There is no denying it: social media is a major time sucker. As a user and as a marketer or business owner.
You just want to check for some interesting stuff to retweet for 5 minutes and the next time you lift your head, 30 minutes have passed. Humans are social animals and we like to interact with friends and peers and we all love fascinating stories. But, unfortunately, you also have a job to do.
So how can you keep your social media channels engaging without spending hours every day? The magic word is "preparation"! We have put together an actionable plan (and a cheat sheet) that will take you only 1-2 hours a week.
Ready? Let's get to it!
Step 1: Create A Weekly Social Media Schedule With Daily Topics
Before you dive into a weekly routine, let's spend a few minutes to think about what topics could be interesting to your audience.
For example, let's say you sell solar panels. Your main target audience is, next to large institutions, a budget conscious homeowner who might or might not have a soft spot for environmental concerns and they love cars and tech gadgets!
You will want to keep it fun and entertaining, post about the latest solar-powered gadget, but talk about potential money savings, industry news and new developments in the market. Brainstorm with co-workers, check out the competition for inspiration and look at other leaders in related industries. What are they talking about? What posts get the most comments and likes?
Create a table with the days of the week and the social media platforms you would like to focus on - or simply get our cheat sheet. Then add a general topic in each of the weekdays, for example, "Fill in the blanks" or "Caption this picture" on Fridays. Research special hashtags that you could use - like #FunFact or #FunFriday.
This is like menu planning - it takes the guesswork out of what will you cook for dinner every night - just here you have a given topic that you post on.
Once a month, take a few minutes to review which topics worked and which did not get as many responses or interactions as you had hoped.
Step 2: Research Interesting Topics
Once you created a catalog of daily topics, it is time to put it to work. To find content to share, you can use several sources (besides your own content of course):
Check out how many times Guy Kawasaki posts on his social media accounts a day! He sources all his content from 10 websites!
Follow his example and compile a list of 10-15 relevant industry leading blogs that you trust and like to read. They can even be from your competitors, depending on your niche. These will be your go-to sources. Since you read most of these posts anyway, why not ask your audience questions about it or take your own spin on it?
Content Discovery Tools
There are some awesome content discovery tools out there to find content that will be interesting to your audience. Here are some I use:
- GetPrismatic - sign up, follow all the topics that interest you and off you go... fresh content! Click, read and make sure what you are sharing is awesome stuff.
- BuzzSumo - find what content was already very successful by date (e.g., last week)
- Scoop.it - You can add their Chrome Extension to scoop content to a board that you find interesting and discover other people's content
- Pinterest - If you are in a women-oriented, crafty, food or parenting related niche - Pinterest is a great resource! Search for something specific or get inspired by your stream - just check before you share!
- Google News - quickly check the news section for any relevant articles by entering some of your keywords
Step 3: Add Visuals & Supporting Copy
I am a big fan of adding visuals wherever you can (check out my earlier posts on the importance of visual communication). You can use Canva.com or PicMonkey.com to create professional looking images that support your message and help you break through the noise.
This can be an inspirational image with a nicely styled quote, a mini-infographic, an image optimized for the channel you target (Canva offers you the option to create Twitter posts, Facebook posts or Pin-size images already.
Step 4: Schedule Your Posts
Use a social media scheduling tool like HootSuite to schedule your posts. I use HubSpot's Social Tool since I am already a HubSpot partner.
I really like to use HubSpot for scheduling my social media messages since it will give me an optimized time and spread out the posts automatically.
I can easily attach blog posts, landing pages or images and schedule the same content for another tweet or post.
Once you are done, you can check them again in the calendar view and you are all set!
Step 5: Measure, Analyse & Tweak
Like anything we do in the Inbound Marketing sphere, we have to measure, analyze and tweak every so often. Find out what worked, what has not and what can be tweaked.