Social media platforms can make a brand or break a person. The key lies in taking the best bits and opting out of the worst. It’s working out what actually makes a difference and only doing that. With an intentional mindset, success is possible.

Here’s how to use social media to make money without wasting time.

How to use social media to make money without wasting time

How to use social media to make money without wasting time

Unsplash - Josh Rose

Don’t waste time

Definite, deliberate actions rather than mindless scrolling will mean your return-per-second is high. Don’t confuse busyness with effectiveness on social media. Without having a clear goal it will zap your time and your energy and you’ll have nothing to show for it.

Use it to produce in favour of consuming. Know the purpose of you being active on each platform. Develop acute awareness of when you are scrolling and checking instead of publishing and engaging. Follow as few people as you can, or don’t ever scroll the news feed. Limit your time to maximise productivity. Set timers whenever you are there, and stop when the alarm sounds.

Log out whenever you’re not posting so you’re not tempted to check in between sessions, and turn notifications off so they can’t interrupt your day. Unfollow every irrelevant account and tidy up your profile. Use Twitter and Instagram’s “mute” function to filter even further. Discard anything that isn’t inspiration or directly related to your brand. Cut out everything nonessential to make space for what is.

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Make a plan

Make the plan for what you’re using social media to achieve, and keep it as simple as possible. Set one goal for each platform and ensure every action you take contributes. Positioning yourself as an expert, driving web traffic, responding to queries, keeping in people’s minds, or adding value. Be as linear as possible to encourage focus.

Use a cornerstone strategy. Pick your most relevant profile and lead with it. Design your content for that platform and move the rest down the line. Make your weekly action plan for this platform and measure every metric. Don’t flit about between platforms by being clear on their pecking order.

Set the purpose for each platform and ensure that it’s clear. Direct your audience accordingly and avoid confusing them. If you want them to join you somewhere else, tell them repeatedly. If you want to hear from them, ask. If you’re there to showcase your brand rather than field questions, don’t deviate from your plan or let the mask slip.

How to use social media to make money without wasting time

How to use social media to make money without wasting time

Unsplash - Sherise

Be productive

Look at everything you’re doing and work out which tasks need to be done by you, and you alone. What can you delegate and what can you automate? Get more out of each hour by rallying your troops. Use Zapier, Mailchimp, and ContentCal as your trusted allies. Schedule and automate and leave things to run. Let competition entries update your mailing list and your mentions populate a spreadsheet. Don’t do anything a robot could do.

Engage one-to-one as often as you can. Each person you surprise and delight could become a future superfan. Single some out and others will want to get involved. Respond with kindness, keep the conversation going, and say “thank you”. Look for every opportunity to spread positivity. Move conversations to DM or to email instead. Get closer with your network and make it tight-knit.

Ask your audience about themselves. Be there to serve, not there to promote. Make connections and make friends and engage with the long-term in mind. Follow up. Remember what you are told. Bolster your database and build a network of substance. Become their best friend.

Be consistent

Pick a cadence for activity that you could keep up forever. Develop a pattern and stick to it no matter what. Post at the same frequency, at the same time, without exception. Engage in bursts that are scheduled in your calendar. Take all randomness out of your pursuits. Be consistent and dependable and there when you say you will be.

Work out ads and set them all up. Test and iterate until you’ve cracked the process. Systemise your approach and keep ramping up. Add budget to what works and pause what doesn’t. Pay to play but play to win. Apply hawk-like scrutiny to every metric. Know where every lead comes from. Scale up and sit back.

You win at social media by taking the best bits without the worst. You can build an audience and grow your business without becoming addicted. You can share your message and add value without selling out. You can cultivate relationships and strengthen your network without oversharing. Get laser-focused and crystal-clear on working out your plan and then sticking to it. Cut out everything that doesn’t fit. Watch your return soar without your time being taken.