This blog post was originally called: “How to manage your social media profiles in less than 2 hours a week.” And then I thought, hmmmm – cutting down on time spent on social media is one thing but cutting down on time AND putting out relevant and targeted messages is another. No point in posting content that doesn’t increase engagement, solidify your brand and ultimately grow your business!
So, this post is now geared towards anyone who has found themselves spending hours trawling the Internet trying to find content to share for their social media profiles and coming up with nudda. We have all been there, right? Browsing through endless pages, or simply staring at the screen wondering what on earth to post. This is also for those of you that post simply to post – but without knowing why or how your posts are going to help you expand your business. This is also for those of you who feel a cold sweat coming on when glancing at your watch – wondering when you are ever going to be able to finish your to-do list, never mind finding time for social media.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone.
We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t need to be this way. You can get a grip of your social media profiles, limit the time spent on them and grow your business at the same time.
Keen to find out how?
No. 1 Start at the beginning
In order to achieve your ideal social media presence, you need to take a step back, assess your goals and identify exactly how you wish to achieve them. Ask yourself a bunch of questions.
- Who is my ideal client? Be as specific as possible. The more targeted you are, the more targeted your messages will be.
- What are their needs and wants?
- What do my ideal clients really struggle with?
- How can I genuinely help my clients / potential clients through what I post on social media?
- How can I add value to the messages / posts that I send out?
- What do I want to get out from social media? Again, be specific. Saying you want leads is easy. What type of leads? How many leads? Which services do you want leads for?
- Who are my competitors and what are they doing on social media? Learning from your competition will give you an insight into what works, doesn’t work and more than likely SAVE YOU TIME!
- Where do my ideal clients hang out online. Are there any forums, pages, groups or online communities that they gravitate towards?
Now, take a pen and paper, open MS Word, use a voice recorder – whatever works for you, and answer those questions! This upfront time working out what you want to achieve and what your clients need will help you down the line.
No. 2 Plan
This is a biggie. Everything in life starts with a plan. Plan first. Do second.
The problem is that when it comes to social media, most people DO first without any planning and then wonder why it doesn’t work. If you’re lucky, sometimes a flash of brilliance will save the content generation day, but most of the time real life kicks in and finding awe-inspiring content is a drag.
And you are half-way there. You have already answered all the questions and will have a feel for what your goals are. Next, you have to start putting company content pillars in place to populate your profiles.
Err… content pillars? Say what?
Basically, content pillars are broad themes of your business used to create divisions for your content. These could include services you offer or ideas your business might represent. Generally your ideal balance would be to educate, engage and advertise.
Take a finished aspect of a service and break it up into little pieces of content to fuel your social media posts. Content shouldn’t be one chunk of information loaded into two posts per day and blasted at anyone willing to read them on the receiving end. It should be carefully constructed and allocated into bite-sized pieces to make it less overwhelming to your followers. Your audience are people after all.
Setting up content pillars is an easy way to banish the I-have-zero-clue-what-to-post-today syndrome.
Let’s take a hair salon as an example – broad content pillars for them could be HAIR (obviously), NAILS, BEAUTY and FASHION. Now you can start planning and creating content out of these broad categories. You might decide to do a specific content pillar a day, or you might decide to dedicate a day of the week to “Did you know” or “Tip of the day” posts – it doesn’t matter how you did it, as long as you put a plan in place – when this is done, the overwhelm and time-wastage is greatly diminished.
No. 3. Use tools to help you find content
So you know what you want to do, you have your broad topics – what’s next? Now you need to create your own content as well as share content. There are plenty of free tools out there to help you find your ideal content or even inspiration for creating your own content. One of my favourites is Google Alerts.
Why do I love it? Because it’s super easy to use! It works on a system of keywords. All I have to do is type in a topic of interest and it sends emails about new and relevant articles in my selection. Say for instance I’ve punched in “Facebook marketing”. Any time an article with those keywords in it is posted online, Google Alerts let’s me know about it.
What’s even better is that it send emails on a daily basis so it keeps my content fresh and ahead of everyone else. It’s a great way to fill your niche content without wasting your time searching for content manually. It does tend to overcrowd your inbox so be sure to set up a separate folder to manage your alerts properly.
Next in line after Google Alerts is the ever popular hashtag. Ever wondered what the point of a hashtag is? Now’s your time to find out and make the most of them! We all know that Twitter made the hashtag famous, but now the wonders of tags can be used on Facebook and Instagram too.
Using hashtags enables anyone to view your post by just clicking on the hashtag you’ve included in your post. #ilovehashtags is an example. Anyone with the same hashtag will also fall under the same sphere, increasing your exposure times infinity. So, when looking for content, you can use hashtags related to find information on this topic. So if you are wanting to find tips for small businesses, then enter #smallbiztips and see what comes up.
There a STACK of other tools out there – you will have to get a feel for what works for you at the end of the day!
No. 4 Re-use / Re-purpose content
This is probably my favourite tip in this article. It is so easy to implement and what a difference it can make to your time. Many people use one article they have written and then post this once across their different platforms. Done and Dusted. This is a sad waste. You’ve gone through the effort of writing a blog, so you owe it to yourself and your clients to give that article the most exposure possible. One blog post can generate a good 4-5 Tweets, a couple of Facebook posts and perhaps a few LinkedIn and Google+ posts. Wow, suddenly you are saving time because you don’t need to come up with so many tweets and posts to share, you can find the tweets and posts within your article. Let’s look at this blog as a case in point- each step could be a separate tweet or post, with each having a nicely designed image (more on how to do this later). In doing this, you are also sending people to your website which is always a good thing.
And then we come to re-using old content. Why not? If an old blog post is still valid, there is no reason why you can’t continue to refer people it.
No. 5 Schedule
Okay, so you’ve found awesome content worth sharing and you have written a killer blog post or two but you don’t want to be a slave to your device, having to manually sit and post content continuously.
Fear not! Once again The Boss, that is the Internet, presents us with some amazing social media management tools to make your content scheduling life easier.
Hootsuite is the most widely known scheduling tool and the free version will probably do the job for most people
It allows you to manage multiple social media accounts from one location. All you have to do is pre-schedule your content into status updates in one go and you’re done! You also have the option of manually inserting new posts as you go along if you wish. What’s great is that you’re able to track your amount of followers, likes, and activities happening on each account. It really enables you to streamline your efficiently accounts.
There is another scheduling tool that has me excited called Oktopost. Although more expensive, the reason why I’m so excited about it is because, as opposed to standard scheduling of content across platforms, it allows you to set up targeted social media campaigns. As we mentioned in the beginning your social media plan needs to have a purpose – you need an end goal in mind. With Oktopost, you can set up and monitor against different campaigns.
No. 6 Keep it interesting
When we communicate on social media, we are always looking for an increase in engagement. How do we do this. Well, we need to generate content that actually means something. If we provide information of real value to our audience, they will stick around. And when putting this content out there, try and make it visual. Visual content generates more engagement and shares than plain text. This is a pretty obvious fact as human beings thrive on visual interpretations.
Would you rather read an Excel spreadsheet of data or see it up on a colourful pie chart?
The fast increase in popularity of Pinterest and Instagram says it all. This is also why Twitter introduced images and why Facebook now prioritizes images over text based posts.
So, if you want your content to reach more people, then you need to start using images. Once again, you have free tools on hand like Canva. I heart Canva! It’s such a simple way to create really great images in a flash (even for the not so technologically inclined peeps).
So the question still remains: Is it really possible to develop a decent social media presence in the time it would take you to watch a Woody Allen art house film? YES, yes it is!