As an entrepreneur or business owner, do you often find yourself spending too much time online looking for content to share with your followers? Or, do you spend a good chunk of time trying to engage your audience?
If you answered yes to either question, you’re not alone. According to a survey, 43% of small business owners spend 6 hours or more on social media, with the vast majority stating that finding content to share being the most time consuming task.
And while social media can get the best of us, creating blog content is also right at the top of the list of time-consuming tasks.
Up to 45% of small business owners spend anywhere from one to three hours creating a blog post while 16% spend even more time than that.
By implementing these five social media management strategies, you’ll save time and help streamline your tasks – giving you the luxury to grow your business and take it to the next level.
1. Curate Content
Content curation, or the process of finding information that is relevant to your audience, can take up a lot of time.
Going from website to website – and reading blog post after blog post – can eat away at your time, making content management extremely time consuming.
To find content quickly, try these two tools.
If you find yourself saving bookmarks for every article, video, and image you want to share, you’ll probably end up with hundreds of bookmarks. Or, you might have dozens of emails sent to yourself containing links to articles you want to share later.
There’s no need to do this anymore. Pocket is a tool that saves content in one location. Pocket integrates with your browser so you can save articles with just one click. It also organizes your content based on whether it’s an image, article, or a video.
Pocket is available on Android, iPhone, iPad, and Kindle Fire too, so you can stay synced across multiple platforms.
Once you’ve started to add content to Pocket, you can check out recommended articles based on what you’ve been saving. This is a great way to find related content that you can share, instead of spending all day searching online.
Pocket integrates with over 500 other apps like Twitter, Evernote and Buffer. In addition, once you have a piece of content saved in Pocket, you can add it your Buffer queue, making social sharing a painless task.
Feedly is an RSS news aggregator, and there are two ways it can be used to curate content. One way is to simply find an article that you like, and copy the site’s URL into Feedly. That site will then be added to your news feed.
Another way is to let Feedly recommend articles for you. You can enter some of your favorite websites or pick categories that you’re interested in, and Feedly will pull the latest news stories from popular sites around the web.
You can organize the news articles into categories, or collections. This allows you to view all articles relevant to a particular topic such as startups, social media, SEO, or whatever topic you’re interested in.
You can browse through your feed to find articles that you want to share with your audience. Feedly integrates with other apps such as Hootsuite, Buffer, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on, to allow for easy sharing.
All in all, Feedly is an amazing resource to have in your arsenal when it comes to saving time with content curation.
2. Schedule Posts Ahead of Time
Instead of manually posting your content throughout the day, it’s much more productive to schedule your social media posts ahead of time.
Here are two popular social media scheduling tools to help you out.
Buffer is a popular tool that allows you to schedule your social media content. It can also analyze your social profiles and determine the best possible times throughout the day for you to post.
This increases the likelihood of your content being seen by your audience.
Buffer comes with analytics so you can see which of your posts received the most engagement – a feature that can help you build a more solid social media strategy going forward.
Buffer comes in both a free and paid version. The free plan only allows you to schedule up to 10 posts at one time, and you can only post to one social media profile for each supported social media platform.
Buffer’s Awesome Plan allows you to schedule up to 100 posts, and you can post on up to 10 social profiles for each supported social media platform.
This means that if you have multiple Twitter accounts, Buffer will allow you to schedule content that will post under both of your Twitter handles.
You can also install a browser extension that lets you quickly add content to your queue while browsing the web, and is available on Android and iOS too.
While Buffer does allow you to preschedule posts across the more popular social media platforms, it doesn’t currently support Instagram, Reddit, Tumblr, or some of the less popular social sites.
If your audience is found on other platforms – like Instagram – then you’ll probably benefit more from Hootsuite.
Hootsuite works the same as Buffer; it allows you to schedule social media posts, collaborate as teams, works across multiple social media platforms such as Instagram and Foursquare, and gives detailed analytics of your social media profiles.
Also, Hootsuite has a wide range of free and paid apps that you can integrate into the dashboard to really customize your social sharing.
And if you need content to share, Hootsuite comes with a built-in feature that will suggest content for you.
The only downside to Hootsuite is that, because it offers more, the dashboard is a bit more complicated to learn and isn’t as user friendly. Plus, analytics reports are not included in the price you pay for Hootsuite.
The free version of Hootsuite enables you to use three social profiles, and for up to 50 profiles, the Pro version currently starts at $9.99 with a 30-day free trial.
3. Segment Your Audience
Social media can eat away at your time – from reading feeds and threads to scrolling through Pins and, before you know it, an hour rolls by.
It’s also time consuming trying to sort through your Twitter feed and Facebook timeline. To make things a little less cluttered, try using Twitter lists and Facebook Interests.
Twitter lists are considered one of the most underused features of Twitter.
To get started, you create a list and then add specific people to that list. You can make your list public or private, and setting up a Twitter list is easy.
Instead of trying to keep up with your busy Twitter feed, you can see Tweets from just the people on your list. This makes it easy to retweet or like posts from the people you want to engage with.
Facebook Interests work just like Twitter lists – although it’s not as intuitive when it comes to getting set up.
Once logged into Facebook, scroll down your menu until you see Interests. If there’s anything listed under Interests, don’t click it. Instead, to create a list, you want to click on the word Interests.
Click on Add Interests and then Create List. You will then be able to add people and pages to your list.
Now, when you log onto Facebook, you can just go to your Interest List and view posts only from the people and pages you want to follow. This is a huge time saver in the long run.
4. Automate As Much Possible
It goes without saying that the best way to free up your time is to automate as much as possible.
If you schedule social media posts in advance, then you don’t have to worry about updating your social profiles every day. You can focus on creating more products and services to help grow your business.
But what if you could automate even more of your business? Here are two web automation apps to try out.
IFTTT, which stands for If This Then That, is a web-based program that uses simple cause and effect to perform actions.
IFTTT uses what it calls “recipes” to create a trigger that causes something to happen. For example, when you change your Facebook profile picture (the trigger), your Twitter profile picture could also be updated (the action).
All of this runs in the background – you just create a recipe. IFTTT was originally designed for home use, but can be a powerful business tool as well.
The program has over 240 channels – or apps – that can integrate with IFTTT to create some great recipes.
For example, you can use IFTTT to automatically Tweet a photo you liked on Instagram.
Or you can use IFTTT to cross-post your Twitter updates that included certain hashtags to LinkedIn. If you save an article to read later in Feedly, it will automatically save in Pocket.
You can even use a recipe so that every starred email in Gmail is saved to Evernote. Or whenever an article on the NY Times becomes popular, it gets emailed to you.
The best part is IFTTT is very easy to use and it’s free.
Zapier follows the same concept as IFTT, but it’s a bit more complex to learn and is much more business orientated.
Instead of recipes, Zapier calls them “zaps.”
You can also create multipurpose zaps. For instance, you could create a zap so that whenever you gain a new follower, a tweet is automatically sent to them, and then you follow that person back.
So from one trigger (a new follower), you can create two actions (a tweet to them and follow back).
With IFTTT, you’re only allowed one action for every trigger.
But, as was mentioned earlier, Zapier is geared more towards business. They have over 500 apps to help automate not just your social media, but your business as well.
For example, you could create a “zap” that will send out an email (the action) whenever someone unsubscribes from your mailing list (the trigger). Or whenever someone makes a purchase via PayPal, you can automatically add him or her to your mailing list.
You can even automatically send sales receipts to QuickBooks. If your company uses Salesforce or Infusionsoft, you can create zaps to automate tasks in those programs as well.
If you need more than five zaps, or to run more than 100 tasks per month, you’ll have to sign up for a paid version of Zapier.
5. Outsource Time-Consuming Tasks
Many business owners may be hesitant to outsource work, but it’s the best way for you to free up time and work on other projects.
As your business grows, your responsibilities grow as well. Eventually, everything can start to feel overwhelming. This is the point where you need to start outsourcing your work.
You can hire a virtual assistant to find content to share with your audience, and schedule your social media posts. Both Buffer and Hootsuite allow you to add team members to their paid plans – and this gives you the ability to approve every social media post before it goes live to your followers. While this creates work for you initially, it’s a handy feature that can be used when training a new VA.
And when it comes to content creation, if you’re not in the business of creating content, consider hiring someone who is – a professional writer. Content writers can create and curate content for you, freeing up valuable time and helping you grow your blog and business.
Wrapping It Up
As a small business owner, your primary job is to focus on tasks that can help grow your business – work on your business, not in your business.
But if you currently find yourself working in your business, making that transition can be difficult.
Having an active social presence is almost a necessity for businesses these days, but it can often consume a lot of your time. Instead of wasting precious time trying to stay on top of your social media content, you should rely on tools, automation and outsourcing to help streamline your day.
Use apps like Feedly and Pocket to find and save potential articles you can share with your audience. Use Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your social media posts – freeing up the rest of your day, or week.
Next, try Twitter’s underrated List functionality to prioritize viewing updates from only the people you’re interested in. And finally, automate your business logic with Zapier or IFTTT, and outsource any tasks you find too time-consuming.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of ALL of the above? Well, we have a great all-in-one solution to get you started. OctoSuite is a complete social media management and mass automation tool, designed to schedule and post updates for you.
You’ll have more time to focus on what really matters – growing your business and taking it to the next level.
What more could you want in a time saving strategy?
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