In the context of running a business, putting time into social media has slowly but surely gone from a frivolity to a necessity. It’s simply too monumental a resource to be overlooked, being vital in several key areas including marketing, research, and customer service — but using it optimally is a major challenge due to the scale of the work involved.
Not only can making the most social media be more complicated than it sounds (most notably when adapting to suit each platform and the preferences of its users) but it can also demand a lot of time and effort. It’s hard to stand out given the relentless pace of updates, after all. This calls for efficiency improvements wherever they can be made.
In this guide, we’re going to pick out some key suggestions for streamlining your social media process and strategy, speeding things along and making your life much easier as a result.
Schedule your posts ahead of time
It’s certainly true that your social media posts should be doled out one by one at the most impactful times, because the power of a social media post will depend heavily on when it goes live (the pace of updates means that new posts are quickly displaced by newer posts) — but that doesn’t mean it should be done through manual effort.
Instead, you should compose and schedule your social media posts so they go out at the perfect times without fail (and without manual oversight). This is particularly valuable if you’re trying to market something in a foreign territory, because you might want to post something in the middle of the night to cater to a different time zone.
Use a dedicated social media machine
Particularly when you’re running a small business, you can do almost everything through just one laptop, and that’s fine most of the time but not a great idea when you have scheduled posts. Some services operate through the cloud, but plenty don’t. Do you want to risk your machine crashing and seeing various elements of your social strategy fail to deploy?
This is why I suggest having a separate machine used largely to run scheduled services. It doesn’t need to be high-performance, just reliable, and you can easily position alongside your usual computer setup. You can even use the same peripherals to make life easier: there are KVM switches at StarTech that can make it simple to share your keyboard, mouse and monitor, letting you move from your usual machine to your social media machine with one button press.
Draft content to be repurposed
An optimal social media strategy will generally encompass posts for multiple platforms, greatly expanding the content requirements. If you want to have 20 posts each month for each of Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest, that’s 100 posts per month — and that sounds like an intimidating workload. But you don’t need to write 100 original posts.
Instead, you can take one topic, write a broad foundation, and build it into various similar pieces. For example, on a subject like reputation management, you could jot down myriad observations before using them to create various overlapping posts. In that way, you can end up with 100 unique posts that stem from just 20 wide-ranging drafts.
Outsource tasks when warranted
Various things go into creating good social media content. You need to write copy, create visuals, conduct research, record audio, devise animations… It all depends on the context, but a well-rounded strategy will feature a lot of rich media. Now, you may have skills in some of those areas, but you’re probably not proficient in all of them — and even if you were, would you have the time to take personal responsibility for everything?
Instead of trying to do everything yourself, you should outsource tasks when you consider it justified. If you need an infographic designed and you have the stats ready to go but you lack any graphic design skills, you have three options: try to do it yourself regardless (and get a terrible result), turn to a generic infographic designer like Venngage (and get a mediocre result), or outsource it to a competent graphic designer and get something decent.
To use social media platforms most effectively, you need to streamline things as much as possible, and these tactics will help you do just that. Queue up your posts, use a dedicated machine to ensure continuity, use the same content to create numerous pieces, and outsource anything you can’t get done quickly and effectively. Good luck!
Also published on Medium.