- Be selective with your media of choice. You don't have to be everywhere or do everything in social media. Pick your favourite/s and do them well. The rest you can either ignore or use maintenance mode (see the next point).
- Use maintenance mode. This is what I call doing the minimum to maintain the following you've already built. I use this mode for Twitter by acknowledging any retweets, new followers, or mentions I happen to get. Although I will always follow back if someone follows me, I tend not to seek new followers or conversations here. This way I maintain my numbers and have more time for other priorities.
- Use email alerts. Most social networking sites offer customisation in email alerts so you don't even have to visit the site to know what's been going on. For Facebook, I've set my alerts so I know when someone has tagged me, written on my wall, or posted in my favourite group.
- Maintain no more than one blog. I used to maintain two blogs aimed at completely different audiences. Time inevitably became an issue so I had to choose. This turned out to be a good thing because my readers no longer had to guess which blog to visit. Note: if you have old blogs that you no longer maintain, make sure you remove the address from your profile.
- Reduce the number of times you post on your blog. When I first started blogging I posted every day. I reduced this to Monday-Saturday and again to three times a week. I currently post twice a week which seems to work best for me. I'd suggest if you are trying to build a platform then three times a week is the best number without overdoing it. The absolute maximum is once a day and the absolute minimum is once a week (unless you state you're on a break).
- Cut back on personal responses. I used to always give a personal response in the comments to everyone who commented on my blog. While I will always visit the blogs of those who have taken the time to visit mine, I've had to cut back on the personal responses to their comments. Even though I know a couple of people come back to read those responses, I'm not convinced everyone does. I know a few bloggers who don't respond at all to their comments and they don't seem to have suffered. I would love to hear your opinion on this issue.
- Cut back on blog visits. This point is the most obvious time-saver, but also the most difficult. However, it's also necessary if you follow more than 200 blogs. I follow more than a thousand blogs so obviously it's impossible to visit everyone every day. I've had to become highly selective. I will always try to visit my favourites, my new followers, my commenters.
Can you think of other ways of cutting back on the social networking time without losing out on its benefits?