We’ve all grown accustomed to getting what we want, when we want it and it’s no different for fans and followers of brands. No doubt about it: social media managers have 24/7 responsibilities.
With those responsibilities comes the task of managing priorities. Social media’s many moving parts can cause feelings of overwhelm, but managing time and priorities is crucial. This is why many social media managers suffer from burnout.
During this process, your head will try to convince you to keep moving forward no matter what. It will say things like, “Oh, you didn’t finish every last thing. That’s ok, you can just work late.”
We’ve all convinced ourselves a time or two (or ten) that if we just work harder, we’ll be more productive.
Working hard is great but working smarter is better.
Interacting with customers, co-workers and the boss can easily command the bulk your time. Determining priorities, forming healthy habits, and respecting time will keep you focused and improve your productivity.
The duties of a social media manager vary from day to day, causing even the most organized manager to get off track and fail to meet goals. These 8 tips will help conserve your time and energy, increase productivity and even motivate you so that your job will become a more pleasant experience.
1. Focus on Habits, Not Goals
Every human has a finite attention span, which is now less than that of a goldfish. There’s a war for our attention right now. We’re knee deep in it everyday; it’s noisy and unrelenting. Too much information overloads the brain and makes it difficult to focus.
Setting goals is a key part of a social media manager’s duties but many results fall short because the habits required to reach the goals are rarely discovered or practiced.
Let’s say your goal is to create and publish three blog posts per week. But how will you get there? Action. Habit-driven action.
Determine the ONE number that matches the habit that drives the goal: three 800-word blog posts is 2,400 words per week or approx. 350 words per day. 350 is the ONE number that allows you to develop the habit. Write 350 words per day and you’ll achieve your goal!
2. Written Social Media Strategy
“If you don’t have time to do it right, what makes you think you have the time to do it over?” -Seth Godin
Social media strategy takes the guesswork out of social media, saves time, engages more customers and delivers better results.
The four core components of social media strategy are:
Don’t waste time on unproven tactics that don’t add up to anything. A winning social media strategy keeps your brand in the conversation and doesn’t allow malcontents and competitors to speak for you.
3. The 90-Minute Rule
Social media marketing is a creative process (contrary to what all the “tools vendors” tell you). Creativity needs breathing room. One of the reasons you feel overwhelmed or tapped out is because you haven’t designated a space, with no distractions, to focus on what matters most.
The 90-Minute Rule:
- Choose each next day’s most important task the evening before.
- Silence your phone, close all windows on your computer and put voicemail on do-not-disturb.
- Begin your work day focusing uninterrupted for 90 minutes on that one task.
- Routine is vital so commit to at least 21 days of practice.
Typically, you’ll get more work done during those 90 minutes, and feel more satisfied with your output, than you do for any comparable period of time the rest of the day.
4. Make Good Use of a Content Calendar
Working with a content calendar saves time and energy by gathering all of your blog and social media content into one document. It lets you to see both big picture and small details all at once so you can plan and schedule each release.
Now, you may be thinking, “I don’t really need a content calendar.” I used to think that, too! So let me propose something. Use a content calendar for 6 months and write me an email sharing your experience. Not once has anyone ever written saying they didn’t benefit greatly from using the content calendar.
Pro Tip: At Kruse Control, we use a Google Docs Calendar Template for our clients. It’s collaborative and easily edited.
5. Inspiration? Write It Down
“If I knew where inspiration came from, I’d go there more often.” -Leonard Cohen
Successful social media managers continually create content. At certain times, you hit a wall creatively and it’s smart to be prepared for this. Sitting and waiting for something to come to you when you’ve hit that wall only leads to frustration, which is a poor use of your time.
Creative people learn to respect the inspiration when it arrives and keep a place to store ideas as they come into focus.
I never know when something will inspire me so I make sure I have a solution for whenever it does. When I’m on the go, I use the Notes App on my phone. When I’m stationary, the Quick Draft option on my WordPress Dashboard is very handy to jot something down.
6. Schedule Content for Publication
There are many apps available to schedule your content so you don’t have to do it in real time. This saves time and frees you up to engage with fans and followers, field leads and track your efforts.
Post Planner is an awesome solution I’ve been using for years. It publishes to Facebook and Twitter and one of the main advantages is that you can set posts to repeat. We use it as “content library” and repurpose evergreen content regularly.
Pro Tip: Each month, set up a time where you can sit down with team members/co-workers and brainstorm content ideas for blog posts, status updates, tweets, etc. Take these ideas and craft them into entries on your content calendar.
7. Measure and Analyze Your Results
Measurement and analysis are vital in terms of real returns and profitability, but many social media managers are not tracking their results. Save time and get better results by identifying which strategies and tactics have the biggest impact, and which aren’t bearing fruit. If you don’t track, you’ll never know which is which.
To know exactly where to spend your time and effort, make social media more measurable. Begin with your goals and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Use those as beacons from which to measure and tie back to your results.
Goals >Strategy >Execute >Measure >Analyze >ROI.
8. Utilize a Blog Post Template
Crowdsourcing content is one of the best ways to save time and get better results. The customer-facing employees in your organization have so much knowledge and siphoning off a bit of it will greatly improve your content.
Whether it’s a team of many or a team of one, you’ll need a system to keep the pipeline full. A blog post template keeps each contributor focused on their knowledge rather than a blank page.
- Pick topic ahead of time (brainstormed from content calendar).
- Outline (brain-dump): three or more points or tips.
- Write one paragraph for each point or tip. Include one piece of research and/or link to support your point.
- Introduction paragraph: capture reader’s attention, state their problem and build urgency.
- Whenever possible, use a real-life story to illustrate your point or how you fixed a problem.
- Add image to illustrate your point.
- Closing paragraph, ask a question and/or add call-to-action.
Social media managers who save time and get better results remain motivated. Your audience appreciates what you do and comes back for more.
Social media managers are the custodian of a very valuable company asset. Everyday, you can choose to improve or diminish your effectiveness. Please use these tips to run social media so that it doesn’t run you!