This is a guest post by Nikki Bell, winner of the Social CEOs Rising Star Award.

A couple of weeks ago, I was ecstatic to win ‘Social CEOs Rising Star’ at the sixth, annual Social CEOs awards in London. Naturally there was A LOT of social media coverage about the results, and this particular tweet was brought to my attention:

Martin Crewe tweet
I agree that social media can seem like an ‘extra’ to an already busy working life, and it’s easy to decide it’s not worth it; but before you do, here are six ways I’ve been able to maintain a social media presence whilst juggling a busy day job, parenting, supporters, and career progression without feeling like I’m going to explode.

1. Choose your platform wisely

Josiah Lockhart was praised for his approach to communicating across multiple social media platforms including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram but that level of dedication isn’t necessary or feasible for everyone, especially if you’re just starting out (well done though to Josiah for nailing it!).

Think about what your social media end goal is, and then match that with the digital platforms that will help you achieve it. For example, as a relationship fundraiser my go-to platforms were Twitter and Instagram because I was able to connect with and celebrate people within my community in a way that was familiar to them. I’m now in a role offering consultancy in community and fundraising relationships, so I’m investing more time into LinkedIn for connecting with other charities and fundraisers, whilst maintaining the skill of sharing on Twitter but focusing on best practice content rather than charity specific.

2. Be prepared

I like to share my content at a time when I know social media is most active, but this doesn’t always fall in line with how my day is scheduled. If I have a post I want to share but I’ll be in a meeting all day, I’ll draft the post in advance and either save it in drafts or minimise the app ready for a quick open and post when I get a minute. There are more efficient ways of doing this through platforms such as Lightful, but I don’t tend to pre-schedule. If you’d like your timeline full with relevant and regular content then scheduling may be right for you.

3. Flip your mindset

Haven’t got time to do digital because you’re too busy at work? You need to flip that thinking because social media is your work. Overall winner Kate Collins from Teenage Cancer Trust is the perfect example of this and judges commented, ‘Kate’s talent for building relationships, flying the flag for her charity’s work and helping her team feel recognised can be seen in her tweets. With 2019 likely to be a volatile year, Kate’s inspiring Twitter presence helps motivate her staff and shows what they are aspiring to achieve’ – that sounds like awesome leadership to me. And for on-the-ground staff, gathering and sharing stories, putting out content and building relationships is absolutely our job. Let’s use social media to make it a little easier. I’ve written before for Lightful on this subject to get you started.

4. Learn from the digital natives: make it a habit

When Matt Collins shared Martin’s tweet and asked for tips, many of the replies recommended fitting in social media in your gaps of free time; walking to or waiting in the car, the commute (if you’re not driving!) while having a cup of tea, and one user even confessed to toilet tweeting! I don’t block out time in my day to use social media, instead when I’ve got a few moments I’ll check and post to keep things ticking over. Social media is designed to be quick and I can often engage and share within five minutes; I bet we’ve all been stuck in a queue somewhere? Perfect tweeting time! After doing this regularly you’ll find your social media moments increasing and sometimes without thinking about it.

Matt Collins tweet

5. Use the tools to your advantage

Twitter has a handy ‘list’ function which means you can find the users you want to hear from and their tweets quickly, which is handy for helping with the above point. If there’s a particular user you want to hear from you can even get notified every time they tweet! On LinkedIn and Facebook, I ‘unfollow’ the content I don’t need to see, meaning every time I’m online I am exposed to what is relevant for my work and I screen notifications and wait to respond if it doesn’t need a quick reply. And you don’t need to start from scratch. If I’m having a particularly busy day, I’ll search interesting content within my lists and retweet or reply. This is great because you’re engaging and being noticed, but also because you don’t need to think too hard about what to put out there.

6. Be mindful

As much as social media is helpful for adding value to our work in fundraising, it’s important it doesn’t take over, which is easily done when it comes to the digital world. There are apps and built in software that can tell you how much screen time you’re having so you can keep a check on it. I turn my notifications off after-hours and I also make sure to take regular social media breaks during holidays, to detox. Having this approach means my online time is positive, I don’t feel constantly ‘switched on’, and I still have time to dedicate to home-life, reading, and anything else that isn’t work related.

I’d love to hear more ways of how you successfully use social media. The internet and the way we use it is ever-changing and to use it to its full potential we need to adapt too. Get in touch on Twitter (of course) @CharityNikki or find me on my blog to tell me the ways you’re nailing social media.

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