Hour Glass

March 19, 2013; Source: Forbes

Organizations often struggle with how to manage all of their social media efforts in a timely and efficient manner. Harvard Business Review recently published a blog post on how to make space for social media which addresses some core time management questions. Forbes has raised a similar question in a recent piece featuring interviews with a couple of influential women in the nonprofit sector: Rinku Sen, publisher of Colorlines and executive director of the Applied Research Center, and Malkia Cyril, founder and executive director of the Center for Media Justice. Here are some of the key takeaways:

Make social media routine. When can you fit in social media outreach? Scheduling social media as part of the daily routine can help you handle your channels. There have been several studies on what times are favorable for the best click-through rates and engagement, which NPQ has previously noted here. Malkia Cyril starts off her morning routine by catching up on social networking. She tells Forbes, “I generally kick off with a political question or personal/political reflection, sharing key tweets or posts, or an inspirational quote. Throughout the day, on breaks, I try to respond to the comments or question raised…” Rinku Sen allocates time throughout the day, and prefers to network using mobile technology: “Using mobile is handier and doesn’t make me feel like I’m working the way the computer does.”

Evaluate your results. Tracking and measuring your organization’s social media output and results is the best way to evaluate your organization’s social media strategy. This will help you allocate and manage time to get the most out of social networking. Are your followers interested in what you are posting? What is working and what isn’t? Maybe provocative images are what excite your Facebook audience the most, or maybe inspirational quotes are getting more attention. And most importantly, what is your organization gaining from social networking?

Build relationships. Even if you work with a community-based or grassroots organization, it’s important to realize how interconnected we are; the Internet is an essential tool for connecting the issues that your organization cares about on the local level to broader issues. This can generate the traction that is necessary to build and sustain movements. Cyril says it best: “[The] Internet is a radical transformation, and is here to stay. The platforms for personal communication, economic communication, and media have merged online, expanding the approach to organizing and building political movements. But the fundamentals of organizing and movement-building remain the same. Building relationships remains the underlying motivation for political action.”

What are some efficient and effective ways that your organization has built social media relationships? Please weigh in on how your organization finds the time for social networking. –Aine Creedon