Social networking is here to stay – Twitter, Facebook, Bebo, MySpace, blogging and a host of new social networking sites are on the rise. People want to be connected and the speed we’re moving in to stay connected is frightful at times – how can you keep up? But more importantly, are you being less productive than you should by visiting social networking sites?

The first thing to note is that social networking shouldn’t be looked at as a negative thing. It’s simply the next stage of internet business and as savvy online business owners, it’s up to us to stay connected to the latest trends and changes in this field.

However, it’s also important to note that too much of a good thing may also lead to a negative outcome, such as not making the best use of our time.

If you’d like to use social networking in your marketing but are worried about the time issues associated with it, here are a few tips:

#1 – Set a schedule. Set out a set time each day – say 20 or 30 minutes – that you dedicate to social networking. Try to stick to the same schedule each day. This way you get your dose of social networking without it overtaking your business or life. The schedule should be personal to you and you may find that 30 minutes is too little or too much, but whatever the schedule ensure you stick to it.

#2 – Know your goal. Before you get started ask yourself – what would I like to achieve from this? Do I want to gain more clients or customers? Do I want to just have a little fun and connect with friends and business acquaintances? It’s important to know your goals with social networking because this will help you put the whole thing into perspective.

If your goal is to get more clients, then you’ll need to look at your social networking time as an investment and track the outcome. If you just want to have a little fun, then it’s something you can do without worries once you’ve finished your business tasks for the day.

#3 – Don’t juggle too much too soon. Trying to be involved with all aspects of social networking may seem a little daunting (and time consuming). Instead, research and find one or two methods you really enjoy and that seem to work for your business needs. Then stick to those methods for a while until you’re confident you can handle more.

#4 – Prioritize. Unless you’ve proven that social networking is a big part of your overall business strategy and success, it may make sense to prioritize your fundamental (i.e. money-making) tasks first. Once you’ve completed the activities for the day that you feel will help your business succeed, then you can move on to your social networking time.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the social networking time trap. That’s why all of the steps above work hand in hand. If you don’t know your goals with social networking, it’s easy to waste time, and you also won’t know where your priorities should be. And if you do too much too soon it’s easy to not stick to your schedule and spend too much time on social networking sites.

Use the tips listed here as a starting point to where you want to go with this new media. Then set yourself a schedule and stick to it. Remember you’re in control and you don’t need to get carried away with social networking – unless you’d like to, of course.

Author: Eric

Author, Visionary and Truth Seeker Sharing wisdom and inspiration to all those around me Get my new book "Set Your Mind On Things Above The Sun"

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