Most businesses now use social media, but for a small business it can be overwhelming to try to get it all done – especially when you’re the one running the business. Social media can become a huge time-suck and make you feel like you’re spending lots of time without getting the results you want.
How do you avoid this?
There are numerous strategies that you can use to stay focused and improve your return on investment, or ROI. They work beyond social media as well, and you can apply them to your general productivity.
Prioritize Your Efforts
When it comes to social media there is no end to what you could do, the question is what you should Prioritizing seems obvious yet often we end up spending time on things that don’t really have a big impact.
It’s easy to get lost in social media, so be intentional about getting focused on results. Over the last few years social media has become much more competitive – businesses are now better off doing a few things well vs. many things poorly.
Once you’ve prioritized it is also helpful to think about your activities as efficiency or effectiveness. Is this something I should aim to do quickly or well?
For example, as I am figuring out best practices for Facebook ads and testing different things my goal is to aim for effectiveness – I need to put in some time to do things well.
On the other hand, posting to Twitter is something I want to be efficient at – I need to quickly post a few status updates a day that fit within my content plan.
Create a Time Strategy (and set a timer!)
When it comes to social media tasks they can usually take as much (or as little) time as you allow them to. In order to protect your ROI, it’s helpful to decide how much time you are willing to invest in a specific activity based on what it is worth for you.
When I have new employees I ask them to write a blog post. Many of them spend 4+ hours on their first post. For the first post that’s okay – I want them to feel comfortable with what they are writing, but on an ongoing basis a blog post isn’t high impact enough to justify that time investment. After their first post I set a limit – write a post in 45 minutes or less.
It is a little like cooking dinner – you can make a meal in 30 minutes or 30 hours. In theory, the 30-hour dinner will be much better, and there may be times that it is worth the investment (like Thanksgiving). But for the day-to-day meals 30 minutes to an hour will create a pretty good meal.
Think about ROI and decide how much time you will allow tasks to take up. Set a timer and manage your time closely.
Have a Plan and Workflow
In order to effectively manage your time it is important to have a plan and a workflow for every activity.
For example, if I log in to LinkedIn without a clear agenda, I can easily find myself 20 minutes in without having accomplished anything. I’ve scrolled through some news, liked a few updates, and checked in on a few friends.
Instead, if I login with a clear plan I can make those 20 minutes really work for me. I use a checklist that prioritizes what I am going to do on LinkedIn and challenge myself to spend my time efficiently adding value. My LinkedIn checklist looks something like this:
- Respond to connection requests
- Scan “people you may know” and add people
- Comment on 5 posts from high-value contacts
- Add a status update
- Create 2 posts in groups
The key to success is knowing what matters to drive value for my business and focusing on what matters most to me.
Use Automation and Tools
Tools, tools, tools. The most common things that people ask about in social media are which tools to use. There are tons of social media tools and different people find value in different tools based on their unique needs.
Investing in tools, processes, or systems to help you to become more efficient is a no-brainer. I once worked with an ad agency that manually created reports for their clients. They could have easily automated this for $50 – $100 a month and instead spent 10+ hours a month creating reports manually. Not only did they spend a lot of time, but the automated reports from a tool would have been better vs. what they were creating.
Determine if a tool will allow you to execute better or faster, and start by looking at the tools that have the potential to save you the most time.
Keep in mind that there are MANY tools available to achieve most tasks, and they are often fairly similar. Start evaluating a tool by thinking about what you really want to achieve. Then evaluate a handful of tools that have the features that you really need and do them well.
One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make is signing up for tools that they don’t have the capacity to really use. Make sure that you have the capacity to use the tool to really get results before you spend time researching and money signing up for it.
I’ll share some of my favorite tools on the free webinar I’m doing with Verizon Small Business. You can join in for FREE here!
Repurpose and Re-promote to Maximize ROI
One of the best ways to get more bang for your buck with social media is to re-promote and repurpose your content.
So many businesses create great content and then move on to the next post. If something does well for you – use it again! Some businesses on Facebook re-promote the same post 10 times a year to maximize the impact. On Twitter businesses can re-promote the same thing a number of times a week.
If the content is evergreen, meaning it isn’t tied to something time-based that would make it seem outdated, you can re-promote it even more to really maximize your ROI. Also, keep in mind that not everyone sees every post – so it is ok to repromoted your content.
You can also repurpose your content. If you have a blog post that performs well, consider turning it into a video or an infographic. You can also take the same idea and reposition it into a few different posts that will resonate with different audiences.
Being efficient in social media is extremely important if you want to drive impact and maximize your ROI.
Do you want to learn exactly how to do this? Join my Free Webinar with Verizon Small Business!
In this webinar we’ll cover how to:
- Avoid the social media time-suck
- Prioritize your efforts
- Create a strategy for how to spend your time to maximize results
- Use automation to drive your social media
- Build a workflow to manage social media effectively
- Identify top tools to use to get more out of social media
- Repurpose and re-promote content to maximize your impact