One of the biggest barriers for small businesses embarking on social media marketing is the amount of time that it can take. It can be a struggle to keep the amount of time you spend on it down whilst still achieving results.
Here’s my tips on managing your social media productively and effectively and seven social media productivity techniques I use on a daily basis to keep me focussed.
Choose your networks
A lot of businesses make the mistake of trying to manage too many networks at once. If you really want to succeed choose the networks that you know your customers and potential customers are on and concentrate your time on those.
Set aside some time to search for your existing customers online and see what networks they frequent. Once you’ve done this make a list of customers you would like to attract and do the same.
Use search tools on Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin to find out who is talking about topics related to your industry or your customers, are these people potential customers or people who might influence potential customers?
One of the reasons businesses give up on social media is that they aren’t seeing return on their time investment. The only way to measure the ROI is to set yourself goals, if you put together a strategy that will help you achieve these goals you will spend less time wondering what to post and you will value the time you spend on your marketing more.
7 Timesaving Techniques I Use Every Day
1. Content plan
I cannot stress enough how much time a content plan can save you on social media. I have always found that I waste the most time when I haven’t planned in advance. I will sit in front of my computer staring at Facebook or Twitter trying to decide what to post.
The first content schedule I created was for Twitter, I started by choosing times during the day that I wanted to schedule tweets for. I then filled these time slots with the different types of content I wanted to share. This content ranges from ‘blog post’, ‘curated link’ to a tweet promoting my newsletter. My first Twitter schedule was a word document now it lives in Evernote and I would be lost without it.
I now have a far more comprehensive content schedule. I set themes for my content and plan blog posts, videos and social media posts around it. This helps me brainstorm ideas in advance, research more fully and even get posts written before my deadlines. As a result I’m managing time better and producing better content.
2. Dedicated social media time
Social media shouldn’t be something you just slot in when you have time. If you are committing to using social media for your business you need to set aside time to do it. It needs to become part of your daily routine.
I spend an hour every morning reading industry news, curating content and scheduling posts for the day. I also set aside time during the week for blogging and once a month for video production. The rest of my week is spent working for clients, training and preparing courses.
The result is that although I’m always under time pressure I know how much time I have to fulfil tasks and I rarely over run my social media schedule.
Hootsuite has become the most important app in my toolbox. It allows me to manage multiple Twitter accounts, keep on top of my Twitter searches and lists, schedule posts and shorten links so that I can measure performance.
The result is a massive time saving. I don’t need to use multiple tools for each of these functions as I once did, I don’t need to log in and out of Twitter accounts and I can view everything I need from one dashboard on my browser.
I use Feedly as my daily newspaper. It brings together all my Google alerts and all the latest articles from the blogs I read.
The first thing I do every morning is sit down with my iPad and my breakfast and read the news. This helps me keep up with what is happening in the social media world and it helps me find content to curate on my social media channels.
If I find something I think is worth sharing I click ‘save for later’ and pick it up later when I log in to Feedly on my computer.
5. Written Kitten
One of my key procrastination black holes happens when I’m blogging. I seem to be very easy to distract when I’m writing. For some reason the promise of a fresh cat picture every time I write 100 words does seem to help. Every blog post or course I write now goes through Written Kitten first.
6. The Big Switch Off
We are surrounded by distractions, our phones send us push notifications, our laptops tell us when we have email. To avoid this constant flow of distraction I just switch off. I check my email at allocated times during the day and I keep my phone with it’s push notifications out of site whilst I’m working. I even switch my phone off when I’m in the middle of something that requires my complete attention.
A tool I rediscovered recently is ‘Strict Workflow‘, I use it when I’m unable to exert self control. It’s a Chrome browser extension that blocks me from Facebook and Twitter for 25 minutes at a time allowing me only 5 minutes in between sessions. I have this running as I type this post and it’s working well at keeping me focussed.
It’s really important to take breaks during the day and I find the best time to have those breaks is between projects. As my job is so varied I need to reset my brain between tasks. I reward myself with a short break when a job is completed giving my brain time to wind down and wind back up to the next job in hand. I also try to take a walk every lunchtime as I find this allows my mind to wander free. I often have my best ideas whilst I’m on these walks.
I still have work to do, I haven’t yet mastered the perfect to do list although I think Trello might be the one. By putting these seven tools and techniques in place I have saved countless hours, days and even weeks on social media marketing and I see better ROI as a result.
Do you have any productivity tips for using social media? I’d love to hear them.
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