Time-Effective Social Media Strategies
Trying to maintain a presence across multiple social media platforms can be a huge drain on your time. By employing time-effective social media strategies it’s possible to grow your small business and still have a life. When starting out it pays to understand where your customers or clients are spending their time and then focus your efforts there. Read on for more tips on how to manage your small businesses social media strategy without becoming overwhelmed.
Focus on the Platforms Where Your Target Audience Hangs Out
Social media is the fastest way to cast a wide net looking to catch the attention of potential customers and create a community. There are more social media platforms than any one small business owner can tackle effectively – even if they had all day to devote to being social.
When you started your business, you likely got great advice to narrow your niche and focus on a target audience. These are the ideal clients and customers who want what you have to offer. Furthermore, you should have been told to market to this ideal audience and focus on their needs, their wants, and solving their problems. If you agreed and followed that advice, then you have a pretty good idea of who you want to engage and where they hang out.
This is an important step as it relates to social media. Knowing where your audience hangs out is the key to building a social media presence that maximises your time and marketing budget. Once you know where your customers are naturally, you can simply master those specific platforms and dominate the market.
Depending on your business, you may want to master one of these main social media platforms:
Picking a platform is all about engagement and captivating your target audience. Engagement can take many forms. Consider these options:
Pictures- Best for Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest
Video- Best for YouTube or Facebook Live
Audio- Best for YouTube, can be linked through other platforms as well, think podcasts
Short stories- Best for Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat
Links to blogs- Best for Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter
One-to-one connection- Best for Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter
Once you have decided on one to three primary platforms, you can test them out to see which ones give you the most engagement. If you aren’t getting results, it may be time to switch platforms or abandon one altogether.
It’s easy to learn how to maximise the platforms through tutorials or training tools. YouTube is an excellent place to review and train yourself on the most effective ways to use the tools. You can also find blogs and downloadable content to help you master any platform.
Being visible on social media isn’t as daunting when you know who you are marketing to and where they hang out. Finding a social media platform that meets your needs, gets you noticed, and brings you sales is just a few posts, tweets, and pins away.
Quality Over Quantity – Share a Few Good Posts & Foster Engagement
The squeaky wheel may get the grease, but the loudest mouth on social media usually gets blocked. Being a major contributor on social media can be a recipe for engagement and sales or a disaster, depending on how often and what you share.
Being visible is one thing, but it is vital that you are providing quality not just quantity when you engage your community. It is equally important that you be on-brand with your image, products, and the culture you are fostering. Any disconnect can confuse your community and send them packing.
Sharing a few great posts and encouraging engagement is more favorable than posting anything and everything and leaving your audience blasted or bored. Here are five pro-tips for posting quality over quantity.
Pro-Tip #1: Make content relevant to your brand and audience- Your posts should be on brand and consistent with what you are selling or the image you are promoting. Don’t mix and match your professional and personal lives if they are radically different from one another.
Pro-Tip #2: Use the platform to its best design- Whatever platform you use, understand it to its fullest capacity. Learn the tricks of the trade for the platform so you are getting the maximum benefit for your engagement. The book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk can be great place to learn about platform context.
Pro-Tip #3: Create original content that is shareable- It’s great to network and share other people’s posts and content, but it’s equally important to have unique content that is branded with your watermark or easily identified as your unique content. This builds know, like, and trust as well as increasing your authority with your audience.
Pro-Tip #4: Share content regularly to increase engagement- Each platform has a formula that increases the likelihood you will be seen and heard. Sometimes the opportunities are pay-to-play but usually you can increase your exposure by posting relevant content to the preferred specifications of the platform and see large results organically.
Pro-Tip #5: Strive to be an influencer on the platform- Each social media platform has a premium rating for influencers. Example: being a Blue Check on Facebook. Strive to become an influencer and you will have more traffic and exposure when you post.
Social media is a free platform to educate, celebrate, and participate with your target audience. Set your goals for engagement based on quality over quantity and you will be providing valuable services in less time with bigger results.
Limit Your Social Media Time – Set a Timer
Depending on your age, you either grew up with a screen in your hand or clearly recall life before electronics. Even those who parented first gens likely set screen-time limits for their children. As adults, nearly everyone is engaged in some form of social media and it tends to take up a disproportionate amount of time.
Social media can be a time suck. It is a distraction from reality and a deterrent to productivity; yet, a valuable resource. Finding the balance between social media and focused work is the key to a well-balanced relationship with your screen.
The urban dictionary lists the term phubbing as, “the practice of ignoring one’s companion or companions in order to pay attention to one’s phone or other mobile device.” This detachment from human interaction in favour of our screens is not healthy.
The most straightforward solution for limiting screen time is to set a timer or be aware of usage. For those who don’t have that sort of personal discipline, there are third-party ways to metaphorically smack that screen out of view.
There’s an app for that: Find an app that helps you digitally detox from your device. There are apps that help you set limits and stick to them by shutting down designated social media sites at preset times. There are also apps that simply alert you when you have spent too much time gazing at your screen. Look out for the following apps: Offtime, Moment, Flipd, Space and Freedom.
Adopt the Pomodoro Method: The Pomodoro Method – aka the Tomato Timer – is based on a theory developed by Francesco Cirillo whereby work or tasks are broken down into 25-minute intervals with breaks in between. This can be an effective way to use screen time wisely while completing important tasks. Search through the available extensions on your favourite browser. I have the Tomato timer for Firefox installed on my browser.
Delete social media apps on your phone: If your smartphone is the screentime vampire, consider deleting social media apps from your phone entirely. Having to use your computer or tablet to view social media can keep you present in the company of others and help you move through the day faster and more efficiently.
For work or social connection, social media is a lifeline. That lifeline begins to die off when it distracts you from having a life. Setting time limits is an effective way to have the best of what social media was designed for as well as off screen real-world experiences. Set a timer and enjoy a healthy dose of screen time as well as the great outdoors.
Invest in Tools That Make Your Life Easier
Working smart, not hard is the best way to get the biggest return on your time investment. Life hacks and delegation are essential for making life and business easier. Whether it’s having a team to maximise your output or apps and management tools that do the work automatically, having support is essential.
One of the pioneers for using tools in business is Tim Ferris. Ferris’ book, The Four-Hour Work Week, broke the charts and stayed a best-seller for over four years. Written in 2007, Ferris shared cutting edge ideas about time management and delegation that were esoteric at the time. Nowadays, his tips and tricks are relatively mainstream and easy to apply.
Three tool categories that will make your life easier
A huge part of social media engagement comes from graphics. Designing graphics can be tedious and time consuming. Having a tool that generates graphics easily is a must. Not everyone understands Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, which can be very confusing and discouraging. For easier graphic design, there are affordable websites that have no-fee and low-fee plans. Check out PicMonkey, Canva, or RelayThat for easy-to-use graphic design tools.
Social Media Management Tools
There are multiple websites designed to help integrate and manage social media platforms. These tools allow you to preplan your output and posts and allow you to post to multiple social media platforms at one time. Love Twitter? Consider TweetDeck – a dashboard that lets you plan tweets, monitor engagement, and simplify your Twitter experience. Hootsuite is a great tool to manage posts to Facebook. The platform allows you to pre-schedule your posts and alerts you when you have engagement.
Pre-scheduling suggests pre-planning and this in itself can be a great time saver. Check out the principle of ‘mega-batching’, an approach to content creation devised by online marketing guru Amy Porterfield.
Personal Assistant Tools
Sometimes the best tool has a beating heart. Hiring a personal assistant or virtual assistant (VA) is an excellent way to be two places at one time. Or three or four. Being able to delegate and have work done on your behalf is easier and more affordable than ever. You don’t have to know everything about your business to be successful. Successful people aren’t the smartest in the room, they surround themselves with great people who know a lot about something very specific.
Having tools is the way to go for managing your time wisely, but don’t overdo it. It’s important to keep a personal touch with your engagement. If you use tools to post automatically, make sure you go back and engage with your community when they begin to respond to your content. Also, make sure any virtual assistants are engaging with the community in the tone and manner consistent with your brand. It’s great to have tools, but they must be managed with a personal touch.
Review What’s Working & Ditch the Rest
When you are starting out, it’s important to have your finger at least part way in the pies that make up your business. Whether you are directly responsible for the work or delegating it through an assistant or tool, it is vital that you have a command of what is happening. Assistants leave, tools crash, your business needs a captain at the wheel or a baker at the oven.
An effective business management tool is conducting strategic reviews of your social media on a routine basis. Reviewing your social media platforms is a great way to determine what is working and what isn’t. Then take decisive action and modify your operations.
Customer Review- Review your customer behavior patterns on a quarterly basis. Where are you getting your most engagement? Has anything changed? Use the data tools available with your social media platform. These tools will tell you everything you need to know about the quantity and quality of your social media posts and community engagement.
Systems Review- Has a new platform come on the market? Is there a bigger and better bell or whistle available for your current platform? Make certain you are staying up to date with the technology associated with your most successful social media tools. If you need to upgrade your membership or change the way you use the tool to maximise your reach, shift and make changes to keep up with the changing times.
Once you have done your reviews, do the following:
- Set goals- Set a goal for the next quarter. I want to increase engagement by 15%. I want to get a notable Twitter user to engage in a conversation with me. I want my new graphic to be shared 10k times.
- Collect data- Collect the data through the next quarter. All social media platforms have analytics for your review.
- Review the data- Either learn to break down the data as it relates to your goals or have an assistant or coach review the data and give you feedback.
- Modify operations- Based on the feedback, modify your operations along the way with the goal to meet or exceed your goals for the quarter.
- Implement new ideas and tactics- If a social media platform is underperforming or there has been a big switch in the mindset of your ideal customer, switch up your tactics and try something entirely new.
- Ditch what isn’t working- Don’t hang on to a sinking ship. Ditch what isn’t working or is causing you too much time and headache.
Setting smart goals and reviewing them is an essential part of running effective social media campaigns. Doing routine reviews and making tweaks is an easy method for maximising your social media presence and making a big impact in your community and sales.