Feeling overwhelmed by social media? You’re definitely not alone.
With numerous social networks to choose from — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, the list goes on and on — managing social media can be a daunting task for any small business owner or marketing professional.
However, with more than 2.8 million people using social media worldwide, it’s clearly an important piece of the marketing puzzle to help your brand connect with its target audience.
I can hear you now. “I don’t have time for social media!”
Believe me, I get it. As a small business owner myself, some days it feels like the last thing I have time for is scheduling posts on Facebook or replying to my followers on Twitter.
But, if you’re serious about your business and its success, I challenge you to find just 30 minutes each day to dedicate to growing your social presence.
Before I tell you how to spend those important 30 minutes, let’s review some best practices you should follow to help you achieve social media success.
1. Know who you are (and what you want to say)
Before you even sit down to craft content for social media, you have to determine your brand voice.
Your brand voice, or the overarching tone for everything you post across your various networks, is an important element of your content strategy, and should resonate well with your target audience.
Then, you have to figure out what to say — and there’s no worse feeling than sitting down at your computer to post to Facebook and having absolutely no idea what to write.
Avoid the frustration of writer’s block by planning your content in advance.
Plan out topics and themes relevant to your business using a social media editorial calendar and do any necessary industry research ahead of time to ensure you’re sharing compelling content regularly.
2. Be choosy with your social networks
Not all social networks are created equal, and your brand doesn’t have to be present on all of them. In fact, if you only have 30 minutes a day to dedicate to social media, it’s almost impossible to be everywhere.
Instead, be strategic about which social media sites you choose to use. You should already be aware of your business’s target audience, so now it’s time to do a little research to find the social network(s) that best match that demographic and forget about the ones that don’t.
Once you’ve narrowed down your social network choices by audience, go one step further to think about the type of content you’re going to share.
- Is your brand visual? Will you have a lot of photos and videos to post? Consider a photo-sharing platform like Instagram or Pinterest.
- Will you be publishing thought leadership blog posts angled towards a business-to-business audience? Consider joining LinkedIn.
- Will you be sharing a lot of public events to increase attendance? Facebook may be the place for you.
Match your message to the platform so you don’t turn off your audience. Plus, now you’re maximizing the time you do have to spend on social media.
3. Schedule your social media content in advance
Here’s the thing: to be successful on social media, you don’t actually have to be on social media all day. Instead, you need to give off the illusion that your brand is on social media all day.
How? Through scheduling. You can cut down on your daily social media maintenance by scheduling out your posts in advance.
Use a free tool like Hootsuite to schedule posts in advance for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or, for a more robust social media plan, consider a paid platform like Sprout Social that offers advanced capabilities and analytics. Facebook also offers an in-platform scheduling tool.
Since you’ve already planned out all of your content in an editorial calendar, scheduling your posts should be a breeze!
4. Engage with your audience
Social media is not a print ad or a television commercial. It’s…social.
In other words, it’s not a place where marketers should bombard their audience with constant “me-centric” messages and sales pitches. (Well, you can, but you probably won’t find success.)
Instead, when crafting your content, remember why social media was created: to bring individuals together and create connection.
A great social media strategy always includes making time for interacting with fans.
If your audience likes, comments on or shares your posts, show them you appreciate their actions by replying!
Don’t forget the brand voice you’ve created for your social media presence as it should carry through every post, including individual replies and shares.
5. Evaluate your progress
You’ve created an editorial calendar, selected your social media platforms, scheduled out all your posts and interacted with your audience. (High fives, all around!)
Sorry to tell you, but the work doesn’t end there.
Once your strategy has been put into place, it’s time to take a step back and analyze your work. Have your posts been successful? Are you attracting followers, and are those followers engaged?
If your answers are yes, great! And if not, then it might be time to reevaluate your strategy and come up with a new course of action.
Because let’s be real: You only have 30 minutes a day, so best not to waste it on a strategy that doesn’t work!
The best way to spend 30 minutes a day on social media
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be!
Now that you know exactly what to do, you can budget your time effectively to spend just 30 minutes a day building a successful social media presence.
Here’s how we recommend dividing up your time.
10 minutes: Stay up-to-date on trends
- Look at what’s trending on your chosen social networks to see what’s going on in your industry (and the world) and if you can use it as part of your content strategy.
- Browse through industry newsletters, blogs or websites to gather inspiration for posts.
10 minutes: Write and schedule posts
- Write your content. Here’s an example of how to quickly write and repurpose content:
- Say you represent a winery hosting an event to celebrate the release of its newest wine. First, write a post for Facebook (and link to the Facebook event you’ve already created, or even better, the landing page on your website where the public can purchase tickets). Then, shorten your post for Twitter (remember: Twitter now allows for up to 280 characters!) and be sure to link back to that same landing page. If time allows, maybe you post a photo of the new bottle of wine on Instagram and include details about the event. Voila! One content idea, promoted on three separate channels in 10 minutes or less.
- Schedule your content! Take some of the guesswork and stress out of social media by scheduling out your content in advance to ensure your message is going out at optimal times.
10 minutes: Engage with your audience
- Use social listening tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to see what your audience is talking about and jump in on the conversations.
- Reply! Sometimes simply liking a tweet shows a consumer you’re paying attention. If it makes sense, become part of the conversation by replying.
Have an extra five to 10 minutes? Analyze your performance
Make sure to set aside time a few times a week, to see how your posts are performing. You don’t need to run a full analytics report, but keep an eye out for posts that are resonating well with your audience and what messages are bombing.
This should inform your content strategy on social media moving forward.
Mastering social media for your brand may seem like a daunting task, but if you can commit to just 30 minutes a day and following these five fundamentals, you’ll see results in no time.
If you only had 30 minutes a day to spend on social media, how would you use that time wisely? Let us know on Twitter.