Marketing , or Chris Penn’s Marketing Over Coffee . I’d love to have your ears on my weekly Social Pros Podcast, where we focus on real people doing real work in social media. (you can put your eyes on it too, because we run full text transcripts here).

2. Take and Curate Photographs

I’m not certain if a picture is worth a thousand words, but it’s definitely worth 140 characters. This is the year that photos challenge writing as the lingua franca of the social web: Instagram; Pinterest; Path; Google +  using large thumbnails in the news feed; face recognition technology. All trend lines point toward photography. If you’re not taking and posting pictures to dedicated photo networks and cross-posting (when appropriate) to Twitter and Facebook, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your network and see the world through the eyes (or cell phone cameras) of thousands of new friends.

3. Read LinkedIn Today

Today LinkedIn 300x277 9 Social Media Hacks I Use Every DayIt’s pretty safe to say that most people keep their LinkedIn shrubbery more closely pruned than their Facebook or Twitter trees. Thus, when content is shared in LinkedIn, it often has a better chance to have been shared by people you trust, or at least people with a modicum of business sense. That’s why when I’m looking for a summarized source of what’s happening in the categories I care about, I turn to Linkedin Today.

4. Buffer Your Links

One of the most insidious time sucks in all of social media — especially for content curators — is the “Oh, I found something cool. I should share this on a social network or four!” keyboard fire that spontaneously erupts a few times a day. This kills your focus and productivity. The better approach is to set aside a chunk of time first thing each morning to find the handful of truly interesting content bon mots that are worthy, and use Buffer to automatically share them across your chosen social networks at pre-determined, optimized times. While you’re at it, add the Buffer button to your blog too. (disclosure: I’m an investor in Buffer)

5. Use “if this, then that” Recipes

If This, Then That (IFTTT) is the best social tool nobody ever mentions. It’s like a virtual assistant social media robot, where you can create an almost infinite array of conditionally-defined, time-saving tasks. Create an account and hook up all of your social profiles, blogs, cell phone numbers, etc. Then sift through the mountain of existing recipes to find processes that will save you effort.

For example, want your Twitter profile photo to change automatically when you update your Facebook profile photo? Done. Want to have your favorited tweets automatically emailed to you? Done.Want to automatically store your Instagram photos in a Dropbox account? Done.Want to automatically post to your Pinterest board any link you add to Facebook? Done.

The opportunities are nearly endless at IFTTT.com.

6. Create a Stalker List

Grab a piece of paper, or open a new document and write down a list of the 20 people you most want to interact with in social media — people you don’t know, but want to know. Then, create a list for these people on Twitter and Facebook, and a circle for them on Google +. Where applicable, visit their blogs and bookmark them. Also subscribe to their feeds (via email, not RSS because you’ll check your email every day, but not your RSS.) Find them on Instagram, Pinterest, and LInkedin and connect in those places, too.

Done? Starting tomorrow, spend 15 minutes total per day interacting with some of these 20 people. Not in a yucky way, and not in a pandering way. If you have something interesting and relevant to add via Twitter, blog comment, or elsewhere, do it. If you don’t, keep your hands to your sides. But pay attention to your list of 20, and find ways to interact with and help them. In short order, they will recognize you and you’ll have grown and leveled up your network of social contacts. Make a new list every three to six months.

7. Interact on Google +

Let me make this clear: If you’re reading this, you should be on Google +. Not for the SEO benefit — although that’s not insignificant. Not for the entertainment value — although the large number of videos and GIFs there can be a hoot. Do it for the opportunity to interact and engage with industry professionals in a comparatively quiet and efficient location. You want to get on Chris Brogan’s  radar? Or Mari Smith’s? Or Brian Solis’s? Google + is the place to do it. It’s Twitter before Oprah; Quora for the masses; blog comments but easier to use. It may not last, but for now Google + is the place to interact with people that no longer answer every tweet.

8. Blend Personal and Professional

Favorite Tequilas 300x203 9 Social Media Hacks I Use Every DayQuit worrying about showing your real self in social media. If your social media bios talk only about who you are at work, you’re leaving attention on the table. The reality is that unless you’re a sword swallower or an astronaut, your personal life is more interesting than your professional life. You’re a marketing director for a B2B software company? Yawn. You’re a marketing director for a B2B software company, and you happen to grow prize-winning roses? That, I’ll remember. What you love makes you memorable in ways that what you do cannot. There’s a reason most of my bios say I’m a tequila lover.

9. Quit Obsessing Over Case Studies

How much time do you spend reading case studies, trying to find evidence that social media will work for your company? Case studies should be used for ideation, not ratification. Beyond the fact that case studies are often strategically irrelevant because the company profiled is in a different industry, with different goals, competitors, and customer expectations (among other variances), perhaps the biggest problem with most social media success stories is that the measures of that success are largely without real merit.

Even in the best possible scenario, where the case study in question is extraordinarily applicable to your business goals, social media situation, KPIs, budget, timeline, customer personas, and more (which is a rare alignment indeed), you are placing significant influential value on one outcome. Worry less about what some other company is doing, and worry more about doing your own work.

Social media is too complicated for you to be wasting your time, spinning your wheels on activities and behaviors that won’t make much difference. I know these nine hacks will save you time and propel you forward, because I use them all consistently. But I’m sure I’ve missed many terrific ideas. What are you doing to save time and boost your social media efficiency?

 

(post originally written for iMedia Connection)

JasonBaer

Jay Baer

President, Convince & Convert

I'm a hype-free social media and content marketing strategist, speaker and writer. I'm the author of the New York Times best selling business book, Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype. I'm the President of Convince & Convert, where we help major companies take their digital marketing from good to outstanding. I'm the host of the Social Pros podcast, and run the popular Convince & Convert blog. 

See Full Profile >

Comments

DennisBalgavy
Posted on March 3rd 2012 at 4:00PM

Excellent advice Jay! I especially agree with your comment about case studies. Matter of fact, that's how I feel about most business books, blogs, and white papers in general. They are inspirational for ideation; not formulaic. It's the reason that everyone that read Collins' Good to Great couldn't produce the same results. However, I believe we can observe, learn, and then synthesize new strategies that are appropriate for our own organizations. Thanks for your article!

-Dennis

MorganBarnhart
Posted on March 3rd 2012 at 9:49PM

Great advice, Jay! I especially love #6 & #9. For as long as I can remember, I've created what you call, stalker lists. I've always told clients how important it is to find those people who you want to get to know, bookmark their blog and comment on it on a daily basis and share their content consistently. But like you said, not in a creepy, "I'm just doing this to get something about of you" kind of way. Do it in a genuine way, in a way that shows you're truly interested in what they have to say and hope they'll be interested in what you have to say.

And I'm SO glad you stated #9. I had a client once who would send me new case studies every.single.day. He expected me to take this informaton and be enlightened or something. Case studies are great, but while they may have worked great for that one company, that doesn't mean it's going to work exactly the same for every company.

Out of all these great ideas, though, general time management is so important. I have to schedule specific times to interact with people and reply to comments, otherwise I'll get sucked in and get nothing done! :)

 

Raul Pandey
Posted on March 4th 2012 at 6:51AM

Dear Jay,

Nice Article! Here , for #3, I would also like to mention that very few people/companies update their status on LinkedIn on a regular basis. It's a huge opportunity, they miss, to keep the communication alive and engage their network on LinkedIn.

Steve Gerl
Posted on March 7th 2012 at 8:29PM

I loved the post, Jay. The "To-Meet" list is a great idea.

 

Something I've found especially helpful in curating content in order to Buffer it (#4) is to use the 'smaller' networks to find interesting content for ALL your networks. Every Pin on Pinterest leads to a website and the Google+ Sparks/Google News searches can be great for finding up-to-date information relevant to your audience.

Cindy-HomeGrownFun
Posted on March 9th 2012 at 3:43AM

Jay, these tips help answer the question "How do they do it?". One of my industry idols joked that she does social media instead of cleaning her house. That works for me but before I get featured on Hoarders, I'd rather put these hacks to good use. The key concept that sticks out for me (and emphasized by Morgan in the comments) is to schedule time to research and engage consistently and stick to the plan. Thanks a bunch, big help!

Chris Dessi
Posted on March 9th 2012 at 2:11PM

Jay,

 

Wow - fantastic list!  Well thought out, great tips! I love that you ACTUALLY USE the hacks! 

 

Thank you!

Chris Dessi 

@cdessi 

tchaffee
Posted on March 11th 2012 at 10:40AM

Wow! A rare article on social media that actually gives some concrete advise AND I learned something. What kept me reading is when you mentioned the time cost, which is how I've been approaching the opportunity for the past year or so.  Thanks for the great read!

Lucy Banta
Posted on March 12th 2012 at 3:25AM

Great article, Jay! Constructive ideas, which I'll put to use starting tomorrow on my way into the office (subscribed to all the podcasts!).