At a recent social media workshop a participant asked me to reveal my social media routine – how I track, converse, communicate and otherwise curate all my various social media activities. I paused to think about it for a while because I never really considered what I do a routine, but it occurred to me that, in fact, I do have a systematic approach to social media. (No surprise really, I’m a systems thinker and I just do it habitually – ask my wife, I have a system for making the bed and loading the dishwasher.)

I do think that participating fully in social media as a business and marketing strategy requires discipline, automation routines and a daily commitment. Now, you’ve got to balance that with the fact that much of your activity is about building long-term momentum and deeper networks and that doesn’t always make the cash register ring today. So, some of what I do won’t be right for all, but I thought I would share my systematic approach in the hopes this may reveal some tips that make your experience more fruitful. (I won’t take the space in this post to explain what all of the tools are that I mention, I’ve probably written about most, so try my search box above.)


  • Check twitter via Tweetdeck – preset searches for @ducttape, john jantsch, and duct tape marketing – respond as I see fit, follow some @replies that seem appropriate.
  • Scan mybloglog – I obsess over traffic, but this reveals trending links and stumble surges in real time so I can react if appropriate.
  • Respond to comments on my blog

  • Write a blog post – RSS subs get it, twitter tools sends to twitter, Facebook gets it, FriendFeed updates
  • Scan twitter followers for relevant conversations to join
  • Scan Google Reader subscriptions to read and stimulate ideas
  • Share Google Reader favs – these publish to Facebook and you can subscribe
  • FleckTweet any blog pages from my subscriptions that I love – this goes to twitter
  • Bookmark any blog pages from my subscriptions that I love – delicious using Firefox plugin for right click posting – this goes to FriendFeed
  • Stumble any blog pages from my subscriptions that I love – this goes to Facebook and FriendFeed
  • Scan Google Alerts for my name, brand and products – in Google Reader as RSS feed – respond as appropriate
  • Add comments to blogs as appropriate – mostly response types – Google Reader and BackType
    Weekly (end)

  • Scan LinkedIn Questions from my network and respond when appropriate
  • Scan delicious, digg and mixx popular and select bookmarks for content ideas and trending topics
  • Consciously add comments to conversations I want to join – hot topic focused
  • Join one twitter hot trend conversation if appropriate – shows these in real time

  • Check MrTweet for new twitter follow recommendations
  • Scan Amazon’s upcoming and new releases for authors to interview on podcast (the big names seem more accessible with a book release coming!)
  • Post a press release with social media links to PitchEngine or PRWeb (this changes depending on what’s going on, but at least monthly.)
  • Strategize on ways to repurpose and repackage any and all of this in ways that make it more accessible to another audience.

For some this just seems crazy – others will notice some obvious glaring holes in this system – the point though is the system approach. Set your system up and work it, day in and day out, whatever that means for you, and then you will start to understand the vital role that social media can come to play in your overall marketing strategy.

This is my way and one way only – please share your tips for managing the beast!

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Wow John, I don’t know whether or not to be impressed or frightened by your efficiency. Do you care to come over and load our dishwasher?

    Joking aside, this is tremendously useful. I feel positively random and haphazard in my social networking efforts, and know that as things get busier with the book launch, this will not scale.

    Thanks for taking the time to document this.


  • Everyone has a routine in doing almost anything. It’s human nature to be repetitive. That’s why OCD exists. That can be applied to networking as well. Repetition and daily routines can keep marketing fresh and consistent.

  • John Jantsch

    @Pam – yes, I’m certain I’ve frightened the children!

  • Very good article John. Good inspiration for all social media junkies out there…including me 😉

  • Thanks for this useful outline of your process, John.
    Makes sense (and sounds familiar) but when do you work on the rest of your business??

  • Thanks for sharing your methodical approach – inspiring!

    One question, do you have any way to measure which of these approaches is most beneficial, ie. gets your message out the furthest. I’m trying to figure out how to handle web measurement in a web 2.0 world. Which channels deserve most attention?

  • Excellent. It is always interesting to see different methods of managing this stuff. Thanks for sharing!

  • Like Sudoko, I want to figure out how to make this all work. How to get the information and connection I need as a business, sifting it out of the updating that is reflective of flesh and blood people and the ‘space junk’ that I see as OCD posting.

    A plan for checking and make sure that I keep my contribution to ‘flesh & blood updating’ and ‘space junk’ to a minimum

  • Duct Tape is simply one of the best marketing blogs for small business! I’ve been on a Twitter diet because other business matters and writing have a lock on my time. I haven’t emailed MrTweet in weeks. I’ve let LinkedIn lie fallow and have a bare Wall on Facebook. But now you’ve written an excellent road map for returning to my travels along the social networking highways. Thank you!

  • Thank you for opening your toolbox, John – I asked this question in one of your blog comment sections the other day. I have been exploring Facebook and Twitter and organizing a plan of attack for keeping them fresh using RSS feeds from my blog (or vice versa as appropriate). The only way I could find for keeping myself on task (I have a home office, so my schedule is “flexible”) was to set calendar prompts. Sometimes the only way I stay on it is by The Almighty Beep and Obtrusive Reminder Window.

    Thank you again for sharing your organized approach!

  • Marcel

    I can highly recommend ‘Brandseye’ for monitoring your online reputation, as a far more powerful & superior tool to Google Alerts. It really finds EVERYTHING and you can categorize your results. Plus, for $1 / month it’s cost effective. for more information.

    – Marcel
    (A Brandseye fan)

  • i was wonder why you are famous John , now i know .. because you active enough to do this ( daily , weekly and monthly ) so i will follow your steps and try to found time to do this ( and i will found it )

    thank you John to share this , i love this blog more and more .

  • John, what a great system. Thank you for sharing! As I move toward a more structured (efficient) workday/week schedule, you remind me that this type of system is critical to not getting lost in the sea of social media.

  • Great post and I couldn’t agree more – without some sort of structure Social Media can become completely consuming! (we’ve all been there right? Just one more tweet :P).

    Thanks for the kind words Marcel, always good to hear a happy user.


  • Sensible, practical, actionable, effective. Brilliant stuff, John – thanks so much for sharing.

  • What a list! Looks like Twitter is a big component of your social media marketing. I’m a fan of Alerts and RSS readers, but I’ve yet to really master tweeting to be effective… looks like I’ve got some work to do.

  • Thanks for sharing John. With so many elements to the SM mix it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Automation in places is essential.

    Plus, your daily/weekly/etc list is a useful way of breaking it down. I think I’ll adopt this approach from now on.

    I also find mindmaps handy for getting things in context, like a checklist, even if you don’t tackle all the tools/areas straight away.

  • I use a have always used a minmap and had daily, weekly, monthly activity list such as you do and just go through it. I leave Tweetdeck open unless I need to get something done, but while I am waiting on the phone, I scroll thru. What is neat about the mindmap is when I am reading something about a new tool(usually the DTM Blog), I just cut and paste into my mind map on my new tool list, so I don’t forget it. Case in point, Twitter hash Tags.

    Also, have been using WebNotes lately. Pretty cool function for collecting notes around the web. You highlight material and it makes a sticky note and remembers the url for it also. Nice tool for bloggers.

  • John, thanks for sharing. There’s nothing better than learning by example.

    I’d be very interested to know what other social media mavens are doing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, and which tools they use.

  • Great list. Thanks. Your steps are more robust than I need at this point, but I love how you’ve created mental categories that lead directly to immediate Next Actions. I can see myself spending less time deliberating about social media steps and more time thinking, writing, and deepening relationships.

  • John Jantsch

    @Janet – I love this thought in your comment

    “I can see myself spending less time deliberating about social media steps and more time thinking, writing, and deepening relationships.”

    that’s the value of systems – get the grunt work out of the way and you can actually focus on the reason for doing any of this.

  • John Jantsch

    @Dmitri – nice idea – perhaps I’ll pose that to a few.

  • John Jantsch

    @Marcel and @Tim – I’ll check Brandseye out

  • VBP

    You really stay super busy!


  • Can’t agree enough. Not everybody has time to hang out on the various networks all day and having a schedule at least get’s it in order. Thanks for sharing your techniques.

    One more, if you’re usually engaging a particular group of people you may notice a trend of when most of them are on-line or not. Sometimes it’s geographical and others it’s because of work/life balance. In any case, if you know when a certain person is usually on you can schedule around that time and be sure to be part of the conversation.

  • Thanks for this John. I’ve been struggling to keep up with all my accounts lately, and your post helped me realize that the biggest issue is that I’ve never setup a system to interact with all the channels I use on a haphazard basis. As I’ve been growing relationships in my business I’m using social media to branch out beyond what in-person networking can provide.

    Systems thinking lends itself nicely to GTD’s “next actions” and projects approaches as well — My big take-away from reading your system is to setup a new context to chip away at each day and doing at least three actions… be they blog posts, updates on Twitter or reviewing my groups on Facebook or LinkedIn. Thanks!

  • John Jantsch

    @Dave – the chipping away approach is so true for all the marketing we need to be doing. I also tell people to create an annual calender and give each month a marketing theme, like PR and focus that month on building the systems and tools you need to make your PR outreach more effective going forward.

  • New to tweekdeck – I didn’t know I could set up preset searches!! That’s so cool – thanks for the tip and making my life that much easier.

  • This is exactly what I needed. I’ve been blogging about being overwhelmed by new media, so a routine like yours is just the ticket.

  • Great post! I’ve been trying out apps to figure out how to be more efficient while social networking. It’s scary how much time flies by and then you wonder where did the day go! Thanks for sharing your routine John.

  • Great post! Even though this may seem like a lot of work, I like what you say at the end:

    Set up a system that works for you and work the system!

    I’m going to see what works for me and start to see how it goes.

  • John,
    Great post. Your post should help people manage the process and get them thinking about what matters most.

    Having a process is critical or you will drown in the social river. I have set up a number of automated scripts for listening. Another option is custom persistent search queries across multiple social platforms that act as alert mechanisms. (these can all be done with free tools) PING!

    Decide which eco-systems are of the most relevance and decide on a process for listening, response and interaction.

    Listening is the first step for brand reputation, marketing, topic convo discovery, connections,etc.

    Once you know how to efficiently listen it becomes infinitely easier to engage, start conversations and be responsive in a timely manner that does not suck your time.

    Some efficiency and listening details are outlined in a chapter in my book: Twitter as a Business Tool.


  • thanks for sharing! i really need to implement a system for social media as well. great inspiration to introduce this kind of discipline to all aspects of what we do.

  • Thanks for your thoughts about managing the social networking. Since my associates and I do this all day long for clients it really helps to get a larger picture view of how other people do it. Sure could use some kind of crazy social networking deck. :o)

  • I created a blog post similar to this a few months ago where I broke down which sites I use to market my real estate business and the frequency for each site. Without a clear direction, how can you be effective!

  • Thanks for this. I need to break my day down into steps like this or else I get lost too long on one task. Social media and reading blogs get me every time.

  • Your application and dedication is commendable. Sticking to the schedule is a must for long term success, and it is obvious you’ve made this part of your routine. thanks for showing the way, your efforts are an inspiration, John!

  • Thanks John. This is a timely post for me as I’ve been giving a social networking system a lot of thought. When I share about social networking with other north San Diego county business owners, often their first reaction is that they don’t have time. At least now I can give them an idea of how to start to manage it.

  • Jeremy LeRay

    Great post. It is good to see a system that incorporates so many of the tools available to social networks. Just starting out, so I learned some new things to try. Still working the 8-5, so time management is important. Thanks!

  • Thanks John. I have a tendency to resist the social media ‘work’ because I’m not really sure what should have priority – and it all seems rather overwhelming. But I will use your schedule/outline to build my own.

  • Ron

    That is very kind of you to share your process.

    How do you decide which things are working well and when to add a new technology?

  • Thats really impressive..I wish I can follow this routine.

  • Thanks, John, for the great detailed process. I’m wondering why you like mybloglog instead of Google Analytics? The photo/name logging is a great addition to your site, but are there other advantages I don’t know about?

  • John Jantsch

    @Julie – thanks, by the way you prompted this thread during my presentation in St Louis.

    I defiinately use Google Analytics but myblogglog gives me one click traffic, linking, clicking stats in real time for just my blog. It’s a great way to monitor during the day when I’m trying to pick up who might have linked to me or blogged about something I wrote in the moment – occasionally I see things much faster this way andd react.

  • John, EXCELLENT post, many lessons in it. I’ve devised a system similar (though less comprehensive than) yours – and as you say, “work it, day in and day out” (that bit’s the key, isn’t it?!)

    I also wrote about how I set up several social networking sites to integrate in a fashion that lets most of what I do on one gain leverage from others (like you do) – this post is a bit old, so other (better?) technology options may exist to achieve the ends.

    Integrating Your Social Networking

    Another one that may help optimize social networking is a detailed outline of how I manage Twitter in 10 minutes a day…

    Thanks again for a valuable and instructive guide, John. I appreciate it – a lot. 🙂

    All success

  • Great to pick up new pointers, and there are some very good ones here. Like life, it’s all about optimizing and making the most out of every day!

  • I find it interesting that both you and Chris Brogan place LinkedIn lower on the priority list that twitter. We’ve actually gotten more business through LinkedIn, although twitter can be more educational as well as a bigger waste of time.

  • I’m an artist using social media to build my business and after I read your post originally I wrote down my social media system and added my two cents here:

  • still struggling with a routine myself. both online and in work. last year was a great time of quick reacting. new home. new home. time for home and online routine. thanks for sharing your online routine!

  • This is a great workflow outline on how to handle social media. Most of the time for me I’m just randomly clicking about and doing different things. Firefox and it’s multi-tabs seems to encourage that. However, you make a great point that participating in social media as a business must require some sort of order and organization, lest you end up getting sucked into things and not accomplishing the other tasks necessary to running a business.

    I’ll be working on putting my own list of tasks together later this week. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Jane Curtis

    Thanks for the post, it’s eye-opening and so useful to see a detailed checklist like this.

    As a previous commenter Scott Fox said, I was also astounded at the number of tasks (and where you find the time to do them). I’m curious about the time roughly taken (or allocated) for each of these tasks… would you be willing to share this??

    and what you would rank as having the highest priority when you can’t round to doing everything…?

    Thanks again for such useful documentation,

  • Thanks John for sharing your experience with social networking sites. I’ve been somewhat of a social networking addict. I’ve also tried to avoid it. But … oops can’t. 😉

  • Almost everyone has a routine in doing almost everything, their daily routine works. The social networking sites have helped ppl to stay in contact.

    Someone does it too much and someone stays away from it.

  • C

    Thank you for posting this. I have been thinking about my own social marketing offerings, because I just started my own business (well, the economy really pushed me into it actually, haha). Articles like this really help me! I am bookmarking your page, so that I can start building my network of marketing mentors as I start this business endeavor! Thank you 🙂

  • Melinda Venable

    This is a great guide, John – thanks! One thing that caught my eye – you mentioned you write your blog post each day. Do you write it real-time for that day or do you have a few in advance reserve that you draw from and post? Also do you have an editorial calendar that you write by theme or do you write more spontaneously?

    I’m new to you blog and have joined your loyal reader ranks.

  • John,

    Great stuff. I shared it on my Blog at for others to read. I gave credit to you.

    -Nelson Bruton

  • Great guide! I’ve already started organizing my personal and professional social media efforts, but this really gives me something to build off of. Really enjoyed this!

  • This is great stuff, its always good to keep organized and check your social media, you never know when something important is going to happen

  • One of my clients is the publisher who lauch your book in Portugal. I read it first and I thought it was too good to be true. I read it again. It was even better. After the 3rd time I read it I start to recommend it to all my media training clients… as a system. Now, John, I just have to thank you, again, for your post and sharing. 🙂


  • John, Love that you recognize you have a system. Because of my purpose in social media I have a couple of things I add. One is groups – I have several groups set up in tweetdeck; in real life friends that I DM or @ with regularly, retweetables (like yourself) that I frequently find give content worth repeating, prospects – people that are strategic for me to be able to start a dialogue with, etc… I skim those early in the day and at the end of my work day and respond as appropriate.

    I also have groups in FB – same type of purpose. I spend about 60% or more of my social media time shining light on others (I’m a coach – I like to demonstrate that I’m good at it) so I do a lot of commenting, replying, sharing, retweeting etc… on FB and twitter.

    Without the group function in FB and tweetdeck my social media activities would eat up most of my day. I skim the posts in their entirety – and I mean SKIM – only once or twice a day.

    Thanks for sharing – so helpful to see how you are handling your blog and traffic. I’m not focused there as much as I need to be.


  • Great systems, John! I’m pretty green right now as I begin to navigate my way through twitter and social marketing portals to build and grow relationships, and I am learning a lot. My social media efforts and commentaries I’ve been reading focus on a national or even international playing field. Heck, I’ve gotten a lot of international followers on Twitter! I’d really like to learn some tips and tricks to build relationships that eventually help make the cash register ring with local clients, where I’ll be focusing my business development and marketing efforts. Any thoughts about that?

  • Hey John, I think you’re the most organised man I’ve ever come across!

  • Hey John, I think you are the most organised man I have ever come across!

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  • Great article John. I work on corporate social media campaigns on a daily basis and have never created a routine like this. I will begin creating my routine immediately.

    You would be a great contestant for one of those challenges to see if you can go with out the internet or cell phone for a week. ha ha.

  • Great article John. I work on corporate social media campaigns on a daily basis and have never created a routine like this. I will begin creating my routine immediately.

    You would be a great contestant for one of those challenges to see if you can go with out the internet or cell phone for a week. ha ha.

  • I’m glad this just got retweeted! Very useful – thank you

  • I'm glad this just got retweeted! Very useful – thank you

  • Great article again. Ever since I read the first article in your blog I have been looking forward to reading more and more of your articles. Thanks for sharing your methodical approach . I really appreciate it. Keep blogging.