Social media is an amazing marketing tool for small business owners, but it can be a huge time suck too. If you’re keen to claim back the hours you’re spending on social each week, try these time-saving tips from digital marketing expert Jayne Tancred.
Six social media strategies that will save you time
Give yourself enough time
It’s ironic, but the key to saving time creating social media is to give yourself enough time to do it.
Over the last few years, we’ve all been trained by the social behemoths to turn to their platforms whenever we’ve got a few empty moments in our days or are bored and looking for a little stimulation.
That’s all very well when it comes to consuming social media, but when you take the same approach to creating it, the amount of time involved can easily get out of control, leaving you wondering where the hours in your week went.
If social media is a significant part of your marketing strategy, then it also warrants a devoted block of your time so you can maximise both your efficiency and your effectiveness.
The optimal amount of time to block out will vary according to the type of content you want to publish, your confidence level and skillset when it comes to creating it, and your ideal posting frequency.
As a starting point, try blocking out a couple of hours a week and see what you can achieve in that timeframe. Doing that for a month or so will soon make it clear whether you can get away with less time, need to either allocate a bit more, or would be better off decreasing the type or frequency of your posts.
Strategise your content pillars
Next, decide on your content pillars. These are the topics you’ll consistently post on, helping to ensure that over time your audience gets to know you and the core things you offer.
You’ll want to make sure they’re topics that you can take lots of different angles on, and that you know are of interest to your target market. Good starting points for many small businesses include:
• Customer success stories
• Behind-the-scenes topics about your business and its daily operations
• The passion, beliefs and philosophies that drive you
• Engagement posts that create communication opportunities with your followers
• And of course, posts about your products and services and how people can do business with you
Customise the list above to the specific needs of your business objectives and or create your own so that when it comes to planning your posts you’ll quickly be able to decide what’s on your to-do list and what’s irrelevant.
Build a social media ideas bank
Once you know your content pillars, you’ll be able to stockpile your ideas and any interesting concepts you’ve seen in your travels. Some people call this a swipe file, but I prefer to refer to it as an ideas bank.
I’ve been accumulating mine for more than a decade, and it’s evolved into a treasure trove of material that I’ve been able to draw on for my social media posts more times than I can count.
If you’re currently spending lots of time spinning your wheels because you don’t know what to post about on social media, I encourage you to create an ideas bank too.
TOP TIP: The usefulness of my ideas bank for speedy social media planning escalated dramatically once I started structuring it in a way that aligns with my content pillars. If I was starting one from scratch, I’d do that from the get-go.
Plan your social media in advance and batch like a boss
On that topic, if you’re not planning your social media in advance, you’re not just wasting time – you’re also denying yourself the opportunity to approach it in a strategic way.
Designing your social schedule over several weeks or more at once gives you the opportunity to make sure all your most important messages are covered, that you’re creating some nice variety and that nothing gets missed later on because you suddenly became busy or needed time off.
And if you’re on a mission to decrease your social media production time, nothing beats creating it in batches.
I find it best to batching the writing and graphic design or video elements as separate chunks of work, but you might be wired differently to me. Give both options a go and see what you learn!
Perusing social media is predominantly a visual experience, and whether you’re posting images or videos, it’s the graphics on screen that will catch your viewers’ eyeballs.
That means that when it comes to planning, it helps to do so in a way that puts all the visuals in front of you simultaneously. There are multiple ways that you can approach this, but I like to use Trello (especially because I keep my ideas bank there too).
While you’re thinking about visuals, having a well-defined visual identity for your brand is another fantastic time-saving initiative. Using consistent colours and fonts on all your posts means you’ll spend less time deliberating about how something should look, and more time getting on with the important job of pushing ‘Publish’.
Schedule and automate
If you’re not already scheduling your social posts in advance, start now and save yourself time later.
Facebook and co would prefer that you use their in-built scheduling tools (and those are definitely worth perusing), but if they don’t meet your needs, don’t be afraid to look elsewhere; you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Since I’m super-productivity focussed, my scheduling tool of choice is one that allows me to quickly and easily repurpose posts that perform well and that plays nicely with Zapier and Trello so that I’m not spending a second of my day doing repetitive tasks that can be automated instead.
What are your top tips for speeding up your social media efficiency?
Now read this