Have you ever watched Hook, the Peter Pan take-off starring Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman? In the movie, there’s a great scene that explores Hook’s immense fear of time. You see, Hook fears his own mortality, and he is surrounded by the boys from Neverland who never grow older. You can’t really blame him for hating the sounds of ticking clocks.
The thing is, I think we all kind of hear that incessant ticking, especially in our online world. There is so much to do, and our online reality, for many of us, is just a small portion of how we spend the time of our lives. There is so much pressure to do everything perfectly, get everything done, and it can all seem a little overwhelming. How do you prioritize this stuff?
If someone tells you they have an answer to that question, be very cautious. Alert system: Orange.
How to spend your time if you want to emphasize engagement
Since we are talking about engagement here, let me offer some suggestions on how to prioritize your time for that channel of Social Media activity. These, by the way, are just suggestions that work for me.
1. Try to have regular person-to-person conversations with at least a couple of people every day. This does not have to be an exploration of War and Peace, by the way. Checking in with people, saying a quick hi – that’s what I’m talking about here. I try to allot 30 minutes at least to this activity a day.
2. Try to make sure you respond to as many comments as you can. I try to get all of my comments answered before I write my next post. I don’t always succeed, and I apologize for that, but I try to keep it pretty close. This of course depends on how many comments you’re getting, but I try to allot 30 minutes at least to this activity a day.
3. Make sure you take some time to promote other people. This means reading blog posts, paying attention when people post big news, and then promoting on Twitter, via your blog, or on Facebook. I try to dedicate about an hour a day doing this.
4. Comment on other peoples’ blog posts. Again, the number of comments and the length of your comments will determine how much time you should dedicate, but I try to spend 30 minutes commenting on posts every day.
5. As you know if you come here often, I feel Tweet Chats are very important. I try to pop in on 2-3 a week, though I don’t always stay for the whole thing. For a week, I’d say I dedicate about 2.5 hours.
So, that’s about 2.5-3 hours every day. I try to do 15 minutes before I go into work, 15-30 minutes at lunch, and the balance after work.
This might sound totally stupid to you
It’s entirely possible that you are looking at how I choose to spend my time and you are thinking that I really don’t know what I’m talking about. Half an hour commenting on other posts? Half an hour just talking to people? Surely there are better ways to spend one’s time. And let’s face it, sometimes conversing online can seem so…ordinary. Talking about food or the weather or your pets or your kids – there’s really no value there, right?
Here’s the thing though. Allotting my time in this way has already paid dividends for my own online experience.
Through chatting on Twitter, I have befriended wonderful people like Danny Garcia, Suzanne Vara, Maya Paveza, and Lisa Alexander.
Because I make sure I promote other people as often as possible, I have gotten to talk to great folks like Jay Baer, Amber Naslund, and Amber Cleveland.
Because I comment on other posts, I have met wonderful people like Mark Schaefer, Dawn Westerberg, Rufus the Dog (!), and Judy Helfand.
Who have I met because of those people? Amber Cleveland introduced me to Kay Whitaker. Amber Naslund introduced me to Tamsen McMahon and Matt Ridings. Maya introduced me to Cate Colgan, who in turn introduced me to Estrella Rosenberg.
I can’t put a dollar sign on the value of meeting these people, but boy, I don’t know what I’d be doing online if I hadn’t met them and many other fine folks. And guess what, there have been doors open to me just by knowing people. Because I know Chris Brogan, I got introduced to the Third Tribe Community, where I met Tommy Walker, who wrote a series here. Because I went into Third Tribe, I got to meet Christy, who is a shining ray of sun in my community now. And because I got to know people like Jeannette Baer, Judi Knight, Joe Ruiz, Kenny Rose, Anne Saulovich, and Ann from Ozio Media, I’m getting a chance to put together a fundraiser for Japan.
That doesn’t seem too dumb to me. But then I’m biased.
Why prioritizing engagement is important
Let’s say you decide that you want to spend a lot of your time working on an e-book. You decide to cut some of your time online to work on it. Fair enough. But if you don’t have solid relationships waiting for you, who is going to want to read your e-book? Who will help you promote it?
Scott Stratten and Lisa Petrilli both have discussed how they brought their Twitter community to their blogs, and that helped them find success with their blogs right out of the gate. To me, that seems like proving the point.
Maybe you have other ideas
I don’t think there’s a right or wrong. My goal is to engage, and I’m passionate about that. But maybe your goal requires you to do things differently. So let’s hear from you now. What are your objectives? How do those shape how you spend your time?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
This is post #20 in The Engagement Series. If you feel like you might be missing posts here and there, please feel free to hit that “subscribe” button. I promise not to stalk you 🙂
Image by Billy Alexander. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/ba1969