One guideline that I teach in my free webinars and in my online social media course is that you shouldn’t spend more than 5-10% of your working day or week on social media. Whenever I say this on a webinar, I get a lot of surprise from the participants. Most people spend much more than that online.
HOW TO REDUCE THE TIME YOU SPEND ONLINE
One of the top complaints I hear from people is that social media is a big time suck, like a black hole that they disappear into for hours on end. It’s my goal to help coaches and solopreneurs create a clear social media plan so they can avoid that black hole.
One way to reduce the time you spend on social media is to schedule your posts to go out in advance. You can either program the time in your calendar to get this done once a week (or once a month) in bulk, or you can hire a VA to do it for you. Either way, it’s a huge time saver to plan your posts in advance.
Now, before I go on, it’s important to point out one thing: there are two sides to social media marketing: posting a mix of content (which you can schedule) and actively engaging and conversing with other people online (which you can’t schedule). You also can’t outsource the engagement…it’s just not authentic to have someone pretending to be you and replying to tweets and Facebook comments.
TOP TOOLS FOR SCHEDULING SOCIAL MEDIA
The top three tools I recommend over and over for scheduling posts on social media are: Hootsuite, Buffer, and IFTTT. These are fantastic tools available for your computer, and also as mobile apps for both Apple and Android. I’m also recommending a brand new piece of scheduling software, Edgar, that’s really fascinating. It’s going to be a huge game changer for social media.
If you find new tools and apps overwhelming, try picking the one that sounds most interesting or useful to you, and give it a try. You can always add the others at a later date. As with all tools, I recommend that you start with the free version, and only upgrade once you’re convinced that you love the tool and could benefit from features only offered on the paid version.
For example, for Twitter, you could set up the following streams: home feed, @ mentions, direct messages, scheduled tweets, and sent tweets. This helps you easily manage all the information that’s available on each social network.
One very useful feature of the paid version of Hootsuite is that you can bulk upload posts. For example, you can create a spreadsheet with tweets to go out on a regular basis throughout the month.
Buffer also helps you manage several different social sites: Twitter, Facebook profiles, pages, and groups, LinkedIn profiles, pages, and groups, and Google+ pages. The way it works is that you set up a fixed schedule of posts to go out, and then you upload content to Buffer, which updates all of your social networks with the same posts.
I only use Buffer for Twitter, because I don’t like sharing the same content and posts across every single social network at the same time. The way I use Buffer is to schedule out tweets of other people’s content…namely blog posts. I use the Feedly RSS feed reader to read other people’s blogs, and when I come across something that’s interesting and useful, I’ll tweet it out. The thing is, it can be overwhelming to tweet 10-15 things at once, so I use Buffer to spread the blog recommendations out over a period of hours.
You can also use it to schedule retweets, so you’re not bombarding your followers with a massive number of retweets all at once.
IFTTT stands for If This Then That. It helps you create simple recipes that trigger certain actions. The options are truly unlimited, and there is a massive list of examples on the IFTTT website. Recipes can be turned on and off by a simple click, and most recipes are triggered every 15 minutes.
Here’s are some ideas of how you could set up a recipe on IFTTT:
If [you take a new photo on Instagram], then [it’s automatically saved to your Dropbox].
If [you tweet something], then [save it to a Google spreadsheet]. Yes, you can automatically add all your tweets to a spreadsheet!
If [you mark a YouTube video as a favorite], then [share it on Facebook].
IFTTT also integrates with non-social media things. For example, you can create a recipe to turn on the air conditioning in your house automatically if the temperature rises above a certain point (this particular recipe connects with Aros, a “smart” A/C).
One last tool: Edgar. This is a new one, created by Laura Roeder, founder of LKR Social Media. It’s a bit like Buffer in that you set up a schedule for posting, with the huge difference that Edgar keeps a file of all the posts you upload to the system and recycles the posts to go out on a regular basis.
This means that you can upload links to all of your blog posts, YouTube videos, podcast episodes, and other content to be recycled on a regular basis. It makes it easier to breathe new life into old content, getting it in front of new eyes.
TAKE ACTION TODAY
Did any of these three tools sound useful to you? Choose one and give it a try. They’re all very different, and they can all save you a lot of time online.
Good luck with these tools! I hope that they help you plan ahead with your social media and reduce the time you spend online.
Holly Worton helps coaches and women in heart-centered businesses go from confusion to confidence with social media, so they can use it to build relationships online and get more clients. As a heart-centered business owner, you do amazing work, and Holly wants to help you help more people. The way to do that is through Connection, and social media is one of the best ways to connect with others and build your tribe. Sign up for her free 90-minute social media training at SociallyHolistic to start building connections online. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, or Instagram.