How to Keep Facebook From Sucking the Life Out of You

We've now taught hundreds of business owners how to grow their businesses with Facebook, Twitter, blogs and the other social media tools. With total confidence I can tell you that the #1 gripe we hear from these entrepreneurs is "But I don't have time..." And, frankly, they're right. (You thought I was going to say..."but you can't afford not to be on Facebook, etc.) They don't have time and you don't have time to use these tools the way "normal", low-achieving people use them.

So let's talk about smart strategies for automating, delegating and putting boundaries around social media.

First, all of the tools--Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your blog, Plaxo, FriendFeed (and 1000 others)--can be linked to the big boys: Facebook, Twitter and your blog. So instead of updating all of the services you're on, you should really only be actively updating 2 or 3 sites.

Second, Most "normal" people decide what to post when they sit down in front of the computer with Facebook's piercing question "Steve is ________________" staring them in the face. Smart social media marketers approach social media as they do all other forms of media. They plan campaigns.

To do this, block off 30-minutes to 1-hour per week to plan your social media marketing messages for the week.

If you're really cool, you'll include your assistant, the teenager you're paying $10 per hour or some bright, young, hip person on your staff. You tell them what the messages will be and THEY are responsible for making it happen throughout the week.

You can use tools like SocialOomph.com to schedule Twitter posts in advance or Ping.fm to update all of your sites at once (or even better use them together).

Finally, depending on the type of personality your company has, you may want have direct contact with your social media followers. We encourage it.

But you don't need to do all of the posting. Automate you're marketing messages like we've described, and then pop-in to Twitter or Facebook to answer questions and join conversations. This is great filler for that 2-minutes when your between meetings.

Social media should not suck all of your time. It's just one of many forms of media that you should be using in your business. Give it the time it deserves, and no more.