I’m in several Facebook groups, most relating to freelancing, entrepreneurship and the like. One question I see over and over (and over) again is:
“How do I find time to use social media for my business?”
Time is an interesting thing, isn’t it? It seems like we never have enough of it.
“If I only had more time I would ______”
“If I had an extra hour in the day I could _____”
“Why aren’t there more hours in a day?!”
I’m sure you’ve heard one of these comments before, or maybe you’ve even uttered the phrases yourself.
But here’s the thing. We each only have 24 hours in a day. 168 hours in a week. Time is what you make of it. You make time for the things that matter to you most.
If social media is important to you for growing your business, you will need to make time. Not much, but some time will be needed. There isn’t a magic potion out there that creates more time for social media.
So say you’ve read 168 Hours (great book, by the way), and you’ve figured out you have a little extra time to dedicate to social media, but you aren’t sure where to start. Below are ways I’ve personally implemented that help answering the “where to start with social media when you have zero time” question.
If you are just starting out with social media, you’ll need to do an exercise. You may be asking yourself, “how do I find where my audience hangs out?” Here’s your answer:
First step: Define who your audience is. This means demographically (gender, age, location) as well as their interests (shopping habits, websites they read, blogs they follow, etc). Write this down.
Second step: Follow the same type of websites, Twitter accounts, Facebook groups, and interests that your audience does (and hopefully you already naturally do). You will slowly start to see where these people congregate (Instagram, Facebook groups, Twitter, etc).
Third step: Determine which place your audience hangs out the most and focus only on that social network. You will feel the need to focus on everything at the same time, but ignore this feeling. You’ll get to the other networks eventually. All that matters right now is this first network.
Batch processing is THE best tip I can give you for making the most out of your time. What do I mean when I say batch processing?
Batch processing is setting aside time to complete similar tasks. The term actually derives from a computer language standpoint, where a computer would “batch process” similar “jobs” without human intervention.
My kind of batch processing does involve human intervention (aka YOU :)), but you will be completing similar “jobs” just like a computer would.
Batch processing your social media content helps you laser focus on the task at hand. It can be tempting to try and do a million and one things at the same time (hello multi-tasking!) but in reality, you get a lot less done when you multi-task.
Set aside time each week to schedule your social media posts. Use this time to create posts to promote your blog, business, and website. Zeroing in one this one task will help streamline your marketing efforts, while not sacrificing on posting great content.
Now I’m sure you know by now that you shouldn’t just promote your business on social media, but also to share relevant articles and information from other sources too. Finding and scheduling those also take time, which leads us to number 3.
Do you ever go into your email inbox to check one important email and then look up and realize you spent 3 hours reading the latest blog post from your favorite blogger and about a million of those shopping emails? Yeah, #beenthere.
And those emails can be great, life changing even. But they have a time and place. If you read every email that came in at the time it came in you would get absolutely no work done.
I’ve found the best ways around this is to batch read. Yes, similar to batch processing scheduling your content listed in number 2.
You can set up batch reading in a number of ways, but here are the two that work best for me:
1) Designated email folder
2) Designated blog reader category
For each email list that I sign up for, relating to content I would share on my social platforms, I have them directly go to a designated email folder entitled “Content.” These emails completely surpass my main inbox. I do not ever see them unless I go into the “Content” folder of my email. The idea here is that they are out of site, so I’m not tempted to even begin reading them. I know that at the end of the week, I have the designated time to go through and read each email if I so desire.
Popular blog readers like Bloglovin’ or Feedly have helped me immensely in streamlining social media posts. If you read blogs, but don’t want an email every time a new post is up, a blog reader is an easy solution.
Create a category such as “Content to Share” and add your favorite blogs and websites that have content that is relevant to share with your audience. As listed above, schedule time during your week to go through these blog posts and pick the appropriate articles to share. Resist the urge to read them as soon as they are published. They will be there waiting for you when you’re ready, I promise.
Now here’s where some work needs to happen but it’s worth it for the long haul.
Once you’ve been posting to the social network you’ve been focusing on for a few months (remember, you are focusing on ONE social network), you will need to take a look and see what is working and what doesn’t work.
How do you do this? Well, it depends on the network.
Across all networks, some rules of thumb including looking at the following:
– Time of day posting
– Type of content (is it a photo, video, quote, a personal anecdote?)
So what does “working” mean here? “Working” in this sense means engagement. How many people liked the content? Or even better, commented? Or even better than THAT, shared it?
Take notes on which types of posts get more engagement. Keep those types of posts in your strategy of sharing, while doing a little less of the type of content that gets the least.
Now it’s not to say if sharing a personal anecdote gets you the most comments that you should always share personal anecdotes, but it can be easy to forget what types of posts people like. If you keep these ideas type of mind, it makes it easier for you to schedule out posts that you know your followers will like in advance. Thus saving time, which is what we are looking for.
If you’re ready to move even further, automation is your next step. There are a few free services that will do automation (Hootsuite, Buffer (to an extent), Facebook scheduler) but the best of the best are of the paid variety.
Once you have a solid social media strategy (which you definitely should have before you even think about paying for automation), it might be time to look into automation.
There are tons of programs out there that can help with automating your social media, and this post isn’t about reviewing them (hoping to do that soon!) but know that there won’t ever be a complete “automation” on your end. Even if you hire out for someone else to do your social media, you will need to spend at least some time thinking and reviewing your social media strategy on a routine basis.
Social media isn’t going anywhere, it’s not a phase that will eventually pass. For right now, it’s here to stay, and you might as well embrace it.
If you’re looking for a professional to manage your social media strategy, feel free to contact me so we can discuss your business goals. I’d be happy to help!
Note: There are Amazon Affiliate links in this post. I make a small commission if you click on a link and make a purchase. This is of no additional cost to you. I recommend these products because I support them and have used or had experience with them. I would only recommend products because I think they are useful to you.
The elusive “improving engagement” monster. Previous clients I’ve worked with, people in Facebook groups I’m in, heck people all across the Internet want to know:
“How can I improve engagement on my social media posts?!”
It’s a far too common question and there are many answers that have been given.
Respond to commenters!
Ask your audience a question!
Share a quote!
While the above suggestions are great and have their place, there are ways to engage your audience that go deeper than sharing a graphic with an Albert Einstein quote. Below are four tried and true ways I have found that have increased engagement on social media posts for the long run.
And no, just posting a title of an article and tagging a person on Twitter is not going cut it.
Truly interact with other people on social media. Participate in Twitter chats, join a Facebook group and offer real advice, leave thoughtful comments on Instagram…it all matters.
People won’t genuinely comment on your profiles if you never comment on others. When commenting, share why you love their newest blog post/product/whatever it may be. When leaving advice, share from your personal experience what does or doesn’t work.
Also known as, pulling a Taylor Swift. Whether or not you like the previous-country-ballad-turned-pop-singer-sensation or not, she knows how to treat her fans.
In case you haven’t heard, last year T. Swift sent Christmas gifts to a few of her biggest fans on Tumblr. These gifts were personalized, with a hand-written note from Taylor. These fans were obviously surprised and so appreciative that Taylor took the time to not only send these gifts, but to write directly to them.
This created a storm across social media, as these girls who were sent gifts shared on their social networks their surprise gift from Taylor.
You don’t need to be Taylor Swift to pull this off. Send your top five best customers a gift card with a personalized message, offer access to your next online e-course a week before it launches, send flowers to your most interactive Twitter follower…the options are endless.
Brainstorm ideas of what your specific customers/clients would appreciate and make the gift heartfelt. They will pay you back ten-fold by sharing on social media and interacting with your social platforms.
Posting on social media as a business can sometimes be soul-sucking. Not to get grim, but it’s the truth. So many businesses think they must stick to what is “business appropriate” at all times. And while I agree with that most of the time, sometimes you need to let some personality shine.
People like interacting with other people, and if your business seems more like a human rather than a robot, more people will interact with you on social media.
Share a personal side of your brand, like Pat Flynn:
Give a mini-update on your life, like solopreneur Kayla Hollatz:
Let your employees take over for your social media for a day, like Yelp cleverly does:
Wait, don’t you mean ask questions?
Nope, I mean answer questions. Give advice for free. This can be hosted on various different platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for starters. Sarah Morgan of XOSarah does this on her blog every other Friday and I think it is pure genius.
Tell your audience in advance that you will be answering questions on this date and this time about whatever you specialize in. Let your email subscribers know, (obviously) share on your social networks, perhaps even ask others in your same industry (other bloggers, friends, small businesses) to share your free Q&A.
Spending a small amount of time answering questions from your audience will go a long way. Your audience will be forever grateful that you took the time to answer their question, and it also shows your expertise in the field.
Hello and welcome to the blog! I’d like to share my background and experience in this post, so let’s get right to it!
I graduated from Purdue University in May 2010 with a degree in Public Relations and Rhetorical Advocacy, with a minor in Sociology. Boiler Up!
From their, I briefly worked at a vacation rental company in Vail, Colorado. While it was a fun summer living in Vail, living there long-term was not realistic.
After applying to, oh, I don’t know how many jobs (an insane amount, that’s for sure), I finally landed a job at the Chamber of Commerce in the town where I went to college. There, I served as an administrative assistant, helped plan events, managed new member welcome procedures, and whatever else they needed help doing.
I knew it wasn’t a long term place for me though, as I never desired to stay in Lafayette, Indiana.
The next move was to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where my husband received a job. Though I was not jumping up and down at the thought of moving to where it was even colder (I’m so a warm weather person), it was the best move for us at the time.
We lived in Milwaukee for four and a half years. While there, two jobs helped launched my career in social media marketing and digital content creation.
I first worked for a company in the recruitment industry, where I managed social media accounts for up to 11 clients simultaneously. It took a lot of planning, organization, and communication to be able to create content as well as respond to comments on the social platforms for 11 clients.
I then moved to a broader digital marketing role at a university in downtown Milwaukee. There, I was able to truly help build an overall marketing plan for a department, primarily focusing on digital content such as email marketing, social media, re-targeting ads, and digital ads.
After two and half years at the job, my husband received a job offer located in Dallas, Texas. After a lot of praying, discussing, and planning, we decided to make the move across the country to warmer weather (much to my happiness, I’ll admit!).
As we were making plans for our move, I obviously could not keep my currently held job, as working in higher education quite often depends on you physically being in the office (at least from my experience).
I brought up the idea of potentially working for myself to my husband and he agreed now was a great time to try it out. Concurrently with the move, we had paid off our last debt payment (no car payments, credit cards, or student loans – hi-YAH!) so we would have the wiggle room to let me try this whole entrepreneur/small business owner/freelancer business.
And that brings us to now!
I’d love to work with clients that also are building their small business, whether that be a fellow entrepreneur or blogger, local restaurant owner, photographer, fitness studio owner, or beyond.
I want to help other passionate small businesses thrive in the digital marketing space, especially through their social media platforms.
Check out my services page for more information, or send me an email if you’d like to work together!