Social media is both a tool and a time waster, with the potential for great good or great harm to be caused. Although it can be used to create a great impact, it is important that we know how to use it. Knowing how to effectively use social media is the difference between you controlling it and it controlling you.

PC: Launch & Hustle

HERE ARE SIX STEPS TO EFFECTIVELY USING SOCIAL MEDIA:

1. FILTER

When you open up social media, you want to be able to see things you’re interested in or that are relevant. You don’t want to spend a ton of time scanning through things you don’t care about. Unfollow or mute what you don’t want to see and clean up your feeds.

2. PLAN

If you’re sharing something that needs to go out to a large audience, plan when it needs to be posted. Research peak usage times, and apply this newfound knowledge to when you send things out.

PC: Placester

3. USE SCHEDULER APPS

Speaking of peak usage times, if you’re trying to get something out at a certain time, you don’t want to have to be checking the time every five seconds in order to post something when it needs to go up. Use a scheduler app so that you can set it and forget it. My favorite is Buffer!

4. SIMPLIFY

People don’t want to see 10 billion posts in a day. Granted, if you’re sharing something of substance, that’s different; however, sharing nine animal videos in a row is a great way to get people to stop looking at what you’re posting and sharing. Give yourself credibility, and quit over posting.

Simplify, think through what you post, and make a conscious decision for everything that goes up. People will be a lot more interested when they see a few thought out things rather than constant mindless sharing and posting (although, I always encourage the sharing of cute dog videos).

PC: simplify.no

5. HASHTAG

Hashtag EVERYTHING. Maybe not Facebook posts, but tags on Instagram and Twitter will open up a whole new audience to what you have to say. They get your posts out to the people who want to see them, so don’t forget them!

6. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN

Finally, know when to put your phone down. Live life in the moment-not constantly through your camera or social media. A little is great, but when you’re mindlessly on it and can’t stay off, you need to step away.

Set boundaries for yourself, and spend more time off social media than you do on it; delete apps for a period of time if you need to. Be sure to develop real life relationships and focus on reality more than social media, and you’ll be well on your way to effective use of the time you do spend online.

Follow the author’s other work here, or follow her on Twitter: @kovanderhart

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