There is no doubt of the many benefits of the Internet for promoting your work and the many ways in which you can do it.
The trouble is, the net is jammed with ways to distract us in our efforts to promote, whether this be in engaging with social media, blogging, commenting, forum discussions, posting videos, and so on.
Here are some good ways to cut down wasted time when you’re online, so that you can focus your valuable time on effective self promotion without procrastinating:
1. Assign daily time for online promotion activities
It is important to set your own rules in terms of how much time you spend online actively promoting yourself, and doing nothing else.
Provide yourself with a daily time limit doing nothing but online self promotion, and you’ll find your efforts are better focused and much more effective. Once you’ve reached your time limit, you can focus on procrastinating again once more ;).
Write this on your wall, or a post-it note. 15 or 20 minutes of dedicated promotional activity every day will be hugely beneficial to you.
2. Identify your main online time-wasting activities, then ditch them
To start with, find three sites you find yourself distracted by, that you visit often.
Now block them. There are free applications you can download to put blocks on certain sites.
After a while, you won’t even notice they’re gone.
3. Focus on your key influencers
An earlier post discussed the relevance of key influencers in your industries. These are people who are active online, engaging, respected, talented, and inspire others.
Linking up with these people and getting noticed by them, and getting in their peripheral ‘vision’ is what is important for your promotional methods. These are the people who will spread the word about you, get you work, find clients for you, and build your own value if you get into their good books.
Concentrate your efforts on networking and engaging with these people. This saves time, because you are focusing only on a select group of relevant people and not a massive and overwhelming network.
On Facebook, for example, it is possible to only view updates on your news feed from these people that you can set up through lists. This allows you to keep track of them and communicate with them (no spam – build relationships!).
4. Work offline more
As hard as this may sound to some people, there is a lot you can do away from the Internet in preparing to promote yourself online. Only go online for things that completely require it, like sending through emails, blog posts and messages.
Writing these can be done offline, even away from the computer with a pen and paper with very few distractions.
This is how I brainstorm and write these very posts: away from the computer. It is much much more effective.
If you think about it, the Internet is essentially a delivery system for getting files from your computer terminal to other people’s terminals. Excuse the old fashioned terminology, but this is all you need to keep in mind when using the net to expose yourself.
Getting the bulk of your work done away from the computer, will eliminate distractions that you might come across on the Internet.
5. Cut down your email-checking binges
Over checking your email is the major downfall for most people when it comes to trying to be efficient and effective on the Internet.
There are four ways to sort this problem out once and for all:
- Do not check your email the first thing in the morning. Do one or two key tasks that you hopefully set the day before first.
This avoids getting into any vicious cycles that might occur by checking emails first.
- Set yourself up to only check your emails at three points each day or less.
These times can be:
Once in the morning after carrying out key tasks.
Once at 3pm
Once again at 5pm or after dinner if you’re still active on the computer then.
This is possible even if you have a communication intensive project you are working on. Make sure you include as much detail as possible each time you exchange an email with your client etc and make it clear with them if they squirm that you have a serious policy of minimal email use. They’ll understand.
- Deal with each email there and then as you go into your inbox. For those emails that require more time to read or deal with, label these as ‘read’, archive them, and get back to them when you have more time.
- You should only have one folder for your emails. Move all your inbox items into a single archive folder. These cuts out distracting inbox items, and is also hugely satisfying from a mental point of view. Less clutter physically and mentally, means greater productivity.
6. Stick to a Consistent Social Media Checklist
Interacting with other people on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter can be fun. It might be hell for others. It can also be very time consuming.
I highly recommend using these sites to promote yourself. However, you don’t have to spend much time every day on these sites to promote yourself. You only need minutes if you stick to a checklist for each site you use.
Here is the Step by Step Facebook strategy I try and stick with, which can mean only needing to use it for 5 minutes everyday, or even every few days:
- Create a Key People News Feed
> Click ‘friends’ > Add to ‘key people’ list you already created > Click ‘more’ on the menu to the left (which includes status updates, photos) > drag your ‘key people to above ‘news feed’, and refresh the page. This means only your chosen key people will appear in your news feed.
- Process any requests that appear in the top right.
- Acknowledge messages, birthdays, interesting status updates, posted links. This can be with a few words or putting a thumbs up. This is all valuable, because it makes your name visible every day amongst the people in your network.
- Deal with new notifications, such as wall posts, bottom right.
- Look for any suitable conversations to contribute to, and engage. This doesn’t have to be an essay.
- Spend some time adding a few relevant people who would fit into your network. Approach with a personal message relevant to them.
And that’s it! Now you can log off Facebook and read a book or get creative.
This need only be done ideally once a day, for regular and consistent exposure amongst your Facebook network.
I’m sure you can think of the important things you need to do on any other social media sites you are a member of. Stick to those key things, then log off.
Comments are encouraged here :)