As the old adage says: time is money. And for nobody is this more true than the SME trying to effectively utilise the power of social media. Research by Statista, conducted between 2011 and 2015, revealed that each year there are an increasing number of marketers spending 16+ hours per week on social media and of course, it goes without saying that using social media gets results – otherwise 92% of marketers wouldn’t place such a high value on it. But for SMEs with limited time to spare, is that amount of time too much for your business?
The difficulty with managing time effectively when it comes to social media marketing is that it is an ongoing campaign. Unlike a traditional advertising project with a defined beginning and end, the use of social is a constant – you are constantly striving to remain relevant, network and engage. As many SMEs will understand, sometimes there are simply not enough hours in the day as it is; factor in poor time management on social media and you could easily end up frittering away those precious hours.
The bottom line is it is essential to manage your time on social media effectively. Simple in theory but it takes organisation and focus to put into practice. Here are a few top tips on how to do it:
1. Delegate effectively
There is a common dilemma many SMEs face when it comes to delegating responsibility for their social media marketing. One person is often assigned the duty of taking care of all things social, usually alongside another role. After all, it does make sense to have one point of contact and a consistent approach. However, this can result in the poor soul stretching themselves way too thin. Creating valuable, relevant content to post takes time. Monitoring channels and engaging with customers can also be a lengthy process. And what about researching and staying on top of current trends and best practice?
Instead, why not bring the strengths of your whole team into play? Many will have specific knowledge and skill-sets that can be put to good use in different areas. Divide up the tasks and demonstrate the conquering power of team-work.
2. Schedule your social media
Although deviating from a strict plan with the odd post is certainly encouraged, ensure that your basics are covered by planning posts and publishing days ahead of schedule. Social media calendars will ensure you remain consistent, stay on track and keep an eye on your results. Whether you choose to use a simple spreadsheet or a scheduling tool such as Buffer, Hootsuite, CoSchedule or Social Bump (to name a few), scheduling your posts in advance will cut down on valuable time – even logging into each channel and updating manually can be avoided with the right planning and tools.
3. Batching is king
Working in batches is a highly regarded method when it comes to maximising productivity. Instead of creating social media content as and when, dedicate a specific period of time to doing it all at once. This method allows you to fully focus on the task at hand instead of the lost transition time that occurs naturally when switching between different tasks. It also means that by working to a plan in advance, you are much less likely to forget to do something crucial than if you are creating posts on an ad hoc basis.
4. Stick to a timeframe
There’s something addictive about social media. Checking for updates can eat into your time so you need to ensure you stay disciplined. Allocate specific set time-frames each day for monitoring updates and responding to posts on social media. And if your customers are expecting faster responses, think about hiring someone to take care of this for you, alerting you only if you are needed to respond to something personally.
5. Know your goal
Ultimately, all your social media efforts will come down to one thing – what do you want to achieve? Ensure you have clear objectives, whether this is to increase followers, generate leads, increase spend from existing customers or building relationships – your goal will instruct how you choose to spend your time on social media, a crucial step to utilising time effectively.
Following these tips should help you on your way to growing an excellent social platform without wasting too much time, no matter what the size of your business.Ben Hollom
August 28, 2015