Can You Succeed at Social Networking and Have a Life?

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Here’s a newsflash: You don’t have to live and breathe Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and whatever the latest social networking phenomenon is to have an effective presence in the social networking ether.

In “Taming the Social Networking Beast” (May/June Practice Management Solutions), veteran freelance writer Amy E. Buttell gives us six ways to manage a successful social networking strategy, and not one of those strategies involves dedicating endless hours a day to these efforts.

This is a relief to me, since I may be the only person with readily available Internet access who does not have a Facebook page. Why not? I’m afraid of the time suck. And it’s not just Facebook I fear. I admit I occasionally post on LinkedIn and tweet now and then, but very cautiously. I figure if I don’t spend four hours a day engrossed in social networking I won’t know what I’m missing.

When Amy and I were e-mailing each other about her article, I fessed up about avoiding social networking because I didn’t want it to take over my life. She shared some great advice:

“When you think about social networking in terms of building relationships, it makes a lot more sense to invest the time into it.”

She commiserated with me on the time-suck factor, but said, “I am finding the fun factor (it’s my virtual watercooler, since I don’t go to an office), the chance to build relationships (I’m learning things about people that I never would otherwise learn) and the professional networking opportunities (I’m meeting and making connections with people I would never otherwise know) outweighs the time-suck factor.”

Of course, there is technology to help manage it all. As Amy writes in her article, you can save time by using TweetDeck or Hootsuite to simultaneously post to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Along with tips for striking a balance between personal and business postings and strategies for promoting but not over-promoting, Amy’s article quotes a few sources who share some great time-management advice. For John Chladek of Chladek Wealth Management, initially getting started with social networking was time consuming, but now he spends an hour a day, tops, maintaining Facebook, LinkedIn and his blog.

So here’s to being adept at social networking and still having a life. And who knows, perhaps there’s a Facebook page in my future.

Carly Schulaka
Managing Editor
Practice Management Solutions magazine
Financial Planning Association
Denver, Colo.

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