You've heard it before. If you truly want to market your business, you should be participating in social media.
But let me tell you a secret that smart business owners know.
You need a "social media marketing system" for your business. Without a system, social media will become an endless pit of wasted time -- and money. And before you know it, you'll be second guessing whether those so-called social media gurus know anything.
Here are six steps to creating a social media system. Don't wait. Put these six pieces in place in your operations, today:
1. Get It on a Calendar
By that I mean, make time for social media but schedule it into a regular routine so it doesn't eat your entire afternoon.
Use a social media calendar to help plan your strategy, bring order to your activities, and limit the amount of time you need to invest. You can be as detailed or as broad as you like in your calendar. Whatever meets your style. But a schedule will make you conscious of time. And it will help you develop consistency.
Here's a template for a social media calendar to help you organize your thinking and activities.
2. Use Autopublish
Autopublish means you can automatically schedule each of your new content posts to go out on social channels as soon as you publish them on your blog. This saves time because you don’t have to manually share each item on your social channels.
Zoho Sites offers this feature for those that use it. (Zoho Sites is what this blog uses.) But it's possible to use other autopublish tools with different kinds of blogs, such as the Jetpack plugin for WordPress.
3. Schedule Updates Repeatedly Using a Tool - But with Variety
Don't just autopublish. You will get the best results from sharing the same piece of content multiple times. Why? Because updates appear in followers’ feeds for a very short period of time. You want to give your content sufficient chances to be seen.
This is where a social media management tool can be great. A scheduling tool brings consistency to your efforts, and it helps you expand visibility of your content.
Hootsuite and Buffer are two well known choices. But if you are a Zoho One user, the Zoho Social app is included and it is great. Zoho Social can even predict the time your post is most likely to get engagement and help you schedule. Zoho Social is the tool we use in my company.
So once a week you can schedule content to be distributed on various channels over upcoming days and times -- providing variety for your audience, but ensuring the widest number of people see your content. By scheduling everything at once, you can easily see how much time you are allowing in between shares and you can vary the messages, yet achieve consistency in reach.
When you schedule repeat shares do it smart:
Alternate updates with sharing other content in between for variety. No one wants to see the last 10 tweets on your account pushing the same piece of content with nothing else in between.
Vary the message text. Don’t just repeat the exact same words, as identical updates could be flagged as spam.
Schedule content shares over a period of weeks or months. In other words, don’t risk irritating followers by pushing the same piece of content for the next few days. Think longer term. With a longer time horizon you have more ability to intersperse variety in between.
4. Use Curation Sites to Syndicate Your Content
Posting to your social media channels only shares your content with your followers. Content curation sites, on the other hand, syndicate your content and share it with a much larger audience including people who aren’t connected to you and people who don’t know about you but perhaps should.
There are a lot of content curation sites where you can share your content. Compile a short list of these -- or install toolbar buttons for them -- so you don’t have to think about where to put your content. When you have a routine, it takes just a few minutes to go down the list and share your content. Syndicating becomes second nature and easy.
Here is my list of favorite content curation sites:
Simply take a few minutes to post content that is relevant and appropriate to your brand.
5. Automate Reporting, Then Test and Experiment
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms have their own analytics tools. But wouldn’t it save time to have all analytics in one place?
There are tools for that. One simple free tool (with premium upgrades available) is Cyfe. You can select all of your social media channels and track their performance inside a single simple dashboard.
Another tool that has analytics is Zoho Social Media Analytics.
Pick a tool to provide reporting. Your next challenge is to map out exactly what you want to measure. Here are some ideas:
Identify your best posts (which drive the most traffic and which are shared most often) and on what platforms they do best.
Crack the code on what types of social activities drive engagement with your followers. For instance, by measuring you will see which activities (shares, comments, liking, etc.) get the most engagement. Also track overall engagement levels on your social channels.
Analyze brand performance by tracking growth of social media followers and other signals.
By tracking and reporting in one consolidated place, you save valuable time that could be otherwise wasted. For instance, without measuring and analyzing what works, you could end up creating content your audience doesn’t care about.
6. Keep Doing What Works - Drop What Doesn’t
In this article, we’ve given you five specific strategies for saving time on your social media. While it might be tempting to get all excited and do them all at once -- don’t!
Look for where you are experiencing the best results. Experiment and measure adjustments one at a time, so you can isolate what is actually moving the needle. Adjust what you do based on results; rinse and repeat. By taking a measured and methodical approach, you also save time by not engaging in fruitless activity.
One last point: Delegate -- but don’t abdicate! Delegating your social media marketing to a team member or outsourcing to a consultant is effective IF you monitor reports and ask probing questions occasionally. Stay interested.
Set up your social media system early, and tie it back to your marketing strategy. This way, you drive purpose and structure for social media -- instead of just a whirlwind of haphazard activities.
Devote 30 days to immersing yourself in the strategy and implementing it in your business. Even if you ultimately delegate daily activities, it’s important as a leader to be involved in the beginning to give direction.
Track your results and drop your less effective tasks. Keep the rest and move on to the next strategy that you think will save you more time.
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