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!
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