Social media can be time consuming, so get organised and reap the benefits.
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Undoubtedly, running your own business can be all-consuming, leaving little time for a social life let alone having enough time to run your social media channels. In many cases this can quickly fall to the bottom of the to-do list. Keeping social media up to date is a daunting task, particularly if you are a solopreneur or work in a very small team.
Yet failing to crack an effective social media strategy can hinder your business. You could be missing out not only on vital customers, but also opportunities to network and building your brand’s reputation. It might surprise you to know that 90% of consumers would recommend a brand after interacting with them on social media.
Here are some tips on how you can manage social media in a productive way that won’t take up all of your time:
One of the most powerful ways you can help yourself with social media is by planning ahead. Use the free Google Calendar, you can use colour-coded elements to build layers on your calendar for different themes, clients or engagements. You can also factor in awareness days eg World Mental Health Day or Organic September.
A great website to use for UK-focused days is Awareness Days, it’s a free website that's constantly improving, offering free insight on national days and celebrations.
Having your social media updates scheduled in well ahead of time will allow you to adequately prepare any resources you need (eg content) and maximise increased traffic – taking the stress out of last-minute updates.
Tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer and Last are a god-send – they allow you to feed in your social media updates in advance and then schedule them for the time you want them to be published. Buffer for example allows you to do this across multiple platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Set aside a couple of hours on a Monday for example to update all your content for the week. Working in this way means that you can rest assured that your content is all taken care of and ready to go. Many of the scheduling tools are similar, so it’s worth exploring them and seeing what works best for you.
Buffer is my favourite, as it also gives you insight on which content was most clicked on, share and engaged with.
3. Give yourself 'engagement time' to be involved in discussions and conversations
Interacting with others in your industry can really help boost your brand awareness and increase followers. This could only be ten minutes a day, but could make a real difference. Make sure your social media presence is active – scheduling is great but you need to make sure you’re interacting as well.
Twitter Lists are a great tool for keeping on top of a specific group of people, without having to follow them! Setup lists for influencers, partners and even competitors. You can switch your lists to private if you’re worried about making the information public.
Being active in social media is an activity which so many often forget about and neglect. However, this is one of the most important parts to focus on. It’s what will allow you to have one to one conversations with your customers, forge relationships with other businesses and partners and establish awareness amongst influencers.
4.Focus on what works
Use analytics tools such as Buffer or Iconosquare to see which of your social media posts have received most engagement – and then do more of the same! Likewise, notice what’s not working and get rid of it.
The Buffer Analytics section is particularly – you can view ‘most clicked’ etc. All of the social networks offer really good free analytics – Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics and the brand new Instagram Insights are all decent features that will offer you engagement figures as well as reach (how far your posts went!).
I often check things such as which days of the week are working well, and posting times, to really maximise my efforts.
Alison Battisby is Founder of Avocado Social, a London consultancy for SMEs and entrepreneurs who want to confidently grow their online communities.