I see it all the time; my clients complain about it, has it happened to you? On a daily basis, highly intelligent adults find themselves wasting valuable time (our most precious resource) glued to their computer, accepting friend requests, instant messaging, updating status, checking out photos, commenting on things they usually wouldn’t spend time on… how do I know all this? I too was initially sucked into Facebook (FB)!
Facebook is a brilliant online social media tool that can help you reconnect with friends, colleagues and associates, deepen existing relationships, promote your business, share resources and manage your communications. I believe that Facebook can make you more productive however you need to apply these strategies to avoid the productivity trap:
Determine purpose – can you articulate why you have a FB account? Do you want to promote your business or your clients? Do you want to look cool to your teenagers? Do you want to reconnect in a cheaper, faster, more efficient way? Whatever your reason, be clear about what you want to use it for.
Go on a Facebook diet – just like you allocate a certain number of meals or calories per day, limit your time on FB. You might determine that 60 minutes per day will work for you (30 in the morning and 30 at night). I spend no more than 15 minutes in the morning and then occasionally I will check it at night. My business requires significant travel so I also enjoy FB when I am waiting at airports. Determine how many minutes per day you will invest.
Decide how many accounts you will have – recently I was part of a panel of experts on communicating with Generation X & Y for the National Speakers Association winter conference (www.mynsa.org) and we were discussing how many accounts people should have. Some of the audience wanted one for personal and one for work – that seems like too much work for me and I only have one account for the world to see – this is more productive for me in my world.
Use Positive Language – if you decide to have one account (or two accounts for that matter) always ensure your status updates, items posted and photos are all positive. If you don’t want grandma seeing those photos – don’t post them!
We don’t care what you ate for dinner – stop providing status updates on what you just ate – your ‘friends’ don’t care. Use the status updates to share a bit of yourself, your business or promote a client - that is productive. What you ate for dinner… not productive.
Create uniqueness – determine what makes you unique. I am an Aussie living in the US. It is easy for me to paste photos of Oz. With all the heart breaking, fatal fires that swept across Australia there were many photos of koalas being rescued so I was able to share those on my FB page. You can make a donation to the Australia Red Cross (www.redcross.org.au ) or the RSPCA (www.rspca.com.au ) to help the wildlife.
Repost great stories and ideas – share resources, recommended articles, photos, posts, and blog entries of your colleagues, clients and friends. It helps them and adds value to your page. Gina Rubel from Furia Rubel is very good at this – she is one of the best using Facebook (www.furiarubel.com)
Turn off sounds and online status – change your settings to remove all bells, whistles, chimes when messages come into your FB page. Also change your online status if you don’t want people instant messaging you when they can see you are online.
Clear inbox regularly – just like you read your email inbox daily, clear your FB inbox too.
Make friend suggestions – if you see someone new to FB or you connect with someone new, take a few minutes to make friend suggestions to help them expand their FB friends list too.
Comment on status updates – encourage and support other users, their posts and share them with your groups. Michael Port recently suggested a great referral program for small business using Facebook (www.bookyourselfsolid.com )
Create groups – allocate friends to groups and categories to target your communications and resource sharing.
Announce good news – when you win awards, gain new clients, make presentations, release new books, or whatever is great news for you and your business – share it in your status updates.
Post surveys – if you are doing a survey use FB as a tool. Kim Huggins (a specialist in Generation Y communications) did this recently with great results: (www.khrsolutions.com )
Facebook is a great, fun tool for personal and professional use. It is initially addictive but you can put yourself on a FB diet and boost your productivity today.
Neen James, MBA, is an International Productivity Expert: by looking at how people spend their time and energy – and where they focus their attention – Neen helps them to rocket-charge their productivity and performance. A dynamic speaker and author, Neen demonstrates how boosting your productivity can help you achieve amazing things. With her unique voice (Aussie accent), sense of fun and common-sense, Neen delivers a powerful lesson in productivity. Find out more and subscribe to Neen’s free monthly e-zine at http://neenjames.com