Ten social media time-savers

Monday, November 24, 2014 by Richard Howe

Ten social media time-saversWith a limited amount of hours in a day, spending time on social media can be an ongoing challenge for business owners.

Here is a list of time-saving tips to help you plan, deliver and analyse your social strategy in less time.

1. Plan

It’s essential to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve through your social media activity. Do you aim to increase brand awareness? Build a loyal community of followers? Generate more sales? By sitting down and creating a targeted strategy, you will have a defined idea of exactly where you need to be focusing your efforts and avoid the ‘scattergun’ approach.

2. Schedule

Once you have a strategy in place, you can schedule the bulk of your social media activity ahead of time. This means that you can build in any season-specific topics (for example, planning to write blog posts about ski-wear at the start of the winter), and ensure that your activity isn’t sporadic.

3. Create a content stockpile

Creating a stockpile of content to choose from will allow you to breathe easy and not have to race about at the last minute researching or finding new articles. 

You may choose to outsource your content creation to a company who specialise in this, at least to get you started, which will ensure that you can provide a range of high-quality, relevant and original posts.

4. Use alerts

A somewhat underused free service is Google Alerts, but this can be a particularly useful tool for ensuring you keep up to date with current news within your niche. Setting up alerts for relevant industry terms and having these delivered to your inbox will mean that when something pertinent comes up, this can feed into your social media activity and show that you are at the front of your game.

5. Monitor and analyse

Don’t forget to monitor and analyse the impact of your social media strategy and adjust accordingly. If you get very little traction on Facebook, for example, your current strategy is clearly not working and is eating up valuable time – you will need to either adjust what you’re doing or ditch it completely. Using Google Analytics alongside social media tools will show you quickly and easily what’s working and you can take appropriate action.

6. Use a social media management tool

Using a dashboard-style tool, such as HootSuite or Sprout Social, will allow you to see all your feeds in one place, as well as providing tools for you to post to multiple platforms, schedule posts ahead of time and analyse results. Just be careful that when posting to multiple platforms your message is relevant to all platforms. Sometimes it’s still better to post individually, since each platform has its own idiosyncrasies and style.

7. Limit your platforms

If you want to reduce the time you spend on social media still further, you might choose to only focus on two or three sites. It’s not always necessary to have a presence on every platform, but more effective to use two or three particularly well. When choosing which to cut, look at your analytics, where most of your engagement comes from and which platforms suit your company’s ethos and your style of communication.

8. Curate content

Whilst it’s important to generate your own unique content, you don’t need to be doing this all the time. In fact, curating content (by linking to, sharing or retweeting pertinent and interesting articles by other people) is a central part of social media today. 

By engaging with other people’s posts and sharing these with your community, you not only save time for yourself, but also build relationships with those in your industry and still provide valuable content for your audience. Just make sure that you always give full credit to the person who wrote the article.

9. Use mobile apps

Using mobile apps for managing social media means that you can implement your strategy on the move, making best use of your time and reacting to events as and when they happen.

10. Interact consistently

Interact with your social media community on your chosen platforms every day, whether it’s half an hour at the start of the day or ten minutes every couple of hours – and actually timetable it in so that you can ensure consistency. But don’t spend any longer than the time you have allotted for this. If necessary, use a timer to make sure that you know when to stop!

The above ten tips should help you to get into a routine, so that social media becomes a quick and easy part of your daily work and not a time-sapping chore. With a combination of forward-planning, tools and reacting to events as they happen, you will soon find that the time you spend on social media is more focused, effective and results-driven.

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