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"How does anyone have time for this? Do these people do any real work, or do they just hang out on Twitter all day?" That is the question I got from a client scrolling through a Twitter feed.

His is a valid question. For some people, the time they spend engaging with social media is an integral part of their job description. For others, like my client, who's a senior banking executive, it's hard to envision how they might fit social media engagement into their overwhelming schedules.

But, I assure you, it is possible to capitalize on social media for learning and for supporting your career and business objectives.

1. The first step is to determine what you want to accomplish

Create one or two social media-related goals and focus on those. You might want to elevate your company's reputation as a thought leader. Or perhaps you're looking to network. You could be working to establish your own reputation.

Tailor your social media activity to those goals. Don't waste time following celebrities or watching kitty memes on YouTube when you should be engaging with industry experts and potential new hires for your company.

2. Go mobile

Once you have a goal, you still have to find time in your day to make it happen. Download the apps for the social media you want to use and check in when you are killing time—lingering between meetings, waiting to pick up your kids, or killing time before an event starts. You're probably accustomed to responding to email during such times. Just add a few minutes of social to your routine.

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image of Karen Albritton

Karen Albritton is president of Capstrat, a strategic communications agency. An advocate for the marketing profession, Karen also serves as president-elect of the AMA's Professional Chapters Council.

Twitter: @kalbritton

LinkedIn: Karen Albritton