Social media marketing strategies can get incredibly complicated. There always seems to be so much to do and so little time. However, there are ways to keep it simple once you know how.
It doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. In fact, once you are up and running, you can get away with spending very little time on social media which will free you to get on with all those other niggly tasks that often get left behind.
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Know your niche
The niche research you did when you first started your business should have revealed your people’s interests, pain points, problems, and spending limits. If you’re not sure, do some research.
Have a look at others in your niche. Check out their social media platforms, the type of content they create that creates engagement and where they spend most of their time.
Use this information for queues as to the type of content you should be looking at creating and how they present themselves.
Find out where your audience hangs out
Find out where they spend their leisure time on the Internet and target those sites. There’s no point in banging away on a social network if the ideal customer in your niche isn’t hanging out there.
For example, a lot of DIYers spend time on Pinterest so it would make sense to target Pinterest if you run a DIY website.
Travel and food bloggers tend to do well on Instagram. Instagram a primarily visual social media platform so it is the perfect place to showcase your amazing travel photos or that colourful bowl of salad.
Business and finance websites may find that LinkedIn gives them a boost.
Put your stalker cap on and find out where your audience chills out. Once you have done this look at least 10 influencers in your niche to see what content is most popular with their followers.
Brainstorm hot content
Hot content is the kind of content that will appeal to those in your niche. As you do your niche research, you will probably see the same questions coming up repeatedly. Make a list of them and create content that answers these questions. It is also a good idea to create paid products that do as well. Free products often lead to paid products.
Some places to brainstorm hot content
- Online forums such as Quora and Reddit are a good place to start. See what questions come up repeatedly, topics that may provoke discussions or a friendly debate, information that is often passed on or even interesting links that you can share.
- Facebook Groups are a great place to gauge your audience. Join niche specific groups and again take note of the most frequently asked questions, debates, links and other information.
- Pinterest is another good scoping place. Have a look at the pins in your smart feed and see if they spark any ideas for content.
- Twitter also provides a good insight into your audience. Have a look at others in your niche to see what topics they tweet about, links they share and tweets that provoke engagement.
- Your own website. Take a look at your analytics to see which posts perform best for you. These are the topics that your audience is interested in. Create social media posts around this content.
Brainstorm 50 ideas for your social media platforms using at least 2 of the above places
Read More: Top Twitter Tips
Leverage the content you create
Make every piece of content you create work hard for you. One of the best ways to do it is to put it into more than one format. For example, your content could be an article, top-10 list, or a video.
You can then use this content in your social media calendar to give it even more leverage. Boom! Squeeze all you can from your content and use it to your advantage.
Have a look through the content you already have and brainstorm ideas on how you can reuse this in your social media posts.
Create a publishing schedule
Once you leverage your content, schedule it. However, don’t publish leveraged content on the same topic back to back. You can use your blog scheduler to set the date and time in advance and, for example, publish one each month for several months.
The plugin Editorial Calendar for WordPress is incredibly useful. If you are working in a team, set up a shared calendar to make sure something of value is being published regularly. Trello is good for this.
If you have an editorial calendar you can plan your social media content around your calendar. For example, you may be launching a book in 6 weeks time. In the lead up to your launch, you can start gradually promoting it.
I am a big fan of calendars (I have 2 in my kitchen alone). They can help you plan in advance by seeing your schedule at a glance. You can then fit your posts around upcoming events.
Start drafting up a content calendar for the upcoming month
Read More: 5 niches ripe for Instagram
Use automated tools
WordPress has a range of plugins that will create share buttons so people can just click to share on the social networks. In addition, they have plugins that will announce your new content on your social sites automatically, such as WordTwit for creating a link to your content on Twitter.
Then there are specific tools that will allow you to schedule social media posts in advance, such as Buffer, Hootsuite and CoSchedule which will link with a number of different social media platforms. Planoly is a great tool for Instagram and Tailwind, my favourite Pinterest scheduling tool.
These tools have both free and paid levels, so you have nothing to lose by trying them out and seeing how useful they are. If they make your publishing on the social networks easier, the cost will more than pay for itself in terms of the amount of time you will save.
Tips for using a social media scheduler
- Schedulers are designed to save you time and make your life that wee bit easier. There is no point in using it if you are going to pop in there every day to schedule. Put some time aside weekly or monthly and do all your scheduling at once.
- You will still need to go into your social media sites regularly so that you can respond to comments and engage with your followers. If you just set and forget, there will be little point in using the tool as your followers may lose heart with you
- Some schedulers, such as Buffer, will let you schedule straight from a website or Twitter. If you see something that you think your followers will find valuable, add it to your scheduler straight away so you don’t forget about it in the future. It only takes a click and will add it straight to your queue.
- Before you set up your next batch of tweets or posts, have a quick squizz through your analytics to see what type of content performs the best for you and adjust your schedule as necessary
How I schedule my posts
I use Planoly for my Instagram, the inbuilt Facebook scheduler for Facebook (Facebook doesn’t like third party schedulers) and Tailwind for Pinterest. I used to use Buffer for Twitter and have used Hootsuite in the past but I prefer to manually tweet.
At the end of each month, I schedule my Instagram for the following one. I use a free hashtag generator to find new hashtags and copy and paste them into a word document.
Once all my photos are edited and arranged in the order I like I add my captions with the relevant hashtags. I still go into Instagram daily to like, follow and comment on other people’s content but I’m not struggling for ideas, captions and hashtags each day which makes me enjoy Instagram more.
After I have scheduled Instagram, I keep Planoly open then schedule my Facebook for the following month. I do a tips post every Wednesday on my Facebook and every 4th Instagram post.
I tend to use similar captions for these posts. However, they get altered slightly and put them in a different order so the same content is not being seen over and over.
I try to do a mixture of tips, links, sharing other people’s content and quotes.
As I am scrolling through Facebook, procrastinating on tasks that I should be doing instead, if I see a post that I want to share to my audience I will save it (using the three little dots at the top of the post) and add it to a collection. I have made several collections on different topics. They are kind of like secret boards on Pinterest.
Then when I go to schedule my Facebook, I can look through my collections and pull content from there. Boom!
At the beginning of the month, I will schedule my Pinterest until the same time the following month. I use Tailwind for this and have been for nearly 2 years now.
A bit of time going through Tribes and adding relevant pins to boards is spent before opening Pinterest and adding batches of pins to relevant boards (I am in the process of writing a post on how to do this). Whenever a new post gets published, it goes into the queue.
Once in a while throughout the month, I will go into my tribes and add some more pins to my queue. I try not to spend too much time doing this though as I get lost in the Pinterest/Tailwind vortex. Then I will often find I’ve all of a sudden lost several hours.
Have a look at a few different automation tools and see if any are going to suit your needs. Planoly is free and many of the others mentioned above have free plans for free trials.
Make an appointment with social media
Social media can devour your time if you’re not careful. If your schedule allows it, try to make some time in the morning and some time in the evening to go on your social media platforms. Half an hour for each appointment should be plenty.
Use this time to respond to comments, post in Facebook groups, answer questions, comment on other peoples posts, like their posts and follow new people in your niche.
Try not to go on social media between these times. You will quickly find yourself sucked into the vortex. Even if you try really hard not to, that vortex knows how to sucker you in. Trust me.
Only go on social media during the allocated time
Read More: How to leverage Facebook to drive traffic to your website
Have a plan
Plan your content in advance. This will make it more cohesive and gives your platform focus. When you post willy nilly (I love that saying), you will often find that you jump from topic to topic, are inconsistent and lack a clear focus. This can confuse your audience and can also come across as unprofessional.
Some planning tips
- Give yourself a goal and work towards that goal. It could be getting a certain amount of new followers, more traffic to your website, more engagement. Anything! If you have a goal, you will be more aware of the content you are posting and if it is relevant or not
- If you have a paid product coming out, plan your content to support your paid product. Position yourself as an expert before you even launch. Create anticipation and excitement. If you don’t have a plan, chances are that the date of your launch creeps up on you and you haven’t done anything on social media to promote it. Uh oh!
- Have set days for certain types of posts. For example, on my Facebook, I have a tips post every Wednesday and a quote every Sunday. On Friday’s a new blog post comes out so that gets that spot. I find it much easier to plan my content now that I have set days for some things.
Come up with a plan, man (sorry, couldn’t resist)
Once you get things organised, outsource the work to a reliable virtual assistant (such as this gal). Virtual assistants can save you a tonne of time, leaving you to all the niggly wee tasks that get left behind. They know their stuff and will have your social media platforms up, away and running smoothly with one less thing for you to worry about.
If you can’t afford a virtual assistant, bribe your teen with chocolate. That’s how I used to get my brother to mow my half of the lawns when we were growing up.
On a completely unrelated topic, you can check out my virtual assistant services here.
Decide if you do need to outsource or not and have a look around for something that is going to suit your needs. Be honest with yourself to see if you have the time or skills to keep up with your social media.
Social media can be time-consuming and you can get suckered into spending hours a day on it if you let it. If you have a clear plan, some tools at your disposal and loads of content to post, you’re ready to go!
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