Monday, February 27, 2012

7 Ways to Cut Back Without Losing Out

Last week I explained how social media can be both a great investment and a drain on our time. I also explained how to find a balance with social networking and other priorities. This post will offer some specific ways you could cut back on that social media time without losing out on all the great things it can offer.
  1. Be selective with your media of choice. You don't have to be everywhere or do everything in social media. Pick your favourite/s and do them well. The rest you can either ignore or use maintenance mode (see the next point).
  2. Use maintenance mode. This is what I call doing the minimum to maintain the following you've already built. I use this mode for Twitter by acknowledging any retweets, new followers, or mentions I happen to get. Although I will always follow back if someone follows me, I tend not to seek new followers or conversations here. This way I maintain my numbers and have more time for other priorities.
  3. Use email alerts. Most social networking sites offer customisation in email alerts so you don't even have to visit the site to know what's been going on. For Facebook, I've set my alerts so I know when someone has tagged me, written on my wall, or posted in my favourite group.
  4. Maintain no more than one blog. I used to maintain two blogs aimed at completely different audiences. Time inevitably became an issue so I had to choose. This turned out to be a good thing because my readers no longer had to guess which blog to visit.  Note: if you have old blogs that you no longer maintain, make sure you remove the address from your profile.
  5. Reduce the number of times you post on your blog. When I first started blogging I posted every day. I reduced this to Monday-Saturday and again to three times a week. I currently post twice a week which seems to work best for me. I'd suggest if you are trying to build a platform then three times a week is the best number without overdoing it. The absolute maximum is once a day and the absolute minimum is once a week (unless you state you're on a break).
  6. Cut back on personal responses. I used to always give a personal response in the comments to everyone who commented on my blog. While I will always visit the blogs of those who have taken the time to visit mine, I've had to cut back on the personal responses to their comments. Even though I know a couple of people come back to read those responses, I'm not convinced everyone does. I know a few bloggers who don't respond at all to their comments and they don't seem to have suffered. I would love to hear your opinion on this issue.
  7. Cut back on blog visits. This point is the most obvious time-saver, but also the most difficult. However, it's also necessary if you follow more than 200 blogs. I follow more than a thousand blogs so obviously it's impossible to visit everyone every day. I've had to become highly selective. I will always try to visit my favourites, my new followers, my commenters.

Can you think of other ways of cutting back on the social networking time without losing out on its benefits?

61 comments:

  1. Good to know one doesn't have to go crazy with social media! I don't seek out new Twitter followers either. (Heck, I almost never follow a new blog either - the last 800 have almost all followed me first.)
    I will leave one big comment on my blog in response to other comments, usually just answering a couple, for every ten to twenty comments I get. I see some people respond to every single comment, but I was once told that's 'padding' your comments.
    And cutting back is so difficult when one has so many friends!

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  2. Great advice. It's tough to find that balance. I've put the blogs I follow into folders for each day of the week (and some other folders) - that helps me to keep organized and to try to visit everyone at least once every couple of weeks or so.

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  3. I love Tweetdeck. I can write 1 status update and send it to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn simultaneously. Excellent time saver.

    Also, use the 'share' buttons that Blogger puts at the end of your posts. You can share your new blog post without leaving the page.

    Great post, definitely useful advice.

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  4. I've been seriously thinking about cutting back a lot on the blogging. It's not just because of the time, but you put energy into blog posts, like this and if they stay up longer, more people will get to see it.
    Because my book is aimed at tweens and young teens, my daughter insists I need to be on Tumblr too. Love connecting but it does get a bit of an overload sometimes.

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  5. *handraise* I check blogs I've commented on to see if the owner has responded. I understand if someone with a lot of followers and therefore a lot of comments can't respond to everyone individually, but if I'm one of less than fifty followers and I am the only comment on a recent post, I feel hurt if I am ignored. Similarly, I try to respond to those who comment on my posts, thus encouraging future commenting and fostering discussion based on what I've written. I feel it's important to "take care" of your commenters, in a sense, because they're the most valuable followers you have, because they've read and thought about what you've written.

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  6. I've always commented in response on my blog to those who comment there. I also try to visit those same commenters.

    As for following new blogs, not so much. Same with Twitter.

    I try to get to all my followers during the course of the week, but sometimes just can't. You know how it is.

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  7. I've found cutting back to two blog posts a week is manageable for me too. I do like responding to every comment, because it feels more like a conversation that way, though I realize not everyone comes back to read what I've written. But some do, and sometimes our conversation will extend beyond the blog into email.

    I really don't do a lot of social media, just Blogger and Twitter. I tried Google +, but I can't figure out what the heck it's supposed to be useful for. I'll never have a Facebook account. Not my style. So that's a time saver, right? :))

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  8. This is such good advice. I especially like a plan of leaving great posts and guest posts up longer. And posting less often gives your followers a break.

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  9. removing old blogs from the profile is a good advice, there are so many people who have more than one or two and some of them dead, so it gets confusing and not every one will take time to investigate and see where your blog actually is

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  10. I love the idea of picking your faves and doing them well. As opposed to multitudinous ones and doing none of them well. :) I RARELY go back to re-visit a blog I've commented on. I doubt many people do! So I email them my responses, on my own blog.

    I think you're right--posting 1 or 2 times a week is about right. 3 for the max. Hmm! I will have to check out the FB settings for alerts. Sounds handy.

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  11. Such great advice. Thank you, Lynda :D I've been a little blog obsessive of late, and am starting to cut back on it. ;)

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  12. Thanks for a great post!

    I admit, I usually do respond to comments but, lately I haven't been as much. I would much rather visit the person on their blog and comment instead.

    Other than that, I usually comment on posts that I find interesting or useful to cut back on visiting other blogs.

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  13. I have a few followers so it's easier for me to respond to each comment. I think most of them come back to read my responses which is always nice. If they don't, at least other readers will see that I always comment back.

    I Twitter too and only follow when someone follows me first.

    I think the points you make are very helpful. The tip about alerts is something I should consider.

    Thank you.

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  14. When I started I used to post three/four times a day! LOL!

    These days I'm sticking to posting once a week, returning comments by visiting blogs who visit me and leaving comments on their blog posts rather than commenting in return in my comments box. I also think most bloggers don't return to the same post to read any return comments (I may be wrong though!)

    Take care
    x

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  15. This is really great advice! I've been trying to respond to all commenters on my blogs, but it is really time consuming! I'll have to consider not responding to everyone.

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  16. Yep, I definitely reduced the number of times I blogged (for the most part). I tend to post three times a week if I can help myself, and that's good for me.

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  17. All good points and great advice, Lynda! Thanks.

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  18. I respond to comments on my blog but I don't mind if other people don't, although I do usually go back and check. I've recently reorganised my reader so that if I don't get time to visit all the blogs I want to, I can at least make sure I visit my favourites.

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  19. Heck, I'm still learning how to work the social media! Thank goodness for your posts.

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  20. Great post, Lynda! I always respond to the comments I receive, but I certainly don't blame anyone who doesn't. It's very time consuming, and I have a feeling I won't be able to keep it up forever. Hopefully everyone understands. :)

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  21. Wonderful post! I need to cut back. I reduced my blogs to one, but I still spend too much time visiting blogs. I need to cut down that time.

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  22. Hi Lynda,

    A wonderful post and great tips! But to put these into practice will be a bit hard!

    I make a point of commenting on all my commenters blogs.

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  23. Such a great list.

    I've done all of these instead except cutting back on commenting. Now that I can just hit "reply" and it sends via e-mail too, it saves me time. Before I used to comment on my blog AND send the return comment via e-mail.

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  24. These are really good. I've tried to do most of these but it's hard when you have so many wonderful blog articles to read. Like this one!

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  25. As always Lynda, great discussion points that affect all of us. I like the new Reply button which makes it easy if someone actually returns to see a reply. Quick and easy - you don't need to scroll through heaps of comments. I NEVER return to a blog to see if the blogger responds to me - who has the time or memory for that if you visit a lot of blogs as I do. A couple of times I returned as I'd said something I thought may be controversial, but I found everyone mostly ignored me,lol, so no, I never bother going back.

    Who needs to seek followers for twitter. They come to you.

    Blog posts. I find daily posts annoying as how can you expect to get satisfying comments if you post every day. Almost no one scrolls down to previous posts (but I like to if I haven't visited a favourite blog for awhile.)

    I post twice a week unless something urgent comes up.

    Have a great week, Lynda.

    Oh and if anyone worries about lack of comments they should check if they have Captcha Codes operating. They are popping up everywhere and are virtually unreadable. I don't comment if they're there now. Waste of time.

    (PS I'm amazed at the lack of discussion re the dissolution of Google Friend Connect.) Hee hee, I won't be back to see if anyone brings it up...

    Denise

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  26. Angeline, yep, I use those share buttons too.

    Charmaine, yep, it depends on what you want. Since you'll be self-publishing you may need as much help as you can get, which means blogging AND Tumblr

    Raz, I'll try to remember you are one of the few who come back to check on responses. I always appreciate all the comments I get. It does encourage discussions, and gives the responsive blogger an accessible feel which is a good thing, but it is hard to maintain when the numbers start rising.

    Anne, yup, I know all too well.

    Luanne, Google+ helps get your posts in the search engines.

    Dezzy, yes!! I wish more people would keep their list of blogs up-to-date or name their blogs to it's easy to pick which one you're supposed to view.

    Carol, I tried email responses but my email got so full of comments that I got overwhelmed.

    Joanne, that's a good point about the readers seeing your efforts in terms of responding.

    Old Kitty, some do, but most don't.

    Sarah, handy to have a reader that works. Mine is broken, lol. (I have a knack for breaking technology--I still haven't fixed the count on my retweet button lol)

    Nas, This is your profession, so there's not a lot you can do to cut back unfortunately.

    Theresa, sigh, I wish I had that reply button. Mine still hasn't appeared.

    Denise, lol, I can't help myself. Even though I know you won't be back to read this, I have to say something. 1. I appreciate your comment and honesty. 2. I've read a few discussions regarding the google friends connect. It's relevant only to wordpress users and many are in the belief that it will actually help them, not harm them. We'll see.

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  27. I've been doing this lately since I just haven't had the time... very good suggestions.

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  28. I actually go for variety with my blog visits. Then I aim to build relationships. Because if there's more than reciprocation to a visit, it's easier to keep people coming back. :-)

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  29. Good tips!

    I always reply to my blog comments, because even if people don't always come back to check, those who do will see that I like to interact with my followers. :)

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  30. I have to be selective of social media. My blog first. Facebook second. Twitter third. And sometimes Goodreads but not very often. I don;t do anything with LinkedIn or Google _.

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  31. Great advice! Social media can get overwhelming if trying to do it all.

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  32. Great post.

    I agree with pick your favorites and do them well.

    We must be selective on our time spent, and where it's spent.

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  33. yep, I pretty much do everything you've listed here. Limit SM to 1-2 outlets, maintain on ones you can't follow (Twitter for me!), and then I space out my personalized responses. I do try to give personalized responses, but if my inbox is full, I space them out through the week. Of course, I only blog 1x/week now.

    And at some point, got to start writing again... great tips, Lynda! :D <3

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  34. great advice.
    totally agree about personal comments, once in a while i will if there are only a few, but i dont have time to check for responses to my comments so i figure most others dont either =)

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  35. I am in a minimum mode right now as I am trying to get back into my manuscript. But I am sure I will vamp back up when I have a reason to do so.

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  36. Misha, I agree. Reciprocation isn't enough to keep a blog afloat...well, it is, but it's not necessarily a good thing.

    Kyra, Yes, I think interaction is important when it comes to blogging.

    Leigh, sounds like you are doing well with your social media time. So yes, start writing! Mush! Mush! ;)

    Jessie, that's the beauty of maintenance mode. You can vamp it up at any time without having to start from scratch.

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  37. I tend to cut back when deadlines draw near. I always try to give back to those amazing blogging friends who are always hanging with me first, then I do for others.

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  38. Fantastic advice, Lynda. I do most of this myself, but it took a long time to figure out how to cut back since I thought I had to be everywhere, comment on everything, etc.

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  39. I would argue that point five isn't necessarily a great rule. Consumerist.com posts what amount to blog entries multiple times a day by different writers and the site was sold to Consumer Reports not that long ago for a large chunk of change. If the point of your blog is to collect feedback from readers then posting at most once a day seems wise. If the point is to collect as much information as possible on a topic in the hope of collecting the information for a book or just to set yourself up as an authority on a subject then publishing as quickly as possible, provided the content is of suitable high quality, seems wise to me.

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  40. Interesting comments on comments. I try to respond. I've found more and more people respond by sending an email response to comments. I canceled the social media email alerts/notifications. With improvements to Twitter, I can track @mentions in one click when I check the site. FB notifications in the program are useful too. I think I get an email when I'm tagged and that's it. I find I don't have time to check responses bloggers write on comments. This week, I found some commenters were checking as they responded to my responses. :)

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  41. Lynda, I think this is fantastic advice -- particularly #6. I actually discussed it on my blog when I stopped responding to comments, and explained that I would rather spend time visiting their blogs than responding to comments on mine. Everybody who replied agreed, and I've done so ever since.

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  42. Great tips, Lynda! And you know what you're talking about with almost 1000 followers! Well done, by the way. That's an amazing achievement.

    Jai

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  43. This is a great post, and I am glad to have found you through Twitter. I look forward to reading your blog.

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  44. Lynda, I too am unable to respond to every comment, though I make it a point to answer if someone has asked a question. I always make it a point to comment back at people who have taken the time and effort to visit my blog.

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  45. I've done many of these myself, but I still reply to every comment and try to comment back on everyone's blog when they comment on mine. It's crazy, but I like to add that personal touch.

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  46. This definitely does take some balance and requires choices. Great tips as always.

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  47. On my interview days, I cut back on personal responses because most of the comments are for the person I've interviewed. That helps a lot!

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  48. A great list of way to use your time wisely. I would add using something like HootSuite or TweetDeck to post to multiple social media places at once.

    And I still like to give the personal responses when I can. I tend to do it by email for those who have that option or at least try to visit their blog and leave a brief comment.

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  49. Number 7 is the hardest. But I'm refining my system of visiting.

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  50. Lynnie, this is incredibly timely advice. Thank you.

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  51. These are all great points! I never come back to check if a blogger has responded to my comment. If they've said something I'm very serious about talking to them about, I'll try to find their email address on their blog and get in touch with them that way. That's a very rare thing, though. I also don't email reply to every commenter, though I do do that occasionally. And I'm definitely on maintenance mode with Twitter as well.

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  52. Excellent points. I have had to cut back and after the guilt goes away, it isn't bad. I only check Twitter now and then but live on Facebook--only blogging once or twice a week.

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  53. Great advice! I do find that blogging takes lots of work and effort, plus, for me, comments are kinda spotty. Sometimes I get none, and sometimes I get many. It's hard to figure out how to get people to respond to my blog posts all the time.

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  54. Great post and great advice. I've cut down on my blogging--to once a week, but I still respond to comments. And I still visit lots of blogs, especially the blogs of those who visit my blog.

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  55. I'm still not sure - I like being responded to individually, and try to do the same, 99% of the time. For now it works, but I think if ever I got too overwhelmed, I could always cut down from blogging three times a week. And stop saying yes to challenges and blogfests!

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  56. I've been a tad snowed under (not literally. It doesn't snow in Sydney hehehe). Thank you so much for your comments. I will visit everyone as soon as I can.


    Medeia, yeah, there's still that feeling on occasion ;)

    T. Roger Thomas, Of course, everyone needs to work out what works for them. My advice in point 5 (all of this in fact) is what I've found works for me. Also, this post in particular is about ways of cutting back. Like you said, it all depends on what you need/want out of social media.

    Stacy, I tried the email response to blog comments but I get overwhelmed by the number of emails that come flooding in. My email is already pretty busy.

    Amie, interesting! That's the way I'll end up going I think, but not yet. I'm dying for blogger to put in the reply button on my blog. They stilll haven't done it yet.

    Jai, thanks so much. So close!

    Cherie, great advice about using HootSuite or TweetDeck.

    Cecelia, best way to get people to comment on your blog is to comment on theirs. Also try ending each post with a discussion questions which encourages comments.

    Deniz, yes, I've had to cut back a bit on all the blogfests and challenges. hehe. But they are so much fun!

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  57. I've definitely gotten sucked into the social networking thing to the detriment of my writing. Thanks for the tips!

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  58. Hi Lynda! Here (finally) via Rachael's fantasy campaign group.

    I'm finding Twitter to be the single biggest return on my time investment. Starting around the time I hit the 750 follower mark, it seemed to me I started picking up new followers pretty much every time I tweeted. It's easy and quick, too, and there is no expectation that any one person will respond to any one tweet.

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    1. Welcome, Elizabeth. That's great you've found your niche in social media.

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  59. Some great advice there, Lynda. With so many options it can be easy to fritter hours away and not be productive and it's essential to control the Social media activity rather than it control you!

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I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment.