Congratulations! You’ve successfully set up social media accounts for your business and are gaining followers and increasing engagement daily. Your hard work is paying off, but do you feel like social media management is becoming a full-time job, on top of running your small business? With the numerous platforms available, all which have different functionalities and requirements – cue Twitter’s 140 character limit for tweets – it can be a cumbersome undertaking. You may find that you spend a shocking amount of time on this one piece of your business. If you’re nodding your head in agreement, then keep reading!
As social media platforms continue to evolve with new features and capabilities, it is important to have a system in place to manage all of your profiles and streamline your efforts. With a few adjustments and a little pre-planning, you can shave hours off of your social media management per week and gain back time for other areas of your business.
Map out your goals
It sounds elementary, but start at the beginning. It’s better to build a house when you have an architectural plan to guide you than without, so why venture into social media without a blueprint? Determine what your goals are for social media. Do you want to increase followers? Increase engagement? Convert 10% of followers to consumers? Whatever the metrics are, make sure you clearly define them and keep them at the forefront of your efforts. SMART goals provide a great framework for ensuring your actions are tied to your larger business objectives and a specific timeline.
Choose Quality over Quantity
You may be eager to have a social presence on every platform available, and while this is a noble idea, practically speaking it isn’t the best use of your resources. Dig into your analytical resources – Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics or the Insights Tab in Facebook – to see how your brand resonates with its audience. Some platforms are better for certain industries, so knowing where to invest your time is important. It’s better to have a concentrated and focused effort on fewer platforms than a diluted strategy across all of them. Do your research and commit to providing quality content to those chosen social platforms.
Start a Content Pipeline and an Editorial Calendar
This is possibly the most important piece to save your time and your sanity. Brainstorm and document what types of content and topics are important to your audience. Are there seasonal themes that matter to them? Is the news highlighting specific topics that are relevant to your industry? Crafting client-focused posts and speaking to issues they care about will drive engagement more than promotional ads about your products or services.
Your pipeline doesn’t need a fancy format in order to be effective. Create a running list of all the subjects you want to post about, so you have everything in one place whenever you need content ideas. Google Docs, Excel, and OneNote are great platforms to collecting your concepts and can be shared easily amongst a team. Having a robust content pipeline will save you tons of time when you’re ready to start social sharing.
image via Content Tools
Once your pipeline has 50+ ideas, begin populating your editorial calendar. An editorial calendar helps you map out what content is being posted where, at what time, and for what brand or sub-brand, if applicable. It offers a helpful visual of your social schedule for the week, month, quarter or year. Start by filling out one month and see how this organization tactic saves you time. When you know a blog post is due in two weeks, you can begin well in advance and eliminate deadline stress.
image via andrewmccarthy.com
An editorial calendar also provides a historical roadmap of what topics you have covered in the past, and can inform which topics you need to discuss or are worth revisiting in a different light. Lastly, the editorial calendar shows the frequency at which you’re posting to specific platforms and gives you a holistic view of your presence across all of your social profiles. Having these guides in hand removes any uncertainty about upcoming content, so you can move directly into action.
Schedule Social Media Time
Instead of posting whenever you have five free minutes, block off one hour twice a week, or whatever seems appropriate for your business, to schedule your daily social posts. This is method that will save you time and give you a better understanding of what kinds of content are being represented each day and week. By concentrating your efforts into manageable blocks of time, it will eliminate the one-off posts that when tallied, end up draining hours from your week. Schedule recurring meetings, either weekly or biweekly, on your calendar and respect them. Your overall agenda will thank you as you suddenly find hours of unclaimed time with this little trick.
The initial investment of time to set goals, create a pipeline, and establish a calendar will ultimately save you countless hours in the long run because once these systems are in place, you need only to revisit them every so often instead of multiple times a day. By utilizing these tools, you’ll quickly notice a significant difference in how you use your time week-to-week and month-to-month. Do you have social media management tips? We’d love to hear them, so comment below and share with the community!
About the Author: Julie Chomiak is the Content Marketing Specialist for Webs and Pagemodo. When she’s not scouring the web for small business trends, Julie loves traveling, interior design, and animals of all kinds. Get more from Julie on the Webs Blog and the Pagemodo blog.