There are so many things pulling at our attentions online. We aren’t sure what to spend time doing online that will be most effective for our ministry or business. It seems everyone has a different answer and many successful bloggers share their experiences. Before I go any further I do want to clarify–there is no “one size, fits all” for blogging. Some people have broken the “rules” of blogging and been very successful. Some have followed all the rules and have struggled to reach out further.
It’s important we each listen to the heartbeat and pulse of our own communities and follow their needs. They will be different, requiring that we tweak some of these said rules to fit within our communities.
It is very important to know your goals for your blog. This will be vital in knowing how to best spend your time online. Many of us don’t have a lot of time to spend online. So it’s helpful to know where to invest it.
Where to Focus Your Efforts
There is a lot of information telling us how we should be utilizing every social media outlet out there in order to be effective. I find that is not always the case.
Some say you have to spend lots of time reading and commenting on other blogs. But how many? How much is enough?
What about networking and blog work and maintenance and writing? All of this stuff takes time. How can we fit it all in? What is most important?
Here are the elements I have found to be most effective as a writer, blogger, and encourager to my online community.
I can’t get a message out if I don’t spend time writing it. Writing is the backbone of my entire ministry. If I don’t write, I don’t have anything for my community to grab a hold of when I’m not actively online. Nor will anyone have anything to share if they want to encourage someone with my writing. Writing posts and eBooks helps the message I have publish publicly, even when I’m not around.
However, my writing cannot stand alone, either. Somehow I have to get the message out there for others to see–and share.
If I’m not engaging with people in an authentic and casual way, sharing my writing will only look like spam to most. I need to spend time connecting with people through social media.
How much time should I spend on social media and where should I focus my engagement?
We actually do not need to spend our entire day engaging on social media. Choose one or two (at most) avenues that you enjoy, and focus your engagement there. That doesn’t mean you cannot utilize other social media avenues if you choose. But unless you’re working as a full time blogger, being present and active at the top 5 social media platforms is going to burn you out and zap time away from other important things you need to be focusing on.
I spend my most active times engaging on Twitter and Facebook. I still utilize Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+, but I do not invest in much time in them as I do my main two.
You could easily get away with spending 30 minutes a day, on your top two social media picks and still be effective–pending your engagement is focused, not random, and not all promotions. Then spend 5-10 minutes a day on the remaining social media sites to maintain a presence.
Another important and very personal way to engage with people is to visit their blogs and comment. This is simple and straight-forward. But many people wonder how much time should be spent doing this each day. It’s easy to get sucked into reading blogs and link-hopping.
If you consistently read and comment (daily), you really don’t need to comment more then a couple of blogs per day. That’s 10-14 per week; and 40-56 per month. They add up! And that consistency will follow you.
Research and Educating Yourself
It is very important for a writer/blogger to continuously educate themselves on what’s current in blogging and social media. If you want to publish a book one day, it’s also important to stay up to date with the latest publishing news. We need to read to improve our skills as writers and bloggers. There will always be room for improvement and part of growing a ministry or business requires that we, ourselves, grow.
If you’re looking for answers, spend a little time researching.
Know Your Limits
There is only so much we can do in a day. It’s so easy (so easy!) to get sucked in to social media. We must know our limits and stand by them. We are wives, mothers, daughters, and friends outside of the online community as well. The internet is an awesome tool for making connections and creating ministry to reach places we wouldn’t otherwise be able to. But we cannot completely disconnect from life to advance our endeavors online.
It’s like anything else that we indulge too much of — it isn’t good for us or anyone around us. Know your limits.
How do I set limits?
Create a schedule. This helps to focus on the most important tasks, knowing you have to fit them in a time slot on your schedule.
Set a timer. This is especially helpful when you get on social media. It requires you to stay on task because you know you only have so much time to make the most of it.
Unplug regularly. This is such a refreshing way to refocus and actually gain new ideas. Stepping away once a week, once a month helps keep things in the right perspective.
What area listed above could you use more information in? I’d be glad to help answer any questions you have–just leave them in the comments.
Joy in Christ,