One of the top concerns with any brand owner or manager is the time suck that is social media. It seems that any “quick update” on Facebook results in the loss of a week’s worth of productivity as you mindlessly check out pictures of cats, food, and your friend’s children.
That said, social media is critical for the overall success and expansion of your brand, so we cannot ignore it completely.
For that reason, I have made a list of time management tips that we use internally to keep social media from taking over our lives on a daily basis.
Time Management Tips for Social Media Managers
Be Intentional From The Start
There is a saying, “Proper preparation prevents piss poor performance.” This advice is quite true when it comes to managing your schedule and social media. Being intentional about your time from the beginning is the first step to not letting time get away from you while updating your brand’s social media presence.
I often say that it is impossible for me to give particular advice to the masses (each brand has a different set of goals, challenges, and audiences, for that reasons, I cannot give ‘One Size Fits All’ advice), so the breakdown in minutes and activities in the following example should be modified for your particular organization.
Overall, I believe a successful social media strategy can be maintained in 30-45 minutes per day.
Here is a sample social media mantainance schedule
PRE-SYSTEM CHECK: 5 minutes
Look at your daily analytics (HubSpot or Google Analtyics, for example) and any paid media campaigns you are running. Use your dashboard to spot spikes, new inbound links, and compare your actual results to your pre-determined goals.
LISTEN: 5 minutes
Check your social monitoring tools (Google Alerts, Reputology, HootSuite, or HubSpot, for example) to catch up on brand mentions. I also recommend monitoring for your competitors, your product names, similar products, and the names of key movers in your industry. Knowing what is going on in your industry is priceless intelligence and will give you a competitive advantage.
LEARN: 5 minutes
Check out industry news, blog posts, or your RSS feeds to catch up on the latest in your field. Each day, you should have a solid sampling of what other leaders are saying.
Leave comments on the articles that resonate with you (good or bad). The author of the post will enjoy reading your comments and it is a simple way to get your name in the community.
ENGAGE: 2-4 minutes
Engage priority social connections (retweets, replies, +1s, etc). These replies let your followers know that you are paying attention to their voice and care about what they have to say. Further, it gives you a real-time picture of where problems may be occurring. Not only that, but you’ll will see the praise of your followers, as well. Remember, they want a relationship with you as much as you want one with them.
PUBLISH: 60-120 minutes
I know this is outside of the “30-45 minute” window I stated earlier, but creating new content is critical in any social campaign. You can do this step any time of day.
Write a blog post about the trends you are seeing in the industry or write a longer response to a question you noticed from your Listening phase (above).
Google (and other search engines) reward new content through higher search engine rankings. Make sure your blog posts are original (don’t copy and paste from elsewhere), high-quality (be specific in answering the problem you set out to answer AND pay attention to basic grammar and spelling rules), and consistent (don’t let 2, 3, or 4 weeks go by between posts).
If you are not inclined to write a blog post, use this time to create another piece of content; a video, cartoon, or new landing page. Be intentional about spending your time crafting something that will act as an entry point for new and prospective customers.
SHARE: 3-5 min
Once you have your new content, be sure to share it on your relevant social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Flickr, your blog, etc). In addition to using it to stay in contact with your following, your social media presence is the amplifier for your brand’s marketing efforts. Use it to spread the word about what you’re doing and creating. Don’t forget to thank those who retweet, share, and “Like” your content.
EMAIL INBOX: 5-15 minutes
Scan your email inbox for important communications and answer them first. Generally, I spend less than 20 minutes a day in my email inbox. Do not use it as a To Do list, otherwise you will spend your entire responding to emails as they come in and not accomplishing your higher priority tasks.
PRIORITIZE: 2-5 minutes
At the end of each day, I write down what I must do the following day. This helps me start each morning with 1-3 tasks to focus on. In the morning, I can re-evaluate these priorities based on what has come in overnight.
Use Scheduling Tools
Much of this would not be possible without the use of social monitoring and scheduling tools. I personally recommend HootSuite and Buffer for social scheduling and Reputology for reputation management for physical locations like coffee shops or hotels.
I read a lot of news throughout the day and use HootSuite’s Chrome app or MiniDeck to pre-schedule posts or share interesting articles to my small army of social profiles. Remember, not all content is relevant on all platforms. For that reason, I evaluate each piece or post to determine which profile I want to share it with.
Have a Plan
If you don’t know what target you’re aiming at, you are guaranteed to miss. Frankly, if you don’t know why you are doing social media, please stop. You are simply contributing to the noise of the already over-populated internet. You are likely burning yourself out and turning brand fans away.
Instead, have a clear plan answering why your brand is active on social. For example, your brand could be using social for the following reasons:
- Increase Sales
- Increase Brand Awareness
- Build a Brand-centric Community
- Do Good
The more specific your “Why” is, the more successful your social media efforts will be.
For example, “Increase Sales” is a good goal, but “Increase purchases over $65 from Facebook Fans by 35%” is a better goal. This will give your team a laser-tight focus on the type of content to be sharing on your Page.
Be sure to include non promotional content in your marketing plan. Your followers want to know you and the personality of your brand, so use stories and photos to give a peek behind the scenes and really show off your true colors.
Many owners and managers are scared of handing control of your “image” to another. The truth is, every employee already does this.
For example, coffee shop owners trust their staff to open the business each morning, handle hundreds of dollars in cash and merchandise, handle customer complaints, and represent the brand to the public. Social media is an extension of this type of representation.
Part of empowering your staff to represent you on social media is clearly defining values or goals. These should mirror the same expectations you have for your staff off-line each day.
There are certain tasks and decisions that only an owner or manager can handle. Don’t let other To Dos creep into your schedule and keep you from doing your job. The job only you can do.
Finally, if you cannot fully let go of the social publishing schedule, upgrade your HootSuite account to require your authorization before posts are sent out. Although, I submit to you, if you find yourself doing this for any extended period of time, you need to evaluate the trust and expectations you have in place with your social media manager.
Have a Defined Social Media Strategy
All of these time management tips revolve around having a crystal clear idea of where your social media efforts are going. It requires consideration and a strategy to get there.
If you do not have a clear roadmap for reaching your goals on social media, you will end up spending a lot of time and money without progress to show.
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