Anyone running their own business will know there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. So how on earth do you factor in the time needed to have an effective and engaging presence on social media? Especially when we have already recommended that each week you spend:
- 3 hours a week on Facebook,
- 4 hours a week on Twitter,
- 4 hours a week on Instagram,
- 4 hours a week on Pinterest
- 4 hours a week on LinkedIn
for optimum results.
But let’s be realistic. We totally understand that social media management is only part of your working life and something you can only dedicate a certain amount of time to. And as a savvy business owner we know you’ll be looking for ways to ensure that social media management doesn’t take over your life.
Luckily there are lots of free tools available to help you manage your time effectively…along with our top hacks for Time Management SOS.
SOS! It’s taking me too long to write each post
When you first start out on social media it can take forever to craft one perfect post. But what does that mean if you’re planning to post between five and six times a day on Twitter for example? We get our students to take part in exercises like tweet bombs - essentially writing 10 tweets in 10 minutes. Remember that while you don’t want to put your business in jeopardy with a foolish tweet, as long as you stick within the parameters of what you want to say then you can’t really go wrong. The worst thing that can happen is no one engages with it.
SOS! It’s taking me ages to find relevant content to share
We recommend a combination of created, original content and curated content - articles, blogs etc. that you share from your accounts. Yet finding content that is relevant and value adding to your feed can take time. Lots of time. We’ll go into more detail on this in Week 9 with our Content Strategy 101 but there are lots of super useful ways to find great content… without spending hours trawling the internet. Sign up for Google Alerts with relevant keywords, use content discovery tools including Right Relevance, Scoop.it and Content Gems. We also recommend creating a Pocket account to store things you want to share at a later date.
Setting up Twitter lists is another great time-saver. If you've set up lists for each type of content relevant to your business you can monitor key influencers and republish something they have shared.
SOS! How can I find key influencers in under 10 minutes?
For topline influencers use tools like Right Relevance,Audiense, Klout and Buzzsumo. We go into more detail about these next week but basically they all have a free offering that allows you to find key influencers based on your key word searches. All that’s left for you to do then is to start engaging with them!
SOS! I don’t have time to be constantly posting on social media throughout the day
Perhaps the most useful tools for time management are the ones that allow you to schedule posts in advance. Here’s our pick of the best of the time management tools. None are better than another so it all comes down to personal preference. Here at Digital Mums HQ we are very divided on this and have Team Buffer Vs Team Hootsuite. Which one will you be?
- Lets you post to multiple platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, LinkedIn and G+)
- Simple and intuitive to use
- Integrates straight into your browser (if you have Chrome)
- Suggests best times for you to post your content
- Doesn't allow you to monitor your feeds - it's purely for scheduling
- Not as multifunctional as Hootsuite
- The more comprehensive tool of the three
- Allows you to monitor your platforms in detail
- Solid analytics built-in
- Can be difficult to get to grips with
- Not as good for scheduling as Buffer
- Not as simple or intuitive as Buffer or TweetDeck
- Easy and functional
- Allows you to follow specific keywords and hashtags relevant to your brand and community
- Easily lets you manage multiple Twitter accounts
- Only for Twitter
- IFTTT is both a website and a mobile app that automates everything from your favourite apps and websites to app-enabled accessories and smart devices
- You can create simple recipes that are stored, ie: ‘If I post something on Twitter’ THEN ‘share on Facebook’... meaning it’s pretty easy to use and saves time opening the Facebook app
- You can save things from Twitter into your Pocket which is helpful for your content curation
- Can only connect two services at a time
- It’s easy to double up on your posts unless you keep a record of what you’ve asked IFTTT to do
SOS! So how can I make all these tools work for me?
Once you've set up your time management tools, we advise the following breakdown of activity:
- Spend 30-45 minutes, two evenings a week, scheduling activity on one of the time management tools
- Spend 20 minutes each week tidying up your platforms - segmenting audiences, using lists and circles (if on G+)
- Spend 30 minutes each week making sure you are on top of your strategy, remind yourself of your objectives and assess how you're doing. For example, building relationships with key influencers, targeting customers and analysing your results
- Spend some time each week creating content, photos, blogs, videos - to provide fresh content to go out across your channels. Also spend some time searching for curated content to share (more on this in our blog in Week 9)
- Spend 10-15 minutes in the morning monitoring your social media accounts, responding, having conversations etc. Go through your home feed and see what's being posted that you can comment on. This is particularly relevant for Twitter as it's a news channel and is very active during the morning commute. If you’re using Instagram use this time to see who has commented on your pics, who has tagged you with hashtags or geolocation, and engage around key hashtags for your business. On Pinterest use this time to pin to your boards and keep them regularly updated, pin from key influencers etc.
- Spend a quick 5-10 minutes at lunchtime to keep on top of things
- Devote a chunk of around 30 minutes in the evening. We understand this can sound quite daunting, but it will make a massive difference to your reach, engagement… and to hitting your objectives
Do an in depth analytical report to ensure you're making progress on meeting your strategic objectives.
Top Tips from Digital Mums Talent Spotter Ruth Gilbey
Pick 1 or 2 social media platforms - don't overload yourself by being on every social media platform. It’s better to be on a couple that are most relevant for your business
Schedule in advance, particularly focusing on Monday-Friday, and the key times your audience will be on the platforms. You can get this information from free analytics websites like Followerwonk. Repeat content - especially on Twitter. Remember only 10% of your audience see your tweets so repeating content to cut through the noise on Twitter is essential. Pick different times of the day for maximum reach i.e. 8am day 1, 1pm day 2, 6pm day 3.
If you are using Instagram and Twitter for your business, this timesaving hack is great. You can simply include the hashtag #twitter in your post and IFTTT will automatically post to Twitter as a native image. However, watch the length of your Instagram post as it may cut off some of the post.
And finally I’m Team Hootsuite! I think it’s the best free social media tool, although not as user friendly as Buffer. But if you invest some time in getting up to speed on it, it will pay you back in time saved