Social media is the #1 way small businesses and solopreneurs can lose productivity. No other marketing tool can suck you in and widdle away the hours like diving into Facebook, getting distracted, and reacting to whatever notifications pop up. It's not just Facebook though. How many times have you found yourself lost in the amazing-ness of Pinterest, or scrolling down your Instagram feed 30 minutes after you opened it?
If you're responsible for your brand's social media, chances are you lose a ton of time trying to find good content to share. Do you meander around the interwebs looking for good blogs to share or viral posts? You need a system for that - stat!
I not only manage the entirety of my brand's social media - but as social media IS my business - I manage it for a variety of clients as well. Here are my super duper, kick ass tools and tricks for keeping my productivity on track.
Eliminate social media accounts
Wait what? Yes.
Not all of them - obviously.
Take a serious look at your brand and target audience. Pick the top 3 social media networks where your target audience spends their time. If you're posting the same stuff across too many accounts, you're wasting time and not providing unique content for each platform. Not to mention the time you're wasting posting to a redundant account that your target audience isn't on anyway.
There's nothing like a good old spreadsheet to keep track of what to post when. You can start with major promotions and fill in content from there. Even a weekly guide for what type of content you're going to post on which days is better than nothing.
Having a plan keeps you on track and eliminates the desperation of trying to figure out what you're going to post that day at the last minute.
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I use Buffer, but there are a whole bunch of apps that will help you schedule your social media posts. They usually have a phone app and browser extension as part of their app too, which will help you use it no matter what device you're on.
When I sit down to schedule my content for the week, I put everything into Buffer for my clients and me so it's the one time for the week I have to think about it. Set it and done.
Buffer will even give you suggested post times per social media network, so that's even more research you don't have to do.
You can time block down to 15-minute intervals, or by batch day - either way, one task at a time is essential to staying on track and completion with efficiency. You might have to try a few different methods (I sure did), but knowing how you're going to spend your time and committing to it works wonders.
For me, I know the top 3 essential tasks I have to complete each day and assign each to morning, noon, and night.
For example, I know that Thursday night is when I Buffer all social media content for the coming week. I might get to it at 6pm or 10pm, but that allows for flexibility with my schedule.
You will want to time block for content curation, scheduling, engagement, blogging (if you blog), post graphics, and special projects.
Let the interwebs come to you. Instead of searching, clicking, more searching, more clicking - set up a Google Alert for your brand to know instantly if it's mentioned somewhere.
Feedly is my main content curation tool for my posts and my clients' posts. You can set up feeds by topic, or dump the RSS feeds of blogs into another feed (like a 'To Read' feed). After a scan of the article, I often put it straight into Buffer to schedule the post.
There are lots of note-taking apps out there, but I use Evernote. It syncs across all devices so I can access it from my phone while I'm Instagramming, or my desktop when I'm in full-work-mode.
Here are a few ways I use Evernote:
- I write all my blogs here first before I upload them to my website.
- I have a note full of industry-specific hashtags I use on Instagram and Twitter.
- I keep track of all the signup form URLs from my Mailchimp account.
- I keep track of all client notes.
- I map out special projects.
No one is perfect and there is a lot more leeway nowadays for typos, but it's something you should still avoid like the plague. Grammarly is a browser extension and app that will automatically review what you're typing for grammar and spelling errors.
Every social media post that pertains to your business should be accompanied by a custom, branded graphic in the right size for the particular social media network you are posting to.
Posting stand-alone images and links to other business' content that you've curated is fine, but your content should be easily recognizable as yours.
Or some other email marketing program. I use Mailchimp to create signup lists for my freebie content, and to create autoresponder campaigns for email courses. Having a system integrated with my social media posts lets me set it and forget it.
The #1 way to stay on top of Twitter chats and relevant hashtags is Tweetdeck. When I was the Social Media Manager for Megadeth, I had an entire computer monitor dedicated to just Tweetdeck. I had columns for the band, each band member, endorsers, other bands they were touring with, and hashtag searches for anyone talking about the band or band members.
While that might be waaaay above and beyond what you need to do, you can use it to participate in Twitter chats and follow hashtag trends that are relevant to your business.
If you follow as little as 100 users on Twitter, it can be really hard to keep up. If you follow thousands, it's an exponentially impossible task. Twitter lists allow you to curate different users into categories for you to follow more easily. Create lists for leaders in your industry, clients, top interactors, and so on.
If you have a rockin' Instagram account, it can be difficult to keep up with responding to comments or engaging with other users. Iconosquare lets you see a desktop version of your feed and your account, so you can like and comment quickly and easily from your desktop. BONUS: this site will also crunch your Instagram analytics so you can keep track of what's working and what isn't.
I just discovered this and holy moly!! AppSumo has a special deal right now for a lifetime membership for $25. I have only used it a few days and I'm staying on track with work and sleeping soundly - two elusive things for a small business owner.
This could help you focus on your time blocking to get in and get out of your social media duties. Need I mention how a good night's sleep can help productivity? I think not.
Don't let social media notifications on your phone cause you to be so reactive you don't get anything else done. Simply disabling all social media notifications on your phone, and sticking to the time block dedicated for social media work, will free up more time than you realized.
Putting these tools and tricks into play will help you take control over your social media productivity. Even just implementing one of these at a time will work wonders. Do you have any other tips for being productive with social media? Tell me in the comments!