If you own a small business or manage a brand, then you probably spend a lot of time on social media. Or perhaps you’re building your personal brand and feel it necessary to stay connected, but it’s overwhelming and consuming your day.
I don’t see social media as a chore or work- I love it, which is part of the problem. Tasks that shouldn’t take long often spiral into a wormhole of finding relevant accounts to follow and engage with or saving posts to share later, then I’m drifting through the explore page and before you know it I’ve spent an hour on one social channel. This is not sustainable, and if you’re running a business or managing a brand, it isn’t a good use of your time.
The goal is to stay accessible and engaged while maintaining a work-life balance. Here is the best advice I have found to be more efficient with my time on social media and then get back to my real life.
Most of the time wasted on social media isn’t from posting or even engaging- it’s from browsing. It’s easy to get distracted! Creating a simple social media calendar for the month and scheduling posts (we like Hootsuite) will save you time every day and keep you on task. It will also allow you to take a day off without feeling like you’ve lost momentum.
A social media strategy is more than a calendar though- it’s a firm grasp of why you’re doing what you’re doing on social media and making sure each action is tied to a goal. If you don't have clear objectives besides getting likes and followers, you're going to spend a lot of time floundering. Once you have a better idea of why you’re on social media to begin with, you can focus on those goals and focus less on what's trending or obsessing over getting more followers.
If you don't feel like your social media activity is adding value to your brand’s digital marketing efforts, maybe it’s time to assess all social channels and get back on track with a social media audit.
Decide how much time you need to spend on social media to make an impact, and at what point your efforts are not worth your time (or money). If you’re a social media manager, you’re obviously going to spend more time than others. For many others, a half hour to an hour is a good amount of time to hop on, interact, and log off until later in the day. If you log on in the morning to post or engage, don’t get back on to check it until the afternoon and set a time to do this.
Last year, Apple released a Screen Time feature to help limit social use. I started using this at the start of the year, and it has helped cut down on browsing.
Instagram will also show you how much time on average you spend on each account. Start by checking how much time you spend and try cutting it down each week.
Ever since the changing algorithms on Instagram, it has been a trend for brands to ask followers to turn on notifications, so they never miss a post. I’m not a fan of this trend, as I have enough communications blowing me up at all times. One way to stay more focussed and not be pulled off task into social media is to turn off these notifications. You don’t need a hundred emails about what happened on Facebook or Twitter, and getting a push notification on your phone that a vintage shop you follow just added a new post is just excessive. You can modify settings to be notified when a follower has commented or messaged you so they can promptly be responded to.
Is social media taking your focus away from other priorities? You can do it on your own, the resources are there, and there aren't any big social media marketing secrets you can't find with a simple search. Here's our Partnership Director, Brooke's, take on outsourcing:
"My business partner Matt and I have a wish list of “wouldn’t it be nice if we could do X,” and we’ve prioritized that list. Our focus on growth and even more narrowed focus on controlling what we’re good at allows us to knock one item off of that list at a time.
This list includes things that we can’t do, things we don’t want to do, or things that we know someone else could do better. When you boil it down, that’s the beauty of outsourcing. You get to choose someone else, who’s best positioned to do something for you to further your progress."
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