Is social media draining you of time and energy? Do you feel like you could spend all day on your social profiles, updating and hustling and connecting, only to start over again at the beginning tomorrow?
Social media marketing is fantastic for growing your business audience online and spreading the word about what you do. Unfortunately, it’s also fantastic for blowing through hours of valuable time.
So how can you harness the awesome business powers of social media without sacrificing your schedule (and sanity)? Here are my top 5 tips for saving time on social – and, bonus! – powering up your results.
Social Media Time Saver #1 – Get an app for that
The very first thing (as in: drop whatever you’re doing and do this now) you need to do is get a social media management app. Hootsuite is my personal favorite, but you could choose something else like Buffer or Sprout Social. A social management app is essential for simplifying your social media marketing life. They allow you to check on social activity from multiple accounts without having to hop around to different websites, they give you an easy way to interact with your audience and reply to comments, messages, and tweets, and – most importantly – they allow you to schedule social media updates ahead of time. So go get yourself an account pronto (you can get one from Hootsuite or Buffer for free).
Social Media Time Saver #2 – Know your categories
When you go to post updates to your social accounts, do you freeze up a little? Does it take you a while to come up with something brilliant to say? And if you’re using a social media management app (see tip #1) and scheduling you posts out ahead of time, do you turtle-speed it through the process of coming up with enough updates to keep your profiles active?
An incredible simple way to cure this time-suck is by sticking to categories. Once you know the different types of updates you want to create, filling up your social streams will be easy. Here are the categories I use on all of my social profiles: My blog post updates, curated content, announcements/promotions for my business, questions, quotes, and tips/advice.
If you know, specifically, the types of updates you want to write and schedule, the whole process will become smoother.
Social Media Time Saver #3 – Reduce & Reuse
Did you know that you can use the same update more than once? No, really, I’m serious. And I’m not just talking about using the same update from your Twitter profile on your Facebook profile (which you can also do). I’m talking about using the same update on the same profile over again.
When you update your social profiles, the vast majority of your audience won’t see that one update. It slips through the cracks and never gets screen time. Which means, it’s perfectly acceptable (and smart) to post that update again down the road so that another small section of your audience will get the chance to see it.
Creating great social updates can be hard work. There is absolutely no reason to use a good update once and then throw it out. Use it again, and watch your social media marketing life get a lot simpler.
Social Media Time Saver #4 – Have a plan of attack
Alright, now we need to get honest with ourselves. Social media marketing is time consuming, yes. With all those updates to schedule and comments to reply to and outreach to handle, it can take up a nice little chunk of our day. But when we complain about social media eating away at our schedule, could it be that some (ahem – a lot) of that time is spent getting sucked into the social media web of endless links? Do we get off track with our “marketing” and start clicking on cute kitten pictures, watching funny YouTube videos, and reading pointless survey-result-status-updates?
Social media is designed for wasting time. It’s designed to lead you down a rabbit trail of links and updates and memes. So if you want to take back control of the time you spend on social and make your marketing more efficient, you absolutely must have a plan before you log in.
Here’s an example plan to help you get the idea: First 5-10 minutes: reply to comments. 5 Minutes: retweet/share posts that your audience would value. 10-20 Minutes: schedule updates for day/week. 20 Seconds: Get the heck out of there.
Social Media Time Saver #5 – Set up your curating headquaters
Sharing other people’s content is a great way to populate your social media accounts with valuable updates and build your audience (it’s one of our categories from tip #2). But surfing the web for cool blog posts and infographics to share with your fans and followers is another one of those time traps. So to make curating content a lot more time efficient, you need to use an RSS reader to collect all of your favorite content in one place with an easy-to-scan interface so you can find the good stuff quick.
I highly recommend Feedly, because I think it has a great design that allows me to scan the jumble of blog posts for the most promising headlines quickly and easily. You can use any reader you want, but make sure to use one. Hopping from blog to blog is a sure-fire way to increase your social media marketing time-spend big time.