Monday, July 6, 2009

How Much Is Too Much?

Getting exposure for your business is great, right? But when you are doing it all online, how much is too much? How much time can you really devote to your networking sites? I've tried several, and quickly found that I don't have time EVERY day to devote to all sites! But exposure is good, so what's a girl to do?? My first thought was to cut back, and only stick to a few sites....but then who knows how many people I'm no longer reaching! I don't want to be spread so thin that I can only spend 5 minutes a day working on every site I'm linked what is my solution?

Well, they say that with a home based business you need to work it like a business in order to succeed. How does this translate? Time management. I am currently on about 11 different networking sites. Now, keep in mind I am a stay at home mother of three, thus making spare time a rare and desirable thing to have! So how do I go about maintaining my exposure online, with two boys (7 years old, 2.5 years old) and a girl (11 months old)?

Since John works four days on and then four days off, I arrange my "work week" to match his. Although he works rotating shifts of 7am-7pm and then 7pm-7am, I work rotating shifts of nap times and bedtimes! For example, if he is working the 7am shift, I will do my work before the kids wake up in the morning (they are up around 8 or 9am) and then again during their nap time (my 7 year old usually just reads on his bed, although he sometimes falls asleep, too!). On that schedule I can usually get about 5 hours in a day. Now on the night rotation, I can again work before the wake up (John gets home around 7:30am, kids wake up 8 or 9am), and then after they've gone to bed for the night (bedtime is 8:30pm). So night rotations give me about 6 hours of working time. Keep in mind, I do my actual sewing during John's days off while he's with the kids, as it's a time for me to relax a little with no interruptions! Back to my hours, though! What I have is 5 hours on day rotations, and 6 hours on night rotations. With 11 websites to stay on top of I have to divide up my days. To help with this I have to figure out which websites take more time. For instance, my blog that you are reading takes about 45 minutes to an hour to work on (comments, posts, followers, etc.). Then there's sites like Twitter that really only take about 10 minutes if that. So to keep me from being glued to the monitor all day, I have my routine as follows:

Morning rotations 4 days with 5 working hours each:
Day 1 and Day 3- Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Etsy, Living in Style
Day 2 and Day 4- MixxMade, LinkReferral, ArtFire, Blogspot, Squiddo

Night rotations 4 days with 6 working hours each:
Day 1 and Day 3- Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Etsy, Living in Style, Wee Sprout and Grow
Day 2 and Day 4- MixxMade, LinkReferral, ArtFire, Blogspot, Squiddo, misc. sites

That's just a rough idea of my schedule! Some sites are quicker to work than others. I check my email account twice a day, and am always looking for new ways to get more exposure. The thing to watch out for is to make sure that you would be reaching your target customers. Why join a networking site for jewelry makers if your business is in no way related to that?? Now if you are interested in jewelry, then by all means, join and have fun! But don't join just to advertise yourself if it isn't relevant! See what I mean? You don't want to become 'spam' on other sites! No one likes spam, even if it is for the greatest product ever made! ;)

I guess in answer to "how much is too much?", you could say that it's too much if you can't devote adequate time! Some sites only require a 2 minute update, but others are truly 'networking sites', in other words you need to reach out and 'talk' to other members! Build relationships! If a website allows you to upload photos, then do so. Take advantage of the different areas of exposure available within each site (blog, photos, status, 'walls', friends, forums, chat...).

I'd love to hear how the rest of you out there get exposure for your businesses, too! Feel free to comment and add on!