7 Summer Strategies for Social Media, Part 1

This post is primarily written for college students, who have the summer off from regular studies, but I believe anyone who wants to maximize their summer in the social media sphere can benefit. I welcome your input and suggestions in the comments below – what are your summer strategies for social media?

As I mentioned in Summer: The Fun of Business, I’m taking the summer off from classes and focusing primarily on my freelance consulting business. I recognize that not all college students have this luxury – for many, the summer may mean a brief vacation and then lots of hours put into a summer job to help save towards college expenses. For others, their summer may still be full of short college classes in an effort to build up needed hours towards a degree.

But for those of you who want to take advantage of summer’s flexibility to develop a consulting business, study in preparation for classes you’ll take in the fall, or even just better manage your personal brand, I want to outline a few strategies that I am working on implementing for myself this summer that I think may be of benefit to you too. I’ll cover items 1-3 in this post, 4-7 in another.

  1. Social Media Study – exploring social media tools, reading books, attending seminars
  2. Skill Development – developing skills outside of social media – writing, programming, photography, etc…
  3. Sorting & Systems – setting up systems for organization & efficient management of bookmarked links, emails & files
  4. Summer Schedule – chunking, doing the next thing, taking advantage of flexibility
  5. Social Media Work – seasonal emphasis, consistency, scheduling & communication
  6. Strategic Development – long-range planning, conducting surveys, developing personal brand & style, SEO
  7. Spread Reach – sharing & engaging with Twitter chats, social events, networking, suggesting resources

All right, let’s go ahead and break these points down into a bit more detail. Ultimately, the goal is to have a synergistic system that incorporates both social time, skill development, and social media work.

Social Media Study

During the school year, much of my social media work ends up being relegated to maintenance mode and traditional tried-and-true methods. Sure, I’ll have a few new and interesting projects come up now and then, and sometimes I will research or try a new tool, but it’s usually based on client needs & demands rather than primarily out of personal interest. Summer is the perfect time to explore trends and tools in social media.

Just yesterday, I tried Hootsuite for the first time (I’m already an avid Tweetdeck user) and downloaded Skype. Neither of these are particularly new tools in the online world, but I don’t have much experience with either, and both for my own sake, out of curiosity, and to better advise and assist my clients, I want to have more familiarity with them. In past weeks I’ve been learning more about Evernote, signed up on Empire Avenue, and tried a mindmapping tool called WiseMapping. The point is to work on expanding your social media knowledge while your schedule is a bit more flexible.

Skill Development

It’s not just social media you can work on exploring and mastering though…there are lots of other relevant business skills to work on developing over the summer for any marketing/consulting biz. Remember that you are a better writer if you read a lot (and write a lot, for that matter), and that being well-read means more than reading just social media articles. It’s a great time to actually go to the library and get a stack of books on a variety of topics (outside of business & marketing too), attend seminars and workshops in areas of interest like photography or editing, and take up new hobbies.

You never know when your new hobby might mean a new client (for instance, I’m hoping to take up horseback-riding, and have already helped someone who offers rides in the Flint Hills with his Facebook Page on several occasions). In addition, it just makes for more interesting writing when you can bring in real-life examples and anecdotes to your blog posts and even your client interaction.

Of primary importance here are the technical and fundamental skills like writing, programming, web design, etc… In my case, this serves a dual purpose – e.g. I’m playing with an Arduino to better my C/C++ programming, both for fun and in preparation for classes in the fall. I’m planning to practice my stickshift driving in anticipation of saving up for a manual car I can save on gas mileage with, etc… Find your own unique pursuits and then set aside consistent chunks of time to make progress in those areas. And be sure to document that progress for your portfolio and resumé.

Sorting & Systems

You want your business to run as smoothly as possible when you have to get back into the daily grind of classes, homework, study groups, and tests. The best way to help that happen is to use the summer to strategize, sort, and set up systems that work for you. This means getting off of irrelevant email mailing lists, coming up with a filing/labeling system for your email client, going through those stacks of books and piles of papers where you may currently know the location of every important item, but won’t in six months when things get hectic, and taking a serious look at how to best order your schedule. There are all kinds of helpful tools to help you do this, which goes back to a) experimenting while you have time and then b) figuring out what works best for you.

In my case, I know one thing I really need to work on in this area is my bookmarking strategy. I’m constantly favoriting Tweets just to save a link that I might want to reference or read later, bookmarking videos and “read later” links on Diigo, and I still have a sizable list of favorites that I copied over from my previous laptop and may never get to. I could delete them and start fresh, but while I have time, I’d rather go ahead and read, sort and/or delete them, and then come up with a system that helps me keep things orderly and easily accessible going forward. Same thing with old Word documents I have saved off my old computer – yes, I know where things are and can access them without too much trouble, but the clutter slows down my computer and overall efficiency.

Continued in 7 Summer Strategies for Social Media, Part 2…(coming on June 9th)



This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 at 1:57 pm and is filed under Social Media & Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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  • http://www.deepsoni.me Deep S.

    Cant wait for Part 2. You nailed all the points!