Time management for lawyers can be a tough topic, but when you throw social media into the life of an already busy practitioner, it can get downright crazy. How do you find the “right” amount of time to spend on social media activities? What should you do with that time? And how do you get the most out of it?
Like a fractal, which can be magnified to reveal the same structural pattern at both the micro and macro levels, your approach to managing your social media activities will reflect your overall approach to time management. If you’re a strong time manager, the guidelines presented here will be fairly easy to follow. If you’re not, you’ll pick up some tips that will help you manage all of your time more effectively, including your social media time.
On to metaphor number two: we all know that going food shopping without a list is not as effective as going with a list. Without a list, it takes longer, you get things you don’t need (and you forget things you do need), and you often spend more money than necessary. Why? Because you’re wandering, trying to rely on your memory, and buying on impulse.
The combined implication here? Improving your overall time management skills will help you more effectively manage your social media time, and following a game plan will make that time more efficient and more profitable.
The first step is to develop a positive mindset about this still-new – and fast-evolving – phenomenon. Many attorneys are hesitant to allocate consistent time building their social media presence because they:
- don’t have enough understanding of the various processes involved
- had unrealistic expectations about results when they started and then gave up after a few months
- are not convinced of the ROI (return on investment) they’ll receive
- have heard horror stories from other people about time wasted on social media
- are generally risk-averse and threatened by the thought of publishing widely distributed content on the internet
- find it too hard to find good content on a regular basis
- find it too hard to come up a fresh perspective or unique voice
Here are the first two of seven tactics for creating that positive mindset and spending the right amount of time on your social media activities. The next post will cover tactics three through seven.
1. Establish Activity Targets
Set targets for the number of actions to take each week, and block out time for them on your calendar. These might be the number of blogs posts you’ll read – or write, or comment on. Or tweets you’ll post, or forward. Or how many JD Supra articles you’ll look at. Or how many LinkedIn profiles you’ll review. During very busy weeks, you might shoot for two or three brief actions for a total of 10 minutes. During average weeks, shoot for five to 10 actions, and during light weeks 10 to 20 actions. Remember, many actions can take just a few minutes, while some will take longer.
It’s good practice to allocate roughly one quarter of your social media time to research and reading, one half to writing content, and the last quarter to engaging your readers/followers by forwarding and/or commenting on useful content from others.
Finally, since you can’t master all social media channels at once no matter how motivated you are, consider focusing on one or two major SM channels each quarter: Q1: LinkedIn and JD Supra; Q2: Facebook; Q3 Blogs; Q4: Twitter
2. Be Smart About Learning the Basics
- Find a college kid or law school student to teach you the basics
- Use YouTube to find video tutorials on how to accomplish a particular social media task
Use the “Help” or “Learning Center” features of the various social media sites (LinkedIn has an excellent online guide – which, strangely, they make difficult to locate: https://learn.linkedin.com