Like everything else, if you want to manage your time, get a process. This is especially true for social media management where you can too easily be pulled into the rabbit hole.
So, how much time should you be spending on social media for your business?
That’s a big question and obviously it depends on many factors like the size of your team, your goals and your budget. That aside, there are some fundamentals that will work for every occasion. So here is our advice along with some of the tools you can use to manage your time better when it comes to social media.
The Cube Method©
Before you get started, it’s important to prioritise the social networks that are going to have the biggest impact. Your time is precious so you don’t want to waste it on a platform where your target audience aren’t active. The Cube Method© slides below will help you to focus on social media actions for the right reasons.
When you’re clear on your goals, who your audience are and where they spend their time when they’re online, you can start to plan your social media management. To help you, here are our Goal Setting and Customer Persona Planning worksheets:
Now we’re clear on the why and the who, let’s work on the how.
Batching the time you spend on social media is vital to any social media manager. Scheduling helps you to plan and set all your posts at the beginning of the week so that you are still visible when time for live interaction is tight.
Before you get going with the right scheduler, you need to know what you plan to share. This can be your own content, curated content or a combination of the two. One of the tools we use to manage this is Feedly:
Feedly is an RSS reader where you select the publications you want read and all the new articles are pulled in to one interface. They have great desktop, mobile and tablet apps so you can easily keep up on relevant industry news wherever you are. You can also add your own website feeds so that all your shareable content is in the same place too.
When you find an article that you think your audience would value, just click on the headline to visit the site. If you’re using Firefox or Chrome you will be able to use their extensions to schedule with one click (no copying and pasting links!).
You can see how easy the Chrome / Firefox extensions make it for you to schedule. All you need to do is click, select the social accounts you want to share to, compose your message and pick a scheduling option.
The scheduler we use is Buffer but Hootsuite and SproutSocial also use similar extensions so that you can share from any page on the internet with one click.
Buffer only schedules where Hootsuite and SproutSocial are also listening tools. One of the reasons we use Buffer is that it does this one thing very well. We can easily see what has been most popular on any platform and with one click reschedule to share at a different time to a different part of our audience.
Pictures & Video
Images and videos go a long way to catching your audience’s attention through the noise of their newsfeed. Your scheduler should pick images available on the pages your sharing but if there are no image options, you might want to add your own.
Tools like Librestock which let you search the web for copyright free images or you could check out Death To The Stock Photo for both free and premium photography.
If you want to give creating your own a go, Canva and PicMonkey are great freemium tools.
For video Adobe Spark Video is a wonderful tool which has free stock images and music you can use to create your video clip. They also have a mobile app which makes creating things on the go incredibly easy.
If you want to know more about creating video, audio and written content for your business you should check out our online course
Close the loop
If you’re scheduling at the beginning of the week, it’s important that you review the results at the end. Nothing too analytical, just check your scheduler and see which updates had the most interactions, clicks and reshares. Use that information to inform the type of content and posting times you choose for your next week’s worth of posts.
As a social media manager it’s important to do a deep dive into what’s working every month / quarter but week to week it’s about the incremental improvements.
Don’t forget to listen
Another important part of managing your social media presence is listening to the audience you’re trying to reach. Using Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, you can set up columns for twitter so that you can follow the relevant hashtags for your industry. Create some twitter lists of key influencers and journalists so that you never miss an opportunity.
Manage your listening and live interactions by putting 15 minute time slots in your calendar a couple of times a week. You can build it up to more when you have the resource but to begin with 2 x 15 minute ‘meetings’ is a great start.
During that time you should focus on the lists / hashtags that represent your community best. While you’re listening to their tweets to find out what their priorities are, you can stay visible to them by liking and retweeting them where appropriate. If you have a few tweets you want to RT you could use scheduling to space them apart. Don’t space them too much as it should feel like a natural twitter interaction.
To recap, here are the simple steps you can take to manage your social media presence without it managing you:
- Use an RSS reader like Feedly to curate content you want to share on social media
- Batch create any graphics, videos and articles at the beginning of each month using Canva, PicMonkey and Adobe Spark
- Schedule your shares at the beginning of each week using a browser extension for schedulers like Buffer, Hootsuite or SproutSocial
- Book regular time in your calendar for live interactions and listening!
- Review the stats from your shares to see what has been successful. Reshare posts you think have more life in them at different times to learn more about your followers