I constantly spell out in our classes the importance of being consistent with social media – if you’re going to post weekly, make sure you do that. If you’re going to send a newsletter monthly, do that!
And then I don’t post for a whole week!!
The problem is that life happens and we seem to have less and less time on our hands. The trick is making sure we spend the time we have as effectively and meaningfully as possible! Here are as few things to consider to help you keep your social media plan on track.
Be very clear about the platforms that are important to your audience. You can’t be on all of them unless you have a dedicated team permanently at work on content. Focus on one key platform first and when you’re comfortable that it’s working for you, then grow into one or two more, using the first as a blueprint.
It’s way better to do a great job on one platform, than half a job on many.
That said, if you have a straight forward content plan then the number of platforms you’re on won’t be an issue. You’ll have done all the work upfront anyway!
This leads on from the last point and is probably the most important of all. Have a plan that it easy to execute. Our plan, which has you blogging and then turning your blog into multiple posts seems to work well for many businesses.
This is made all the easier when you are really clear about who you are marketing to and focus on building content that your audience will enjoy and find valuable.
When you have a social media calendar in place, you know whats coming up so, when you sit down to work on your social media posts, you have a topic and you can dive right into the content. Without a plan you have to work out what you’ve covered so far, what you should consider doing next and basically use up a whole lot of time before you actually get started.
With a pre-defined calendar, your social media time is spent with purpose. And don’t think it has to be complicated.
I print out the Word calendar templates for my high-level monthly plan and I use my blog articles, like this one, to create the specific posts. I save each under a new name. The first is the blog title (for example ‘How to Find Time for Social Media) and the second is ‘How to Find Time for Social Media POSTS’. Once renamed I start cutting it up using the following steps:
As I use each post, I change the text colour so I know what’s been used and which article is next. I also change the name of the pic (from Post 1) to something relevant to my business and to the post. This helps search engines as they pick up image file names, not just article titles.
It can (and should) be as simple as that!
This needs to happen from the start otherwise you can end up meandering in multiple directions. You need to decide how often you can manage to set aside time and how much of it you can spare.
We spend a day or two at the end of each year planning the next as comprehensively as possible. A year plan helps with identifying special dates, public holidays or events you need to be aware of when deciding on themes. At the end of the exercise, we have these set out for the whole year.
Next we aim for a full day per quarter to take that plan to the next level and sketch out more detail for each theme. By then, most of your work is done – especially if you’ve got the bulk of your content completed for each theme and you’ve created a comprehensive collection of images to work with.
Once a month should be used for polishing content, splitting the blogs into posts and assigning images to each. The more you do in one sitting the better. You’ll find you can actually get a lot done because you get into a specific thinking and writing ‘groove’.
If you can, it’s also the perfect time to pre-post as much as you can in the time you’ve set aside. This leads into the next suggestion…
There are the most amazing tools for automating your social media posts. If you’re on Facebook only, you need not look any further than the actual platform. You can pre-post as long in advance as you’d like to.
If you’ve running up to three platforms, my absolute favourite is Hootsuite (https://www.hootsuite.com/). It’s free up to three, then you start to pay. Believe me though, it’s worth every single cent if you do end up being a paying client!
Not only can you pre-post but you can also track all engagement with your posts across all platforms. Aside from a little work on your mobile each day to get your Instagram posts up, the rest happens in the background exactly when and where you have stipulated. Sign up right away!
You’ve likely chosen the line of business you’re in because it’s something you’re passionate about. We certainly hope so! When planning your content and specifically your blog content – which obviously feeds into your social media platform posts – think about conversations you’d have in the flesh if your client was right in front of you. THAT’s what should be filling your blogs.
And don’t just think nuts and bolts but think about the most passionate conversations you’d like to have – and make sure the passion comes through in your writing. It usually helps to write things exactly the way you’d say them.
This is definitely a way to ensure that you have enough blog content to get you through the year and beyond!
Help others wherever you can. Give-to-Get (G2G), “pay it forward” or ‘Jab Jab Jab Hook’ (ala Gary Vaynerchuk ) whatever you want to call it, the bottom line is that ‘karma’ works in the social world. More importantly though, providing value builds credibility and that’s what a social media strategy is really all about.
If you consistently provide valuable content, your following and hopefully your client base will grow!
Involve your team. Make sure that everyone is on board to either provide stories, testimonials, photos or whatever will enrich your social media programme.
If you’re a ‘one-man-band’ (and even if you aren’t) try to think beyond your immediate business. You may be able to get content from clients – ask them to send you pics and testamonials. Chat to your suppliers. They could possibly provide product information and professional pics for your posts. They may even be able to give you measurement or assessment tools, videos, buyer’s guides, samples or giveaways for competitions.
Being able to present them with a sound social media strategy document will go a long way to getting their support!
Constantly trawl the internet for content suggestions and store links to every one worth using. I save mine in a Word doc called ‘Articles to Share’. I include the headline and a link to each. If there’s something unique or special about it, I add a comment or two so that it stands out when I need it. These are used to support current themes or to fill blanks between themes.
The beauty is that these don’t require much work as Facebook will display the preview – including a pic or two.
Just consider or do a few things:
Even thought the bulk of the work is done in advance, you still need to commit to some time on social media every day. You need to:
Set aside a specific time – it can be small but must be a daily time commitment – and then spend it wisely.
Where possible, have a customer service team or person responding to comments and queries. With the shift to making social media the ‘go-to’ place for customer service, this is a healthy way to introduce the practice to your client support teams.
If you have a really small team, this is a service that can be outsourced in need.
Either way, you can play a role in defining standard responses to frequently asked questions (which could be added to your website and become a blog titles if important or interesting enough). You can also determine standard responses to anything outside of your planned feedback and be available as the 2nd line respondent when escalation is necessary.
This will help to reduce the time spent online or give you more time to focus on what’s important from your perspective.
Make time to measure your social media activity and calculate your ROI (return on investment). This is not necessarily about saving time but about maximising ROI and will give you a sense of where it’s worth spending time and where it isn’t.
Start by making use of the metrics provided on each platform and then establish whether or not you need to look beyond those for meaningful measurement.
Before you start though, ask yourself these three questions:
If you aren’t measuring, you can’t determine whether or not all the time you’re putting into this is actually worthwhile!
A few thoughts in closing: