***Guest Blog Series | Pierce Social | By Alicia Grace ***
Social media is an important key to any business’ marketing plan, whether offline or online (especially online!), but can also hurt your productivity the most.
Engaging with potential customers on Instagram can quickly turn into an hour of scrolling. 15 minutes spent creating a post on four platforms each day adds up to 5 hours a week, and this drains your productivity.
Fortunately, there’s a better, more efficient way to use social media for your business, and I’m here to share with you how I do it.
Create a content library
Inspiration is everywhere, and at least once a day, I see an inspirational quote and think that my audience would love it. I’m sure the same happens to you too. Instead of trying to store it in your brain (because we all know you’ll forget it by tonight), write it down somewhere consistent.
Since I use Trello, I have a ‘Quote ideas’ card where I write down quotes I love. Once I’ve used a quote, I delete it.
The same thing goes for ideas you come up with. Messages and captions that pop into your head can be written down quickly, so that you can use it the next time you’re planning out your posts. If you take pictures on your phone, create a ‘Content Library’ or ‘Possible Instagrams’ album where pictures you want to upload on social media can be stored.
Plan out your posts in advance
This is the #1 thing that you should be doing to work social media productively. Instead of struggling to think of new captions each time you want to post to Instagram (and I know writer’s block can be real!), write your captions out once a week.
The key to making this work for you is to actually create a schedule. Decide on how much time you need to plan out your posts, and when you can block off that time. This should be uninterrupted so that you can get your creative juices flowing and really crank out those posts. Block it off in your calendar just like you would any appointment.
Once you do this, you won’t have to do a thing for social media or even lift a finger for the next week. Instead, you can focus on actually growing your business.
If you’re worried about whether scheduling posts is authentic, don’t be. Everything’s the same: it’s your voice, your message, and your brand. All that’s different is who (or rather, what) triggers that ‘publish’ button. Oh, and the literal hours that you save.
One last thing: scheduling your social media posts is not only good for productivity, but it’s also great for strategy as it helps you be more consistent with your brand, and do things like test out different posting times. If you haven’t tried it yet, you really should!
My favourite resources:
- Later: Instagram
- Hootsuite: most platforms
- Buffer: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+
Set Aside Time to Engage
We all know how it feels to waste away hours on Facebook without realising it. The same can happen on your business social media accounts, and the best strategy to combat this is to set aside specific time to engage and curate content.
If your business needs you to check in online throughout the day, set yourself a 5-minute timer each time so that you don’t get carried away.
Focus on the Platforms That Work
Just because Kate Spade has Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and Spotify (?!) doesn’t mean you have to, too.
Spend some time to research which platforms are best for your business. In other words, where does your target market hang out online? Do they love Facebook, enjoy Instagram, or prefer watching videos on YouTube? If you’re already on several platforms, assess which ones are actually bringing in results and focus on them.
Pick 1 or 2 platforms to begin with, and once you’ve gotten the hang of it and built a steady following, you can explore others. I’ve personally spent the past few months on Instagram, and I’m moving into Facebook and Pinterest now.
Being focused in your social media efforts is really important both because it helps you be more productive, and because it is the best thing you can do for your social media strategy. A carefully crafted Facebook page and Instagram feed show much more about your brand and quality of work than attempts to manage several platforms at once.
Write down everything in your social media process, and see how you can streamline it. Even though we may post each day, chances are that you might miss out a crucial step every now and then, and having a checklist will ensure that you’re on track.
This one is really important especially when you’re using social media to actively promote your products (or services!) and blog posts. This list should include all the things, from photography (or finding stock photos) to what happens after you hit ‘post’.
What is my checklist? Here’s what I use for Instagram:
- Design product shot
- Write caption
- Edit and finalise caption
- Choose hashtags
- Schedule post
- Post image
- Post hashtags in a comment
- Reply to all comments the next day
This might seem a little long, but it’s just super detailed. Other than the actual picture and caption, the rest of my process takes me less than 5 minutes in total.
There You Have It
The secrets to creating a productive social media schedule that works for you is to create a content library, plan your posts, set aside a specific time to engage, and focus on the platforms that produce the best results for your business.
Do you have any tips to being productive on social media? Let me know in the comments!
Alicia is the founder of Alicia Grace Co, where she designs printable planners that enable women to achieve their goals with productivity, planning, and time management tools. She has a Law degree from the University of Cambridge and enjoys engaging with goal-getters, especially creative entrepreneurs. In her free time, she is either digging into a good book, food hunting, or snuggling with her very fluffy puppy.