Let’s face it, if you had to design a job that would involve as many online distractions as possible, that job might well be “social media manager”.

While a lot of the world might manage to be moderately productive at work simply by staying off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest (or by putting their phone in another room) … that’s not really going to work when social sites are your job.

So what can you do to stay productive – and avoid going down a rabbit-hole of interesting links? 

How can you use your time well when customers and prospects keep on messaging with the same queries? 

Here are 5 ways to stay productive all day as a social media manager.

  1. Split Your Time Between Different Networks (and/or Clients)

The nature of social media is that it’s never-ending, so you may find that you rarely reach a point where you’re “done” with a specific task. It’s easy to get drawn into answering queries in a big Facebook group … only to look up and find that three hours have passed. 

To balance your different networks (or even different clients, if you work as an independent contractor), try scheduling time for each different area. Allocate more time for the networks that get the most interaction. For instance, you might spend 9 am – 10 am on Facebook, then 10 am – 10.30 on Twitter.

  1. Set Aside Blocks of Time to Create Batches of Content

If you always end up rushing around creating your “Fun Friday” graphic and copy first thing on a Friday morning, then you’re probably stressing yourself out – and not producing the best content you could.

Instead, try making a whole batch of content at once. Find a quiet time in the week and create a bunch of content all at once. This is a particularly good technique if you’re creating video content, where you may need to set up lights, mics, cameras, and so on. Record as much as you can in one session, then you can edit it all later.

  1. Take Proper Breaks From Your Screen and Devices

If you’re on social media all day, checking your personal Facebook feed isn’t going to feel like much of a break. Get up from your desk, stretch your legs, and grab a glass of water. Take some time off at lunch to read a book or get outside – so that your brain gets a break from the constant “just one more” nature of social media.

If at all possible, switch off your phone notifications while you’re on a break. Otherwise, it only takes one “beep” to drag your mind back to work.

It’s also a good idea to take a break to help you calm down after a stressful interaction, whether that’s with an irate customer or simply a social media troll. That way, you’ll be ready to focus again.

  1. Use Saved Replies for Common Queries

Right now, I bet you could make a list of at least five questions that come up again and again from your customers and prospects.

Those might be things like:

  • “Is there a payment plan?”
  • “How long will shipping take?”
  • “What are your opening hours?”

If you’re typing out a response to these again and again, that’s going to take time. And even if your response is just a few words, you can still set up a saved reply for it. 

Even something as simple as a Google  Doc with a bunch of common questions and answers will save time. You could also use a text expander so that you can simply type a shortcode to insert your full answer whenever you need it. 

Of course, if you’re using social media CRM software, then you can simply add your saved replies to the CRM. (They might be called “canned responses” or similar.)

  1. Keep Meetings Short and To The Point

Meetings can end up eating a huge amount of your workweek if you let them. They can also end up sapping your energy. In general, ask yourself whether a meeting could instead be an email or a quick check-in on Slack. 

If a meeting is necessary, make sure there’s a clear agenda ahead of time, that the meeting starts promptly (don’t wait around for people who haven’t arrived or logged in), and that everyone stays focused on the purpose of the meeting – rather than getting into lots of unrelated issues.

Staying productive when your whole job is about social media can seem almost impossible. But by planning out blocks of time, taking breaks, and splitting your time effectively between different areas, you can make a huge difference. Try implementing just one of the above tips this week – and see how much more smoothly your workweek goes.