Is it really possible to use social media to grow your business without feeling completely overwhelmed, utterly exhausted and bewildered as to how anyone actually does it?
Yes, in fact it is possible - all you need to do is hire a social media manager …. KIDDING! Of course that IS an option and a very good one too however, there are lots of things you can do for yourself that’ll not only reduce the overwhelm, but increase the quality of what you produce, the efficiency with which you produce it AND make it a whole lot more fun.
1. Have a plan
Ok, go on, roll your eyes. I know it’s not exactly appealing for everyone, particularly the creative, spontaneous, intuitive types, but hey, it actually works. Like maps and recipes.
It doesn’t have to be fancy, that’s really not important, but what is important is that you know what you’re doing when you sit down to do it.
Grab a blank piece of paper, use the calendar on your phone, or use Evernote - whatever is easy for you. Then just make a list of WHEN, WHERE, WHAT. Start with a week and then push out to a month.
For example, you might post twice daily to Facebook and once to Instagram.
WHEN: Monday (time) WHERE: Facebook WHAT: Share an article
Monday Facebook Inspirational quote
Monday Instagram Inspirational quote
… then Tuesday and so on.
This simple practice will help you feel more organised, less reactive and be much more efficient with your content creation. What’s more, planning content means your topics and posts are more likely to flow and have relevance to each other - that continuity is important. Plus, the further out you’re planned, the more time you have for searching, researching and creating your content rather than it being a last-minute job. And that means better quality.
Get those ideas out of your head and into a plan.
2. Block content creation time
Once you’ve got at least a rough plan, you can block out time in your calendar to create the pieces according to the plan. Consistency and repetition makes habits so PLAN + CALENDAR = GOOD HABIT.
The beauty of having the plan in conjunction with time in your calendar is that when you sit down for that time, you don’t waste a chunk of it trying to decide what to make, write or do. Which is why just 10 minutes can be highly productive … and 10 minutes is doable, isn’t it?
Your plan says to do this, your calendar says you’ve got 10 minutes. Sit down, stay out of rabbit holes, get the job done - BOOM. Repeat.
3. Use scheduling tools
No need to be on the treadmill constantly. You’ve got your plan and you’ve got your calendar. In addition to creating, part of the time in your calendar needs to include scheduling - it’s the next step and it completes the job. Create the content then schedule it to be posted at the time and place (WHERE and WHEN) on your plan. Done.
If you don’t already use a scheduler, both HootSuite and Buffer offer free versions and I would highly recommend both for getting started.
4. Choose one or two networks and go deep.
You don’t have to be everywhere. That’d be great, but only if your resources, primarily time and energy, allow you to be everywhere well. Better to show up in one or two places with quality and consistency rather than spreading yourself too thin and being patchy.
Going deep means listening, learning and serving your audience really well. Doing this will reduce your overwhelm, increase your knowledge and confidence, and enable you to cultivate better relationships with your people.
5. Re-purpose your content.
Yes, it’s ok to re-use your content and you should! If you’ve put time and effort into creating something of great value, you absolutely should get the most out of it.
This is especially true for longer form content like blog posts, but the same goes for other forms too. You can share the same content to other networks, making sure you tweak the language, image size etc so it fits, and you can say the same thing in a different way on the original network. It’s ok to post the same content more than once - just give it some time, change it up, add new comments, and edit or change the image.
6. Be spontaneous
Spontaneity on social media is important - when you’re inspired, create! Inspired action is worth 10X grind action and both are necessary.
When you get an idea, you can either create and post on the spot like an added bonus, or you can pop it into your planner as a way of remembering the idea for later. Either way, you win. Of course, with your scheduling tools in the mix too, you can create the content and schedule it for later, which means you capture the inspiration and get a bit of work done in advance all in one shot. That’s content in the bank.
7. Keep it real - be human.
You don’t have to be ‘all that’. You don’t have to get it right all the time, just keep going. Let your personality shine through and be you. At the end of the day, social media is about real people and real relationships. Don’t stress, just engage.
8. Do less and do it better.
Quality trumps quantity and if you have to choose, choose quality. Cranking out the volume won’t win the marathon and will most definitely contribute to your overwhelm. As above, you are not a machine, you are a human being trying to connect and engage with other human beings to form relationships. Relax, you’ve got this.
9. Curate other people’s content
Coming up with original content all the time can be very time-consuming and overwhelming, so it’s good idea to share other people’s content too. When you do this though, make sure you’re thinking about the value you can give to your audience by adding your own voice to what you share. Rather than just sharing a link, or an image, add your own comments, perspective or opinion - start the conversation. You’ve also got the opportunity to connect with the original author, or creator, by tagging or mentioning them. Again, it’s about people, not churn.
10. Get help
Last, but not necessarily least, getting help might be the best option for where you’re at. Find a social media manager, or a virtual assistant - someone you can trust. Develop a plan with them and get the stressful stuff off your plate. You don’t have to outsource the whole kit and kaboodle, but getting help with some of it can be a really good idea and invaluable to your business, not to mention your own headspace.
You might still want to create your own content, but just get someone to take care of the scheduling and posting. Or maybe you need help with the content, but are happy with the scheduling and account management. Whatever the case, finding someone to work with can take things to a whole new level, even with just a couple of hours a week.
Social media can seem like an insatiable beast sometimes, but it’s a beast that can totally be tamed. Keep the overwhelm at bay and you’ll not only feel better, but what you produce and the connections that come from it will be better too.
Andrea - Pepper Street Social