I don’t think I would be anywhere near as productive as I am in social media today without having tools, systems and processes to monitor and organize my expanding network. They really have been the secret to my success, and of my clients’ success.  In the work that I do in social media, time management and feeling overwhelmed are always the biggest concerns that I hear—but they don’t have to be.

A Careful Balance

Automation is all about leveraging your time and energy, but often you will hear people say that this goes against the whole idea of social media being about building and nurturing relationships. However, there are ways to automate some of your social media efforts—without detracting from cultivating your authentic voice and personality when it comes to your online presence.

Identifying valuable resources, like blog posts, websites or quotes that you believe would be helpful or valuable to your Twitter followers and pre-scheduling sharing this content would be one example. The nature of tweets like these is that they are essentially one-way communication and don’t depend on you being available when they are posted in order to field some kind of “real time” response. Therefore, this kind of content is ideal for pre-scheduling in advance. A tool like Hootsuite.com is great for easily setting these kinds of updates up.

Keep Your Voice

The most common way to delegate in social media is via a virtual assistant, but it’s important to note that it’s not recommended that you delegate anything that contains your personality or voice. A specific example of an ideal task to delegate would be having someone track and monitor your reputation and brand via Twitter Search or even Google Alerts.

When thinking about delegation, stick to housekeeping, administrative or organizational tasks not related to the conversation—for example, approving Facebook friend requests with an established criteria or using criteria to find more people to follow on Twitter. Other tasks would be to do the initial research on ideal people on Facebook to send friend requests to, pre-scheduling tweets as mentioned earlier, creating events in Facebook, researching quality blogs, sites and links that contain good content for you to share via tweets and Facebook updates, managing your Facebook inbox, adding new business-related applications to your Page and more.

Don’t Get Stuck

One of the biggest mistakes that people make—especially those who are new to social media—is that they start to get stuck in a cycle of automating, broadcasting and automating—over and over. It’s very difficult to generate positive results this way. However, automating and delegating appropriate activities while still taking the time to engage in regular conversation can be the perfect blend—so that you can leverage your time and still maximize your success!

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