social prAs you read this, I’m about three-quarters of the way through my month-long working tour of India. For the most part, it’s been great (the “non-great” part typically has to do with internet access more sluggish than a drunk snail).

I’ve met some really smart people, several with an absolute thirst for all things Social PR. Like the grad students I taught in Mumbai (see pic).

But the one thing that drives them nuts – much like my colleagues in the U.S. – is technology. And that frustration often has unanticipated – and to me, unwanted – consequences in their pursuit of Social PR excellence.

“Dude, where’s my Social PR?”

These are not all “newbies,” mind you. They are fully aware of, and love, the potential of what social technologies can do for their clients and organizations.

But with that potential comes the possibility of overload, and which quickly leads to overwhelm. Which in turn leads, quite often, to them simply not using it as effectively as they could.

And that, to me, is a crying shame. Because when it’s used well, the way technology can boost Social PR is absolutely incredible.

Putting technology in its place

If this feeling of overwhelm resonates, I have three ideas for you to start implementing right away, that will help put technology in its place—which is to support your Social PR efforts, not override them.

1. Don’t spend all your time on social media.

Yes, you heard me right. Do not spend every waking minute trying to figure out what the next big thing is, how to Snap, how to Insta, how to get into AR/VR…

You’ll go crazy!

Instead, pick a 10-15 minute chunk of time per day – preferably at the same time every day – and dedicate that time to social media, guilt-free.

Use this time to get comfortable, socially speaking. Maybe you’ll check Twitter, maybe you’ll surf the latest #AlternativeFacts making their way around Facebook… whatever.

But get onto social for just 15 minutes a day to start with. And soon it will start to feel less threatening.

2. Set up a basic listening program.

Remember why you’re on social to start with… to support your business objectives. And you can’t do that if you’re not listening to what your target audience is saying on social media.

So set up a listening program, no matter how basic, to help you do this.

There are two keys to a good listening program:

  • It is at least partly automated, so that you don’t have to literally go find relevant social conversations; and
  • It is set up with specific insights in mind, so that you know how to act upon the intelligence that shows up.

Please don’t think you need to spend big bucks to have a halfway decent listening program. Even the lowly web alert can be very useful, as long it is set up to deliver results for the right search parameters.

Which leads me to #3 …

3. Automate whatever you can.

You’ve probably heard countless people tell you that social is about “being social.” And I agree. But not at the expense of your sanity… and especially not at the cost of your sleep.

Because if all you do is participate IRL in social, you’ll quickly get burned out.

So automate what you can, both on the listening front, as well as on the content curation front. Consistently sharing relevant and useful content is one of the ways you build your audience, and putting some of that on autopilot is completely ok.

1, 2, 3

Implement just these three tips, and I guarantee you’ll start to feel less and less overwhelmed by social. And overcoming that overwhelm is the first step to unfurling your Social PR Superhero cape.