People often ask me how I stay organized when it comes to monitoring social media accounts. It takes a little bit of work in the beginning and a lot of practice, but with the right mindset and the how to organize your social mediaright tools in your tool box, you can control your social media instead of your social media controlling you.

Time – Whether it’s 15 minutes at 9, 12 and 3 or an hour first thing in the morning, set aside some time to work on your social media sites. Dedicating the time does a couple of things. First, it means the job gets done which is important to your success. If you dedicate a certain amount of time each day you’ll become more comfortable with the sites that you’re using as well as you’ll develop a larger audience. ┬áThe next thing that it helps with is the “rabbit hole” affect. Social media can take a lot of time out of your day – if you let it. By setting aside a certain amount of time, you have a hard stop to what you’re doing and it won’t seem so overwhelming. Set a timer if you need to, get in there and do the things that you need to and then go about your day until your next “scheduled” time.

Social Media Dashboard – Some prefer HootSuite, some prefer TweetDeck. I recommend trying those two to begin with and even a couple of others until you find what you’re most comfortable with. The advantage to using a dashboard is that it makes it easier to work on most of your social media sites in the same place. Instead of logging in and out of each site, you simple authenticate the dashboard with your accounts and then everything is in one place. Twitter (as a site) can be cumbersome to effectively see everything that is happening – you may miss retweets, mentions, etc. With a dashboard such as HootSuite, I can see everything that is taking place in one, quick view.

Editorial Calendar – This may seem a bit over-kill to you, but I promise that it’s not. One of the easiest ways to stay organized and stay FRESH is to have an editorial calendar. This enables you to have a plan on what you’re going to promote during the allotted time frame. At the very least, come up with at least one topic for each month that you can post about. If you’re really struggling with what to put on there, start with the top 12 questions your customers ask you about. If you get the same question over and over, it’s safe to assume that there’s a lot of interest in that subject. This won’t be the only thing you post about but it could be the focus.

Monitoring – You’ll want to know what is being said about you and your company across the internet. I use a combination of Google Alerts as well as SproutSocial. Google Alerts gives me almost instant notification if the keywords I’ve used are mentioned by someone. You may never react to this information but it’s good to know – especially if it’s something negative that’s being said. SproutSocial does this as well but it also serves as a dashboard and gives you reports on your activity and growth. There is a monthly charge for SproutSocial but it’s very reasonable and extremely robust.

So that’s the first step in getting your social media and your year organized. What questions or other tips do you have?

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