By Danny Donchev
Social media is an integral part of people’s life and business.
In some cases, according to research compiled by skilled.co, we have become addicted to the various social media channels:
- 85% people rely on Twitter and Facebook for their morning news
- 18% can’t go a few hours without checking Facebook
- 23 billion users log into Facebook for an average of 17 minutes each day
- 39757 years are collectively spent on Facebook in a single day by its active users
With people hooked on social media, it makes sense to make most of a captive audience.
But if there’s one thing we’ve learned as marketers over the years, it’s that managing social media is time-consuming.
Social media kills time like nothing else.
In this article, I’m going to share a few social media tips and tools to help you work smarter so you can focus on other tasks.
Choose your social media channels
The more channels you are active on, the more time you’ll have to invest in social media. So the first step is to decide on which channels to focus.
You need to choose the channels that will benefit your business. Don’t be swayed into choosing Facebook because it has the most users. It might well be that your audience doesn’t hang out on Facebook.
As Katie Lance says, the question to ask yourself is:
“What social networks should I focus on that will build my community and build my business?”
Decide how much time will you invest
Once you’ve decided on your social media channels, you need to decide how much time you’ll spend on them. This will vary according to the size of your business and team.
Set aside a time of day
I’ve found it best to set aside a time of day when I will focus on social media.
You know what happens when you say, “I’ll just check Facebook…” And 30 minutes later you have to drag yourself away from cute kittens.
Stay away from social media until your allotted time. For example, you could block an hour at the end of your day to complete your social media activities.
Set time limits
Even with a dedicated time-slot for social media, you can still get side-tracked into one channel.
Discipline is the key. For example, try giving yourself 10-15 minutes for Facebook, then 15 minutes for Twitter, etc.
Set a timer running on your desktop or mobile so that you have to move on to your next channel.
As Ian Anderson Gray suggests:
“Set aside two or three fixed times every day to attend to your Twitter engagement. Make sure you cap the time for these sessions (for example 10-15 minutes) so you can spend the rest of your day focusing on other areas of your business.”
You can replicate this advice for each social media channel so that you cap your time accordingly.
Social Media Automation
Automation in social media, used wisely, has two main benefits:
- It lets you post content when your audience is online
- It frees up your time for other tasks
Note: It’s not acceptable to use only automation tools without interacting. That amounts to spamming. Remember to maintain the human touch in social media.
Automate Your Content Curation
Finding and sharing content created by other people is a key element of a successful social media strategy. But how do you find the time to source and share relevant content?
Here are a few tips and tools to help.
The idea behind Quuu is that they hand-pick the best content for you. They have a team of ‘Quuurators’ who sift through the masses of content and place it into categories.
You choose which categories you want to use, enter your preferred social media profiles, and connect Quuu to your Buffer account.
#2 The Kevan Lee Method (Pocket to Buffer IFTTT)
- Discover an article from your trusted sources
- Save it to Pocket
- Read your saved articles
- Mark your favorites
- IFTTT sends it to Buffer
- Buffer tweets it out
Feedly allows to you set up RSS feeds from your favorite websites.
To save time you can arrange your feeds into collections; for example, SEO blogs, Social Media Blogs, Marketing blogs, etc. This way you can dive into Feedly, scroll through your collections, see a headline that looks interesting and then read it.
If you find an interesting article, you have a few options on how to share it. You can:
- Save it to Pocket, and follow the method above
- Share it via Buffer or Hootsuite (with a paid integration)
- Share it to individual channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest)
Automate Your Content Promotion
Once you’ve created some excellent content, you’ll want to share it over and over again.
With so much content shared nowadays, it’s unlikely your audience will see it the first time.
Here are three automation tools to help you promote your content.
Missinglettr shares your blog content to Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus. (Facebook will be added soon.)
Once connected, Missinglettr monitors your blog 24/7 and turns each new article into a unique drip marketing campaign. All you need to do is review the campaign and then activate it.
Each campaign lasts 12 months and sends different social media updates to your social channels.
#2 Social Jukebox
Social Jukebox is an excellent way to keep your evergreen content recycled. It started life as Tweet Jukebox, but now it can also post to LinkedIn and Facebook.
The idea is simple. You build jukeboxes of content and then schedule them to ‘play’ at a specified interval. For example, you could have a jukebox of quotes that plays every 3 hours 21 minutes, and another jukebox of blog posts that plays every 10 hours 7 minutes. You decide the frequency and the days of the week to play them.
The smart thing is that once the jukebox has played all your content, it starts again, but plays the content in a different order. This helps keep your content fresh. You also have the option to set specific timings for time-sensitive content.
If you’re focused on the visual social media channels like Instagram and Pinterest, then you’ll want to consider using Tailwind. It’s a great time-saver.
You can schedule Pins and Instagram posts from anywhere using the mobile app or browser extension. And you can also reuse your best Pins and Posts because Tailwind tracks the performance of everything you post.
If you find yourself pinning the same pin to a few similar boards, including group boards, you can save groups of boards into lists. When you have a new pin that fits that list, you can pin to all of the boards with a single click.
Managing Your Social Media Engagement
So far you’ve discovered some time-saving tools and strategies to help you curate, schedule and post content. And that’s great.
But the overarching principle of social media is to remain social. And that means adding your human touch to the automation and engaging with your fans.
You have to decide how you’ll interact with comments, mentions, and feedback when you post your content.
#4 Native Platforms
If you’ve only chosen to focus on one or two social media channels, then it makes sense to use the native platforms. It’s not difficult to jump into Facebook and Twitter and track what’s happening on your accounts.
If you’ve got more channels and more interactions to manage, then you might find it easier to use one tool that can consolidate all messages into one inbox.
Here are two social media management tools that might help.
AgoraPulse lets you manage three social media channels: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
- There is an ’email-like’ Inbox system that contains all types of messages – tweets, mentions, direct messages, comments.
- For each message you can review, reply, retweet, share, flag or assign to a colleague.
- When you review or reply to messages, they’re archived, which makes it easy to see which messages you’ve dealt with.
#3 Sprout Social
The Smart Inbox from Sprout Social makes it easy for you and your team to manage social communication on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, GooglePlus and Instagram.
- You can engage with customers across multiple channels with all your messages in one place.
- If you’re working in a team, you can tag messages to share the workload and avoid duplicating effort.
- You can hide completed messages from the inbox so that you stay focused on the outstanding tasks.
Managing your time on social media requires discipline. Set out your ground rules and stick to them.
Adding in automation tools can also boost your time-saving efforts significantly. But don’t become a robot. Stay social and interact with your fans and followers.
And finally, make sure you invest the time you saved into producing some fresh, high-quality content to share on social media.
Danny Donchev is community & marketing manager of AdaptRM , a revolutionary time-tracking tool. Danny writes more posts about productivity and efficiency on the AdaptRM blog. Hit him up on Twitter – @DannyDonchev anytime.