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One of the biggest concerns my clients have- especially those who are solopreneurs, or don’t have extensive teams, is the time it takes to manage their social media.

Of course, they want to build relationships and connections with others, but they, also, don’t want social media to take over all their time.

So how to balance these two desires?

The answer is in systems- a set of social media habits that you repeat daily, without having to constantly think about it. Like anything, the more you do these habits, the easier and more quickly you can manage your social media each day.

So here’s a sample, simple plan:

1) Begin by checking your Twitter account– @replies, @mentions, and DMs twice a day. Do it once in the morning and again once in the evening. Respond to anyone who’s talking about you or talking to you. Some days, you’ll find this takes 10 minutes, many days it will be much less. But addressing this twice a day will keep you interacting and conversations moving along. Once you’ve completed the morning check, leave Twitter until your evening check. Also turn off notifications or make them silent until the evening. I, personally, find that the bulk of my DM’s are junk, so I sometimes use a few minutes in the evening to delete some of them- just to keep my box from overflowing.

2) Touch in on Twitter in the morning. Say Hi! to everyone in your Twitter feed. This lets people know you’re online and gets active users to start interacting with you. I usually do the same thing in my personal Facebook profile, too. What I do, then, is wait a few minutes in case I get some immediate replies back- if I do, I respond to those right away.

3) Use a mix of live and scheduled posts– this goes for Twitter and Facebook. Using a mix of live and scheduled posts enables you to be spontaneous and active when you want to be, and keeps your communication going when you’re busy doing something else. If you start each day with a live post, and end each day with a live post, you can comfortably schedule 2-3 posts during the day.

4) Pay special attention to active fans. If you find someone who has read your book, or watched a video, or is otherwise in the first stages of active connection with you and your business, be sure to reach out directly to them. Make sure to say hello, thank them for their support, and suggest one way they could take their interest further. Do you have another video they might like? Or an article of interest? When you have someone’s attention in this way, be sure to offer something of value. Similarly, if you find that certain people share your content or retweet you often, be sure to thank them for their attention and support of you.

5) Look for ways to systematize. There are many social media tools to help you automate where you can. Whenever you find yourself repeating some task over and over in the exact same way, that task is a prime candidate for automation. Examples of this would be anything related to reporting or statistics tracking, or searches, or new fans or followers. More than likely, there is an automated solution for whatever you’re doing.

The goal is to keep the social- and fun- in social media, and make it easy to interact and engage with your fans.

You can do this without social media taking up all your time, or energy!