Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist swears by minimalism when it comes to social media and he does have a point. Businesses lose precious time getting lost and wading through the ocean that social media is for apparent reasons. When ROI off social media itself is hard to predict, losing time just adds salt to the wound. Marketers go clueless while businesses wince at the thought of losing billable time to “likes, shares, and mentions.”
An infographic from the Vertical Marketing Blog drives the point straight home (visually). At least 43% of small business owners spend 6 or more hours per week on social media alone and 11% spend a sinful 11-20 hours per week on it. Out of all those business owners, CEOs, partners and proprietors, at least 33% don’t want to spend that kind of time on social media.
More than 55% of small businesses have a blog where 45% of business owners spend at least 1-3 hours on creating a single blog post. 90% of small businesses are on Facebook and nearly 70% of businesses are on Twitter.
This is not to diminish the importance of social media or the amount of time and effort expended on it. Businesses clearly understand the need to go social. They just don’t find enough time to do it. So, how do you find time to leverage the power of social media? Let’s find out.
Setup Social Media Workflow
Before you begin on any social media endeavor it is imperative to make sure you have a fool-proof in-house content creation and marketing strategy in place. No amount of interaction and updates will give you consistent returns if the foundation of your content strategy is shaky.
- Once you set up your blog or website, you need to be absolutely sure of its uptime. This probably makes you go “Duh” but it’s one of the most ignored pieces of common web sense—after you spend hundreds of hours on social media driving visitors to your site, one “Internal Server Error” message can hit your credibility for a home run. Find a reliable hosting
provider by digging into the mountains of reviews at Who Is Hosting This, SitePoint, or CNET.
- Set up an in-house project collaboration tools and software to help your team get organized, plan and get work done quicker and better. Asana, Basecamp, and Podio are some great options.
- Finally, after you have your social blitzkrieg map in place, amass the the weapons of mass socialization that will fit your strategy. Social Oomph, Buffer, and Nimble CRM deserve consideration. Apart from these, you can find a host of other tools to help create a social media workflow. By “workflow,” I specially want to emphasize the division of responsibility to update/respond along certain types of social interactions among your team members. It’s important that everyone is on the same page and social media content distribution remains systematic, streamlined, and efficient.
Now, that’s a start. This due diligence is necessary so you won’t snap your string once your kite is in the air.
Find the Optimal Time for Content Distribution
Once you setup everything, it’s time to find best possible time to go social. There are two aspects to finding this ever-elusive “optimal time.” One aspect is to find time for your own efforts on social media (this post focuses on this aspect, of course) and the other aspect is to find the best time to distribute content on your network (which depends on your target
market and analytics).
If you’re allocating a fixed duration of time such as an hour a day or so to your social media efforts, it pays to sync it with when your target audience comes online! However, since you can’t always do this in the real world, you depend on tools to schedule and plan your social content distribution. The key here is to load these tools with content in advance as much as you can, leaving room for impromptu updates.
Identify Downtime, Socialize As Much As You Like
Up to now, we talked of setup, initiation, and planned updates. Almost everything else you do on social media is impromptu, on the fly, instantaneous, and real-time. That’s where you’ll be most strapped for time and have trouble managing it. “Downtime” is your friend here. Downtime comprises of all those slippery spots in the day when you’re just wafting through the web and can’t seem to get anything productive done. Here are some ideas to harness the information you
come across during these times:
- Create a magazine on Flipboard—curating content has never been this easy. As and when you come across interesting or relevant stuff while doing something on your tablet or iPhone, all you have to do is “box” it into a “magazine,” straight off your mobile device. Since you can take your mobile devices (phones at least) wherever you go, content curation happens on the road.
- Milk those Social media apps on your smartphone to their fullest. Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn have their apps ready and preinstalled in most cases for you to use. As you consume and pass on content while traveling, at a party, in a meeting, or anywhere else, share it—or better still—schedule it!
- Find new ideas on how to share, engage, and re-engage with your social network. Take down your ideas on Evernote. You can even integrate Evernote with Nimble CRM using Zapier.
- Download the IFTTT app and set up automated redirects to your content distribution using its “triggers” and “actions.”
Social Media on a Break
What do you do when you take a break during the day? Most people actually don’t do much. If you work on a computer all day, you probably step out and take a walk.
When you come back though, don’t plunge into work already. Take 10 minutes and respond to messages on Facebook, shoot out five quick Retweets, see if you can re-pin an informative image, and throw out an endorsement on LinkedIn or respond to an unanswered question on Quora. You could catch up with a long-time pending read and then share it.
That’s all it takes. You don’t have to spend all day on Social media. An hour a day is far more than enough. You can bet that you have more than an hour for productive use when you sweep your downtime.
Putting social media on a to-do list will only be a drain on your time, effort, and resources. Since hiring a full-time social media manager is out of the question for the majority of us, optimizing the time already available is our best bet.