Everywhere you look there are blog posts telling you that you should have a strong social media presence for your business. The tricky thing is figuring out exactly how to do that without it taking over your life.
The holidays are coming and you are about to have even more demands on your precious time. Here are some tips to keep things under control.
Five Steps to Spending Less Time With Social Media Marketing
1. Make a Plan
Here is my first bit of advice: Make a plan! Without a plan, social media marketing will quickly become your full time job. Take a few moments to answer the questions below to set a solid foundation for your marketing plan and make your life easier!
What is your goal with social media marketing?
This may seem obvious, but it’s a good thing to consider. What do you want your primary focus to be? Getting more clients and/or gaining more exposure for your products? Making connections to grow your business and developing relationships with existing clients and customers? Or maybe you just want to get your name out into the world. Most likely you want ALL of these things, but it’s important to understand how you prioritize those goals to make sure that your marketing plan reflects that. This will be helpful to refer to later.
How often do you want posts to go out?
This can (and probably should) vary depending on which social media site you are using. In my opinion, you can maintain a great social media presence by posting as little as three times a week on Facebook and five times a week on Twitter. Posting frequency and vary depending on what your goals are and how much you want to dedicate to the process.
What types of posts do you want to send?
Make a list of all the different types of posts you want to send out, then take a look at the goals that you wrote down. If you decided that your primary focus is to form a relationship with people, you want to have more posts that talk about the people behind the business and demonstrate a personal side. If you decided to focus on getting more clients or selling more products, you will need to have more posts directed toward selling. If you just want to get your name out, it’s good to have general posts about your company with what it is, what it does and your philosophy without trying to sell them anything. No matter what your primary focus is, it is good to have a balance between the different types of posts.
Are there types of posts that you want to go out weekly or daily?
Consistency is important in social media marketing. Having a particular type of post that goes out on the same day every week can have a lot of benefits. Your followers begins to watch for it – even look forward to it! It’s easier for you and easier for your followers.
2. Create a Calendar
Make a calendar of an entire month. In this case you will want it to extend past the holidays to save you from having to make your next calendar on Christmas. Personally, I use a piece of paper and a marker to make mine. Or you can open a calendar template on Microsoft Word (in Word, click “new” on the main menu to get to the list of templates).
Depending on your personal preference, you may want to create a separate calendar for each social media site. Once you have your calendar made, start with writing down any holidays or important events that you consider relevant. It’s fun to create special posts to go out on holidays, even if it’s just one line. Include any events in your own business like new products or services being released, sales, blog posts going out, webinars, etc. If you have other events coming up that need promotion ahead of time, write those out too.
Then lay out the rest of your posts. Write down everything that you are going to send out word for word, including hashtags, tags, and a note at the bottom if any picture is going to be attached. Creating all of your content for the whole month at one time allows you to get a clear picture of what you’re sending out, if it is spaced well, and if you have a balanced approach in what you are sending out, bringing a cohesive feel to your social media presence. When your calendar is finished, every post that you are going to send out for the entire month will be laid out, completely ready to go.
3. Set Up Automation
If you are not familiar with Hootsuite yet, prepare to let out a sigh of relief. Your social media life is about to get a whole lot easier. Hootsuite is an automation service where you can put all of your posts in and it sends them out for you. And it’s free, so try it out! Take a few minutes to start a Hootsuite account and connect any social media accounts you want to post on. Once you’re set up, take the calendar you just created and put the WHOLE MONTH into Hootsuite. It takes less than an hour to do this and it will save you so much time! Not only are you saving yourself from the time it takes out of your day to post manually, but also the time that you inevitably spend scanning through posts every time you open Facebook or Twitter. Let Hootsuite take over!
4. Schedule Social Media Time Slots
As a Social Media Manager, this tip has become extremely important to my sanity. Even if you disregard steps 1-3, try this one! It makes every aspect of my working day easier and helps me balance the rest of my life.
It’s simple: schedule your time!
I know the life of an entrepreneur. Here is how the typical work day goes: You get your coffee, sit down with your computer that has a million tabs open, and start with email and social media. HOURS later – after spending way more time than you intended to – they move on to the “first priority tasks” that have been bouncing around in your head since yesterday’s workday ended. As soon as you get overwhelmed or unmotivated you open up social media again to browse. Time passes, then you realization that you have spent WAY too much time scrolling through tweets causes even more anxiety and is made up for by long hours late into the night.
Does this sound familiar? Try making a schedule! It can be as simple as jotting down a quick timeframe on the notebook beside your computer. While I think that a work schedule is handy to manage all elements of your business, I find it particularly important for social media.
First consider how much of your day you want to spend on social media marketing. I find that it helps to think about it with the bigger picture. Consider how many hours you want to work in a week and what elements of your business you need to deal with (email, social media, education, etc.). Then, with that in mind, schedule your time slots for social media marketing. For example, I have two hours scheduled for social media a day: one first thing in the morning and one at the end of my day. In that hour I check notifications, respond, and interact with other people by finding things to share. On Fridays I schedule a little extra time at the end of the day to check in with the upcoming week and make sure nothing has changed and there are no posts I need to add.
Stick to the schedule completely for a day, no exceptions. If you need to, set a timer for yourself to make sure that you get off at the end of the allotted time. Then if you feel like your schedule needs adjustments, change your plan for the next day. It will take some practice and discipline to make a schedule like this work for you so don’t give up! If you feel particularly tempted to jump on social media every change you get, you can even turn your phone notifications off. The world won’t fall apart if you do it tomorrow instead!
There will probably be some small adjustments when you try this process for the next month. You will have to find out what works best for you and your business. These are great ways to cut back on your stress and save you some time! By implementing these tips, you will find that you work more efficiently in the time that you do spend because you are focused on one thing at a time. Good luck planning!
Do you have any time management tips that work well for you? Tell us in the comments below!
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