Social media isn't inexpensive, it's just different expensive. To do it well requires a tremendous time commitment, and regardless of what your life and lifestyle entails, the time you spend on social comes with an opportunity cost price tag. Thus, one of the characteristics that sets adept practitioners of social media apart from less successful adherents is wise use of time.
Using your limited social media time wisely is all about going beyond the obvious activities. If you're doing the exact same things everyone else is doing in social, I can guarantee you will not have an advantage. But, if you do some things differently, you may find activities where the reward is disproportionate to the effort. These nine efficiencies -- hacks -- are what you need to embrace right now.
Listen to podcasts
Sure, they've been overcome by newer and sexier social flavors du jour but podcasts are still the best way to spend time when you're not in front of a screen. Driving to work? Listen to Mitch Joel's Six Pixels of Separation or MarketingProfs' Marketing Smarts with Matthew Grant. Working out? Put on the earbuds and embrace John Jantsch's Duct Tape Marketing, or Chris Penn's Marketing Over Coffee.
Take and curate photographs
I'm not certain if a picture is worth a thousand words, but it's definitely worth 140 characters. This is the year that photos challenge writing as the lingua franca of the social web: Instagram; Pinterest; Path; Google + using large thumbnails in the news feed; face recognition technology. All trend lines point toward photography. If you're not taking and posting pictures to dedicated photo networks and cross-posting (when appropriate) to Twitter and Facebook, you're missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your network and see the world through the eyes (or cell phone cameras) of thousands of new friends.
Read LinkedIn today
It's pretty safe to say that most people keep their LinkedIn shrubbery more closely pruned than their Facebook or Twitter trees. Thus, when content is shared in LinkedIn, it often has a better chance to have been shared by people you trust, or at least people with a modicum of business sense. That's why when I'm looking for a summarized source of what's happening in the categories I care about, I turn to Linkedin Today.
Buffer your links
One of the most insidious time sucks in all of social media -- especially for content curators -- is the "Oh, I found something cool. I should share this on a social network or four!" keyboard fire that spontaneously erupts a few times a day. This kills your focus and productivity. The better approach is to set aside a chunk of time first thing each morning to find the handful of truly interesting content bon mots that are worthy, and use Buffer http://bufferapp.com/ to automatically share them across your chosen social networks at pre-determined, optimized times. While you're at it, add the Buffer button http://bufferapp.com/goodies/button to your blog too.
Use "If This, Then That" recipes
If This, Then That (IFTTT) is the best social tool nobody ever mentions. It's like a virtual assistant social media robot, where you can create an almost infinite array of conditionally-defined, time-saving tasks. Create an account and hook up all of your social profiles, blogs, cell phone numbers, etc. Then sift through the mountain of existing recipes to find processes that will save you effort.
For example, want your Twitter profile photo to change automatically when you update your Facebook profile photo? Done. Want to have your favorited tweets automatically emailed to you? Done. Want to automatically store your Instagram photos in a Dropbox account? Done. Want to automatically post to your Pinterest board any link you add to Facebook? Done.
The opportunities are nearly endless at IFTTT.com.