The power of Social Media is no secret
As business owners we can all appreciate the benefits social media offers us. Social media provides us with direct access to chat to and listen to our customers, to get our brand names out there and to create leads which hopefully later result in sales, bookings or new clients.
And for most of us, our target market is right there, actively online sharing their personal and professional lives with friends and business connections dotted across the globe. The power of social media is phenomenal. There’s over 3.03 billion active users of social media worldwide (of the 7.6 billion worldwide population) Brandwatch 2 April 2018. That’s huge and very powerful. And we can all tap into this to promote our businesses.
Feeling overwhelmed by social media?
At the same time the world of social media can be incredibly overwhelming. I’m a trained Social Media Manager as well as a Marketer and I’m certainly not immune to this feeling of social media overwhelm. We have enough to juggle in our lives without spending hours scrolling through endless posts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, sourcing content which our audiences will think is the best thing they’ve ever seen and will want to share with everyone they know. Then there’s the creation of content, remembering to take photos at every opportune moment, thinking how we can tell our story to help our readers connect with us, including hashtags, mentioning influencers……yes the list goes on.
Do we have to do all of this?
Well the short answer is no. Big brands employ full time social media teams to manage their channels, to create fun and meaningful content and to listen to / manage customer service queries. As a small or medium sized business you have to work smartly and do what you can to build your brand and reach your customers effectively. Here’s a few tips to help.
8 tips to save you time & beat social media overwhelm
1. Focus. Choose your social media channels carefully. If you run a small business, don’t try to be on every channel. You can’t be everywhere. Choose one or two channels where your target audience hang out and manage these channels well. A business to business (B2B) brand might choose LinkedIn and Twitter where professionals and other businesses are active. A travel agent might select Instagram and Facebook, more visual platforms where they can inspire travellers. A retailer might select Instagram and Pinterest were they can showcase their products and generate sales.
2. Have a plan. Plan what you are going to do and when you are going to do it. I used to sit down on a Monday morning and think what am I going to post on my own profiles this week. Now I forward plan. My plan firstly maps out special days or events coming up, whether that be an event I’m attending which will be interesting to my audience or special days for the month, e.g. International Womens Day, Mental Health Awareness Week etc.
Everything I chat about on social media then fits into about 6 or 7 topics, so I manage my plan in the same way. These topics sit at the top of my plan and I fill in content and ideas that fit each one, attempting to work one month in advance as a minimum.
I do make sure to leave plenty of room in the plan for adhoc and realtime posting too, as this is what makes a social media profile truly authentic.
3. Employ a strategic approach to the sourcing of curated content. Think about where you are going to find relevant content on a regular basis and where you can let the content come to you. Avoid social media overwhelm by selecting a maximum of 3 sources. Here’s how I do it for clients and my own purposes:
· Twitter: On Twitter mobile I bookmark interesting content for later use. You can’t currently bookmark on the desktop version of Twitter, but you can access the mobile version on desktop at https://mobile.twitter.com/i/bookmarks.
· Feedly: This news aggregator allows you to track content from your favourite sources, all in one place.
· Google alerts: Allows you to monitor the web for interesting articles on specific topic areas. I set my alerts to receive content no more than once a day and for some once a week, otherwise email overwhelm takes over!
I save all interesting articles into Pocket for when I’m ready to use or schedule them.
4. Bulk produce content. Just like when we learn the skills of batch cooking when we’re weaning our babies, producing content in batches ensures it is quick and easy. If your plan is tight, you will know exactly what content you need to produce each month. Set aside some time to produce it and do it all in one go.
5. Schedule content in bulk. An intense session of scheduling every month will have the skeleton of your social media posts ready to go. You then just need to hang the real time posting around it. I use a mix of Social Jukebox, Hootsuite and Buffer for scheduling, although I schedule directly within Facebook.
6. Set aside time for social media. Allocate a set amount of time you are willing to devote to social media per day and per week and don’t do more. You might allocate yourself 15 minutes per day for engagement: liking posts/tweets, commenting etc. Weekly you will then need to allocate a number of hours per platform to generate realtime posts/tweets, to do stories or live sessions.
7. Ask for help. Outsource to a Social Media Manager, but do keep your own hand in somewhere in the background. Your profiles will be more authentic with your personal touch and direction.
8. Take a break. Whilst it’s advantageous to be on social media as a business, if you miss a few days here and there, that is most definitely ok. Take some time frequently for a digital detox.
Farewell social media overwhelm. Social media needs to be fun and to add value to your business and your personal life. You need to enjoy it!