I originally wrote this post for my other blog, Media Fitness Coach, targeted at busy business owners and fitness professionals who were trying to use social media marketing to improve their business. I thought that it was worthwhile information for a wider audience though, because for many of us, blogging is a business, social media marketing is a necessary part of increasing both your readership and your income, and, well, we’re all busy. Here’s my original article with a few notations directed specifically at bloggers.
When I publish articles about the importance of social media and why it is necessary for your business, one of the things that I hear the most is, “where do I find the time?” Many small business owners realize that social media marketing is vital, but, they say, “I’m busy managing my company!” (Or training my clients, teaching my classes, working my “real” job, taking care of my kids, writing my blog. You get the idea.)
It’s true that social media can take up a lot of time, especially if you’re taking the time to engage with your followers, respond to questions, and follow up on complaints. How, then, to find that time, without taking away from your other responsibilities? Here are a few tips that can help.
- Focus on Your Goals. Before you plan what you want to say, have a good idea of what your goal is. Are you trying to get more traffic to your website or blog? Do you have a sale or product you want to promote? Do you want actual foot traffic for your business? An important goal that should be in your mind everyday is to just raise awareness of your brand. Goals can change from week to week, and even daily, so know exactly what you want to accomplish before you even step foot online.
For Bloggers: You may want to get more pageviews, sell your services, increase your advertising revenue, or all three. Knowing what you want will help you achieve your goals. Brand awareness applies to blogs too. You are your brand.
- Have a Plan. Based on your goals, have an idea what you are going to post for each day. Using a planner or an editorial calendar to plan ahead can keep you organized. When you’re browsing, save links that you would like to share with your followers. Jot down interesting ideas when they come to you. Then, write down a schedule and the posts you want to send out. Spend an hour or two, once a week, making an outline of your plans for the upcoming week. This can be adapted as the week goes on, but it helps you know where you’re going.
For Bloggers: Your social media schedule should align with your blog posting schedule. Spread out your content through the day and week, so that it isn’t overwhelming. Intersperse your own promotions with other bloggers’ content.
- Don’t Get Caught Up. Social media can be a time sucker (one word..Pinterest). While engagement is necessary, it is easy to get carried away on any of the social media channels. Keep your own posting and replying focused, using your precious time for what amounts to networking. Don’t waste time discussing the weather, engage in deeper, more relative conversations.
For Bloggers: A little discussion of the weather is fine, but do try to keep it relative. Remember, you are networking, so treat your online interactions as you would other opportunities to get to know other bloggers and brands.
- Use Dead Time. Use time that would otherwise be wasted, like waiting for a plane or an appointment, or while commuting on public transportation. Using your smartphone to check in on social media while you’re waiting is an excellent use of dead time. Everyone has gaps of time during their day that can be put to good use.
For Bloggers: Dead time is also a good time to respond to comments on your blog.
- Schedule (some) Posts.Use the scheduling function of social media apps like Hootsuite,Buffer, or Tweetdeck, or smartphone apps like Tweetcaster (both for iPhone and Android), to schedule a few posts for the day (or even for the week). It is now possible to schedule posts on Facebook, both on the web and through the smartphone app. Be careful though. In order to engage with your followers, you need to check in and respond to their comments and questions, so don’t just schedule a few posts and forget about it.
For Bloggers: Schedule a few newer posts, pull out a few of your older posts that you’d like to reintroduce, and remember to share other bloggers’ posts. I’m not an expert on Pinterest, but the time has come for me to look into one of the Pinterest schedulers too. I’m deciding between Board Booster and Tailwind.
- Get Help. If you just can’t manage to find the time to follow through on your social media plans (and to do it well), there are some other options. Can you delegate it to another staff member? If you do, make sure that it is someone who is not only social media savvy, but is responsible enough to handle any issues or complaints that may come up. Another option is to hire someone to do it for you. If your company is small it may not be financially feasible to hire a new employee strictly to manage your social media. There are freelance social media managers that can do the job for you on a per-job or monthly basis, who are trained to make the best use of social media marketing and can take the weight off your shoulders.
For Bloggers: This is probably not an option unless you have a very big blog or a very accommodating spouse.
Most of all, relax. Social media should be fun, engaging, not rigid and forced. If you are new to social media marketing, start small, with one or two accounts, and post once or twice a day. Get the feel for your medium, learn what people are talking about, and don’t try just simply to sell. It is possible to manage your social media in a minimum amount of time by focusing on your goals, planning, and appropriate time management.
How do you make the most of your social media time? Do you use any scheduling apps? Which ones are your favorites?by