Managing your social media campaign or herding cats?

One of the more frustrating aspects of managing a social media campaign –either your own or a client’s – is to keep track of the dozens of email addresses, logins, passwords, and little details of the sites that make up your campaign. “Herding cats” is the image I frequently think of when I’m trying to remember what I did where. I’m not a formally trained project manager and Gantt charts are not my thing. Here’s a few hints on how I’ve learned to manage the details of my projects. Hopefully you’ll find a few hints you can use for your own work:

  • Have a place to write stuff down. One of the really bad habits I’ve managed to break is to write logins and passwords on random sheets of paper on my desk and then have to scramble to find them again. A few years ago I started using spiral notebooks with perforated sheets. Now I can always find the notes and can transfer the separate sheets to a file folder or a One Note file. (More on One Note shortly.)
  • Want a tad more tech? Create a spreadsheet in Excel or Open office for your various sites, including URL, email address used, user names and passwords. DO NOT use the same user name and password for every site. Nor should you use easy to guess info. Why make it easy for someone to hack your profiles?
  • Need to manage more than just the spreadsheet info? It’s not formal project management software, but I love Microsoft OneNote for keeping all the details of a campaign organized in one place. One Note has been the best cheap ($65) software investment I’ve ever made for managing projects. The system allows you to create “notebooks,” sections, and pages for your projects. Got other attachments in other software you need to reference like spreadsheets? You can attach them to the page. Need a screen capture tool for web articles? You can do that too. (There’s a bunch of other features including a mobile app and a search feature.) My favorite part is creating to-do lists and individual tasks that can be sent to my Outlook Tasks. Pages can be emailed through Outlook, too. Another thing to love – easy to learn. Go through the short tutorial and you’re good to go.
  • For those who want to go whole hog, there’s a bunch of project management software out there, with prices ranging from free to thousands of $$. Let me warn you, though. Unless you’re already familiar with project management software, you might find a steep learning curve. And unless you’re working in a group, this might be way more than you need.

Regardless of how you choose to manage all of the bits and pieces of info you’ll be acquiring during your campaign, it has to be in sync with your own needs and way of organization. Otherwise, you’ll be fighting your own system and what’s the sense of that? Create a method you can easily keep up to date and where you can find what you need in order to market your business. It shouldn’t be difficult. And it might actually be enjoyable!