Social media marketing involves using social media channels to promote a business by building an audience, engaging customers, generating leads, and driving sales.
But how can your team successfully market your brand via social media?
In this complete social media marketing guide, we’ll look at everything you need to promote your brand effectively on social media, from creating a strategy and performing an audit to incorporating paid social media and finding the right analytics tools.
We’ll also take a look at aspects of social media marketing that even experienced social media managers and agencies may overlook – such as productivity hacks and resources.
Ready to get started with social media marketing? Let’s jump right in.
Successful social media marketing starts with a strategy or a roadmap that helps you determine where you want to go and how to get there. Social media strategies offer several important benefits, including:
- Providing direction so all the content you post and actions you take have a clear purpose
- Giving your team a basis for benchmarking and reporting on results
- Allowing your team to develop complex, highly structured campaigns
- Enabling your team to work efficiently so you won’t waste time
With a social media strategy, your team can focus on a carefully crafted plan rather than arbitrarily trying tactics. As Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert, explains, “The best social media strategic plans are tool-agnostic and set forth objectives and metrics that supersede any particular social venue.”
Do you know why you are using social media?
Everyone would like more fans and followers, but not every business is reaching for the same primary goal on social media.
Having a deep understanding of this goal will improve every other decision moving forward.
Let’s look at some of the most common social media goals.
Increase brand awareness
Does your team want to spread the word about your brand? Building brand awareness requires creating a consistent style, creating a loyal community, and developing a multi-channel social media strategy.
Here are some tips for building a strong social media presence on your brand’s channels:
- Establish a coherent style and an easily identifiable theme.
- Use hashtags and create a branded hashtag.
- Forge partnerships with influencers and other brands.
- Do your keyword research.
- Develop content that aligns with your brand’s unique selling proposition (USP).
- Use graphic and editing styles that subscribers can easily recognize.
- Create a consistent publishing schedule.
Encourage employees to share content.
Add variety to your content mix.
- Schedule time for daily Twitter activity.
- Participate in Twitter chats.
- Tweet content that provides real value.
Generate leads and sales
Do you want to connect with more prospective customers or drive revenue for your business?
With a smart strategy, your team can generate leads at every stage of the buyer’s journey:
- Awareness. Otherwise known as Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), these prospects are just getting to know your brand. You can encourage them to subscribe by publishing engaging, informative social media content.
- Interest. Also known as Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs), these prospects are starting to think seriously about finding a solution for their problem. You can engage them with specific information about your brand and products or comparisons to competitors.
- Conversion. Otherwise known as Product Qualified Leads (PQLs), these prospects are ready to make a decision. You can help them take the final step by offering free trials or discounts on products and services.
Boost customer engagement
When your team keeps customers engaged, you can keep your brand top-of-mind with customers.
To boost customer engagement, keep a few social media tips from psychology in mind. Write persuasive content that resonates with your target audience, and establish your brand as an authority in the space. Encourage your audience to follow your brand on every platform to increase the frequency at which they’ll encounter your content.
So what’s a good engagement rate? It depends on the social platform, your brand’s industry, and the size of your following. For example, on average, Instagram engagement rates are 1.22%. If yours is much lower, you can improve it by posting at the right times, using hashtags, and interacting with other accounts.
Although managing customer engagement might sound time-consuming, it doesn’t necessarily have to be.
You can streamline social media engagement by:
- Creating saved replies to respond to standard comments
- Automating inbox moderation to eliminate spam
- Assigning important inbox items to team members for follow-up
Drive traffic to your website
No matter how important social media is to your marketing and business goals, it’s not the only channel where you want customers to engage with your brand. Instead, social media is a key part of your marketing funnel, which also includes your company’s website.
Naturally, your website is where customers can access product descriptions, sign up for your email list, and make purchases. To drive traffic to your website, your team can share blog posts, post product links, or publish free trial links on your social channels.
Once you’ve decided on the ultimate goal, you need to narrow it down. One way to do this is to set SMART Goals.
Here’s how to make your goals SMART:
- Specific. Skip the vague suggestions and clarify exactly what you want to accomplish and why.
- Measurable. Aim for a goal you can quantify, such as a number of followers, an engagement rate percentage, or an amount of revenue.
- Attainable. Ensure that your objective is possible to reach given the resources you have.
- Relevant.Double-check that your social media goal relates to your team’s marketing and business objectives.
- Time-Based. Give your team a specific deadline so you’ll know how to plan and allot resources.
Take some time to understand the different primary goals of social media and which one is more important to you.
And keep account of how much your social media budget is going to be and what is possible for your agency.
Get the details of creating SMART goals
Establish your most important KPIs
Once you have the primary goal figured out, set realistic and measurable outcomes along the way. By setting key performance indicators (KPIs), your team can track progress as you approach your social media goals.
Depending on your deadline and the overall time frame, you might set weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual KPIs.
A great way to decide on KPIs is to use your past results as benchmarks.
Here are some common KPIs to get your team started:
- Reach. How many individual people can your team connect with on social media? You can aim for a certain number – such as 25,000 – or strive to increase your reach by a certain percentage every reporting period.
- Clicks. If you want to drive traffic to your website, clicks count. Use your website analytics to determine your conversion rate and calculate how many clicks you need to get the sales or subscriptions you want.
- Engagement. From likes and shares to comments and direct messages (DMs), engagement can help you gauge interest levels. Your team can set an overall engagement KPI or strive for a certain engagement rate.
- Hashtag performance. How many people used your branded or campaign hashtag? You can aim for a certain number of hashtag interactions to help you quantify brand awareness or campaign success.
- Organic and paid likes. If you’re planning paid and organic campaigns, it’s important to track the two types of results separately. Set separate KPIs for organic and paid likes to make sure you’re balancing the two approaches appropriately.
- Sentiment. How do customers feel about your brand? Track positive and negative sentiment so you can monitor your audience’s overall feeling about your brand, offerings, or campaign.
- Followers. Do you want to increase your brand’s following? Set goals to acquire a certain number of new followers every reporting period to ensure a healthy growth rate.
- Impressions: How many times has your brand’s content appeared on people’s timelines? Similar to reach, you can aim for a certain number of impressions or a percentage increase.
- Video views. Are your followers consuming your brand’s video content? Aim for a certain number of video views each reporting period to ensure that your video content is worth the investment.
- Profile visits. Do you want followers to check out your profile and learn more about your brand? Monitoring profile visits can help you gauge interest and brand awareness.
- Mentions. Are people talking about your brand on social media? Set a goal to achieve a certain number of mentions or tags so you can feel confident that your team is generating buzz about your brand.
- Shares. Have your followers been reposting or retweeting your content? Aim to reach a certain number of shares so you can track how willing your audience is to talk about your brand with their own followers.
Deeper dive: Social Media Metrics That You Need to Know
2. Know your audience
To connect with your audience effectively, you have to get to know them. Who are they, what topics interest them, and what type of content resonates with them?
With Agorapulse analytics, it’s a little easier to learn about your audience.
Is your audience mostly local? How old are they? What job titles do they have? Agorapulse provides platform-specific audience demographics so you know exactly who’s following your brand and how to build a relationship with them.
Best times to post
Is your audience most active during work hours? Are they more likely to engage in evenings or on weekends? Agorapulse determines the best times to post based on audience activity.
Deeper dive: What are the best times to post on social media?
Does your audience prefer watching videos over clicking links? Would they rather read a text post instead? Agorapulse calculates engagement for videos, photos, links, and status updates so you know the best type of content to post.
3. Do a competitive analysis
It’s just as important to know what your competitors are doing. What are they talking about and how is their audience reacting? Have they launched particularly successful or innovative campaigns?
First, make a list of your brand’s top five competitors and their social media handles. Scroll through their social media profiles to get a sense of what’s working best for your competitors. Then rely on Agorapulse for competitive analysis.
Add as many as five competitors to Agorapulse’s Facebook competitor tool. You can see how your brand’s Page compares to theirs in terms of followers, engagements, and fan posts.
Then add your competitors to Agorapulse’s social listening dashboard. You can monitor every conversation about your competitors on social media to get a better sense of customer sentiment and especially engaging campaigns
As you fine-tune your social media marketing strategy, it’s helpful to do a social media audit. An audit can show you what’s working and what isn’t, and it can also help you identify opportunities to reach your goals more effectively.
Here’s how to conduct a social media audit:
- Check current metrics for your social channels. What’s your typical reach, engagement rate, or a number of clicks?
- Review your best and worst content. What’s performing well and why? What’s missing the mark?
- Compare the results to your team’s goals. Did you reach them, exceed them, or fall short? How can you improve your results next time?
You may be tempted to be on all social media platforms. The more places you are the better, right?
Usually, the person saying that doesn’t realize just how many social media platforms exist! For example, are you familiar with VIBER, LINE, or Telegram? They all have similar user numbers to the more widely known Pinterest. Should you use Pinterest or Instagram? Both? Neither? Will you use Periscope at some point?
Rather than try to be on every platform, figure out which one is the best fit for you and your business. It’s better to do a great job on specific social media platforms than spread yourself too thin and not be effective anywhere.
- Time. Plan to spend at least 15 minutes per day per platform (more if you are a bigger brand).
- Your clients. Based on their demographics, which social media platforms are they using? Where are they?
- Content. Where is your content the best fit for the online culture?
- Skill/training. Which social media platforms do you know how to use effectively?
Every year, Pew Research does a review of the demographics of who uses social media. This review is a great resource to better understand the nuances of the major social media platforms.
And don’t be afraid to ask your customers what they use. You might discover a new social media opportunity that you never knew existed.
Has your team developed a consistent, recognizable social media presence that’s unique to your brand?
- Optimize social media profiles. Check each of your social media profiles to make sure your brand’s bio is consistent and your URLs are up to date. Then make sure you’re leveraging all the available tools. For example, you can set up a shop on Instagram or allow customers to book appointments on Facebook.
- Do shout-outs to customers. One of the best ways to encourage loyalty is to give your best customers a moment in the spotlight. Share customer reviews or give a shout-out to your top clients – and if you’re lucky, other followers will model their behavior.
- Have a consistent brand image. Followers can recognize your brand more easily when you use the same logo, colors, fonts, and messaging. While that doesn’t mean all your social media posts should be identical, it does mean that consistency can help your audience get to know your brand.
- Promote UGC. In some cases, user-generated content can do a better job at promoting your brand than your team’s marketing content can. After all, customers often view UGC as more authentic and trustworthy. Leverage some of its power by sharing high-quality UGC on your social channels – and give credit to the creator.
What is a social media voice? It is the tone of your communication.
We naturally switch “voice” in public settings whether on social media or in our personal life. For example, we all understand some topics of conversation are appropriate for a family dinner and others are not appropriate at a corporate board meeting.
In business, having a consistent voice lends credibility to your posts and helps people feel more connected to the brand. (After social media is about making connections, not about disconnecting from fans and followers.)
When you post on your own social media, voice is much easier to capture. But often when you create social media content as a business or as part of an agency, a consistent brand voice can be more challenging. That may be because multiple team members are often sharing the job of social media content creation.
Consider a variety of things when you craft your social media presence:
Consistency is a key component of any platform for social media marketing. You must know:
- What logo to use and in what contexts
- The brand colors
- Fonts used for corporate branding
- Policies around image use and what image assets are available
Take the time to write your social media policy and guidelines and share them with your organization. You’ll also want to consider different scenarios and how your organization will handle social media during a crisis. (After all, that’s when social media managers are desperately needed.)
Doing so will make communication between your team easier and help prevent issues from coming up later.
Related post: Social Media Management 101: What Every Smart Social Media Manager Needs to Know
8. Create and curate content for social media
Once you’ve honed your social media voice, you’ll be ready to develop content for your channels. Incorporate both content creation and content curation into your calendar.
Here’s the difference:
- Creation means producing original content, such as shooting videos and designing infographics.
- Curation means sharing content by other brands or creators that resonates with your audience and builds relationships with other figures in your brand’s community.
Start by mapping out topics that are relevant to your brand and your audience’s interests.
For example, if you do social media marketing for a restaurant, your content themes might be:
- Weekly specials
- New dishes
- Seasonal ingredients
- Staff introductions
- Local news, such as reviews of the restaurant
- Spotlights on local businesses, such as farmers markets or sister restaurants
On their own, individual posts and photos might not be enough to convey complex ideas. When you stitch them together into Stories, your team can create ephemeral content that connects more effectively with your target audience.
Longer videos often require extensive scriptwriting, set design, and even casting. In contrast, short-form video lets you capture your audience’s attention while allowing for more creativity. Your team can create short-form videos to educate and entertain customers across social media channels.
Images can say so much about your brand and engage your audience in countless ways. Your team can create product photos, branded graphics, or behind-the-scenes shots of your team. You might also curate stock images, influencer photos, or user-generated content (UGC).
Raw data doesn’t always translate well to social media posts, but infographics can make it more visually appealing and easier to understand. Your team can create infographics exploring data you’ve gathered or curate infographics exploring industry trends.
Customers who are considering your brand or products often seek help with making a decision.
Your team can create how-to guides to help them understand how your products work, how to maximize their value, and how they outperform competitors.
For example, a marketing team for a software platform might create a how-to guide showcasing the latest feature or curate how-to guides to choosing the right software solution.
Once you start to track your results, your team won’t necessarily have to guess what to create or curate. Instead, you can check your social media dashboard to see which topics and what types of content tend to perform best. Then you can produce more of what works best.
Mix It Up
Create a variety of different types of content, including:
Some content you will be able to use on multiple social media platforms. (You can also harness the power of social media influencers to share your content as well. If that sounds daunting, we’ve got tips on how to find influencers with ease.)
However, you will get the best results if you consider the unique options of each social media platform.
For example, you have several options for publishing your videos on Facebook that you won’t have on Instagram or Twitter.
Now that you’ve got plenty of ideas for content creation and curation, you might be ready to start posting. Rather than publishing content haphazardly, however, it’s important to create a social media calendar.
With a social media calendar, your team can:
- Publish content consistently, at a frequency that works well for your audience.
- Post content at the times when your audience is most likely to engage.
- Carve out time for time-sensitive promotions.
- Space out various content topics to keep your audience engaged.
- Share it with stakeholders or clients so everyone knows what’s happening.
Need some ideas to get you started in social media marketing?
Let these posts inspire you:
Although much of your social media marketing strategy might focus on organic content, it’s also important to consider how paid social factors into your plan.
1. Social advertising
Every social media channel offers advertising opportunities, and you can use them to design campaigns that target people at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
You can create:
- Awareness campaigns to introduce your brand to a larger audience
- Consideration campaigns to increase interest and engagement
- Conversion campaigns to encourage a subscription or sale
Each social platform also provides numerous ways to reach your audience. You can target:
- People who match your ideal audience demographics and interests
- Current followers, prospects, or subscribers
- People who have characteristics similar to your customers
2. Facebook ads
You can advertise your brand with Facebook Ads starting at just $1 per day. When you use the Facebook Ads platform, you can place content on Facebook and Instagram as well as on websites in Facebook’s Audience Network. That way you can reach your audience in their newsfeeds, in Messenger, and on their favorite websites.
With Twitter Ads, you can connect with your audience on their timelines or in the Explore tab. You can promote anything from live video to branded hashtags, and you can also pair your ads with premium video content. Like Facebook, Twitter has powerful remarketing capabilities so you can make a bigger impact on potential customers.
Assess What’s Working and What’s Not Working
Once you implement your social media strategy, you need to know what’s working and what isn’t. After all, reaching your goals means doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
1. Agorapulse Analytics
With Agorapulse analytics, you can see how your social media content is performing and how your audience is growing during any time frame.
You can track metrics like:
- Audience growth
- Reach and impressions
- Engagement per post
- Brand awareness
- Customer sentiment
2. Agorapulse Reports
Whether you want to share social media reports with your team, your stakeholders, or your clients, you can accomplish it with Agorapulse. You can create custom reports that provide general overviews or detailed results. You can also combine multiple social profiles into one report for easier review.
Then you can export or email reports in visually appealing PDF or PPT formats. If you want to get the same report every week or month, you can schedule the report to generate automatically.
3. Retest and reevaluate
Once you identify what’s helping you reach your goals more effectively, do more of it.
- Focusing more on the type of content (i.e. video) that your audience likes best.
- Writing more of the social media captions that generate the most engagement.
- Posting more consistently at the optimal time for your audience.
- Creating more of the ads that drive the most clicks and conversions.
Continue to monitor your brand’s social media metrics. Compare performance from week to week or month to month to gauge improvement. Keep striving to find what works for your audience, and don’t hesitate to experiment with new content types or publishing times.
4. Continued learning
As a social media manager, you’re never truly done learning. Social media channels and tools are always evolving, and audience behaviors are changing. Staying on top of the latest developments and trends is critical.
Here are a few ways to continue your social media manager education:
- Social Media Manager School. Your ticket to complete social media manager training, Social Media Manager School helps you advance your skills, build a strategy, and network with fellow professionals. This resource can also help you build your social media manager business and serve clients better.
- Social media podcasts. When you want the latest social media marketing news but you don’t want to read another blog post, podcasts are the answer. Our favorite social media marketing podcasts delve into social media experiments, brand building, and paid ads.
Social media marketing books. Whether you want to master a particular
- platform or advance specific skills, books are the ideal resource for a deep dive. Our favorite social media marketing books cover everything from community building to influencer marketing.
Social media can be time-consuming. Fortunately, many tools can help make it easier, from sites to get free social media images to tools for video creation. Learning which tools are best for you and how to use them is well worth the effort.
Start by getting the essentials—graphics, content creation, and hashtags—covered.
Creating your own branded graphics will help set you apart on social media and ensure you are not inadvertently breaking any copyright laws.
Doing this can seem intimidating for those without a graphic design degree. Here are three of the top resources that I use most frequently.
Canva is a powerhouse tool. It has a free version, or upgrade to its paid plan for even more flexibility.
It features correctly sized templates for social media graphics, access to free photos, text, and graphic elements, and easy editing. This is the tool I rely on the most for social media content creation. It also scales well, including team and sharing functions.
If you’re an Agorapulse user, you can take advantage of our Canva integration:
Need an image? Don’t do a Google image search. Many of those images are subject to copyright.
Instead, find what you need on Pixabay. You might have to get creative with your searches from time to time, but you can usually find an appropriate image for your social media post.
Pixabay is also integrated with Canva, so you can pull the images directly into your designs.
If you are still looking for that perfect image for your post, check out Unsplash.
One of the nice features of this site (in addition to creative images) is the ability to pull pictures into collections that you can come back to later. It works really well when you want to look at several options before you make a final decision or when you seek related or stylistically similar images for a project.
Analytics is like the body language of social media. It shows you how people are responding to your content, so you can adjust and improve to reach your goals.
Though most professional social media managers will want to invest in a full-featured reporting tool, you can start with some simple free tools to start collecting the data you need.
Built-in Platform Analytics
All the major social media platforms have their own analytics built into the platform as long as you use the correct type of account.
For Facebook, log into your business page, and then select “Insights.” You will be able to see page views, reach, what actions were taken on the page, video views, and many other things.
You can only view statistics from the past 28 days, so make sure you export the data that you need regularly.
Like Facebook, Instagram requires you to have a business account to view analytical data. You can also only view this information from the mobile view, not on your desktop.
Twitter, on the other hand, does not differentiate between business and personal accounts. Instead, once you are logged into your account go to analytics.twitter.com to view statics like reach, top Tweet, and impressions. This will only measure actions directly related to your account, not any hashtag activity. You will need to use another tool for that.
Why Third-Party Analytics Tools Outperform Native Tools
At first, using native tools like Twitter Analytics or Facebook Page Insights might seem more convenient. After all, they’re built into your brand’s social channels, so you don’t have to go far to access them.
But as your team hits its stride with social media marketing, you’ll find that these tools aren’t as handy as you thought – and they’re not particularly insightful either.
Instead, a third-party tool like Agorapulse outperforms native analytics by:
- Exporting reports in multiple formats. If you export native analytics, you don’t get much of a choice. You might be able to choose between CSV or XLSX – but that’s it. With Agorapulse, you can select a PDF that’s ready to share or a PowerPoint that you can edit or present.
- Providing shareable charts and graphs. Native analytics might look nice in the app, but exporting them only results in raw data. That means you’ll need to transform the data into visual elements yourself. In contrast, Agorapulse lets you export and share charts and graphs with your team or clients.
- Allowing complete customization. With native analytics, you can’t usually modify reports to meet your team’s or client’s needs. If you use Agorapulse, you can customize reports to show more or less detail or even combine multiple social media channels.
- Scheduling automated reports. If you rely on native analytics, you’ll have to export and share reports manually every time. With Agorapulse, you can schedule weekly or monthly reports to save your team time.
Are you feeling confused about how to use hashtags on social media, especially for Instagram? Should you use the most popular hashtags or ones more specific to your brand?
These tools can help you find some hashtags to try on your social media platforms.
Do you want to see how your branded hashtag is being used on Twitter? Or get ideas for other similar hashtags?
Hashtagify does both. It can also show you the usage of a hashtag over time, who the top accounts are that are using that hashtag, and more. You can get a good surface-level view with the free version, or get the paid version for deeper insights.
Tweetreach is another tool that will let you analyze Twitter hashtags. Its free report shows the total reach as well as the total impressions. You can also see which accounts are using the hashtag, and which Tweets are getting the most reTweets. It can also be used as a great way to find influencers on a topic.
When you use Instagram on your mobile device, you can start typing a hashtag, and Instagram will give you a list of auto-complete options and the number of posts with that hashtag.
Ingramer takes that to the next level.
Enter a keyword, and it will show you several related keywords and how often they are used. One of the things I love about this tool is that it gives both related hashtags and other suggested hashtags for the same niche. You can easily click on them to make your own copy and paste list.
The one thing you can know about social media is that it is always changing. Staying up to date and getting new ideas are constant efforts when you are a social media manager. Be sure to check out our list of 26 Social Media Marketing Books to Advance Your Skills.
The good news is that there are many resources available to help.
One of the challenges of the built-in analytics for Facebook is that they can be a little overwhelming. Sometimes, social media managers find it hard to get all the metrics that you need.
Good news: Agorapulse has a helpful tool called AdsReport! This free tool shows you the results of your Facebook ads in simple and easy-to-understand charts.
(You can also use the free tools for Easy Advocacy to help your employees share your social content, Twitter Report Card for evaluating your Twitter profile, and Facebook Page Barometer for grading your Facebook page as a whole.)
Content generation and updates
Sometimes all you need to come up with a new idea is a little creative kickstart. That is where Quora comes in. You can set up spaces around various topics, search for keywords, and even ask your own questions. It can help you get out of your own head and start seeing things from other people’s perspectives.
Portent Idea Generator
Want a more streamlined tool to start generating ideas? I love the Portent Idea Generator. You can redo it as many times as you want. Use it to create your social media posts and give you ideas for blogs and articles too. Because it is an automated tool, sometimes, it gives you some funny results. But honestly, a little humor can be a good way to get your creative wheels turning too.
Social Pros Podcast
Need help on a topic you don’t see here? Like listening to podcasts? It is definitely worth checking out the Social Pros Podcast. They have interviewed leading experts in social media on just about any topic you can think of, and give you real-world advice and tips.
Social Media Lab
You can also check out The Social Media Lab’s podcast and get the facts behind social media myths and rumors.
Social Pulse Weekly
Agorapulse’s weekly Facebook Live show hosted by Jennifer Watson features social media experts sharing their tips, tricks, and advice for social media managers and digital agencies.
Now that you know more about the basics for your toolbox, the last thing is to figure out how to make the most of your time. Social media can be time-consuming and overwhelming, which is why organization and strategy are so important.
1. Build your team
The first step is to know who is responsible for what aspects of social media. People who you might want to consider including in the conversation:
- Customer service
A big part of who is on your team is dependent on the size of your organization. In some cases, you might be responsible for all social media and report to the owner of the company directly. Other times, social media might be part of much bigger efforts.
Start by making a list of what you need (goal setting, graphics, content, ads, etc.) and who is responsible for each of those things.
In other words, map out a social media team structure.
The key is to find a balance between using each person/team’s strengths without having too many proverbial cooks in the kitchen.
Using tools that can help control access, permissions, and customer interaction will help a lot.
And don’t forget that social media, traffic, and leading pages should work together to indicate the state of your digital presence.
2. Create a content calendar
Another important time-saving strategy is to create a content calendar.
Using all the tools you have for content creation, you can start creating categories of content that you will be able to keep fresh and interesting.
Schedule time into your workday to create and manage your content. And don’t worry, while some people have been concerned that using a scheduling tool will hurt your reach, there is not evidence that is true.
3. Create a schedule for your workflow
Depending on whether you are a sole proprietor, on a team, or a social media agency, you may be managing several social media accounts all at once.
I can’t say it enough: Schedule, schedule, schedule!
Schedule not just your content, but time to devote to each aspect of social media.
Here is a recommended schedule to start:
- 1-3 hours per week for content creation and scheduling
- 15-20 minutes per day per platform for responding to comments (more if your accounts are big!)
- 20-30 minutes per day per platform doing outreach and growing your accounts
- 1-2 hours per week reviewing statistics and strategy
- 1 hour per week communicating with your team
- 1-3 hours per week creating and managing your advertising
- 1 hour per week doing research and learning what is new on social media
Those numbers assume that you are a skilled social media professional able to accomplish the basics quickly.
You may need more time if:
- Accounts already well developed and have large followings
- You are in a specialized field
- Doing a lot of video or live shows
Breaking down each type of task helps you see realistically how much time it will take.
Track your time for one week and see how long it actually takes you to manage social media. Where can you benefit from more time? Where is your time unproductive?
Taking the time to self-analyze is a worthwhile way to improve your results.
Remember that social media should be a conversation. You want to encourage people to interact, and you want to reward that interaction by continuing the dialogue.
You have many tools at your disposal to make this work.
- Management tools. If you want to save time on social media, using a tool with an inbox will make a big difference!
- Block and mute. You don’t want to overuse these tools, but sometimes the best strategy is to shut down a conversation that is being harmful. Just be clear that you are not avoiding dealing with an important issue.
- Saved replies. Using a tool with saved replies can save time, especially for larger companies
Make quick responses a priority, and have your team set up to facilitate good social media interactions.
There is a saying that says “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
You might feel like you are too late to the game to make a difference in social media. Or that it is more work than it is worth. But if you start applying these best practices now, you can still see results.
The most important thing is to stay consistent over time, take time to understand your audience, and engage in meaningful ways.
* * *
Get started on saving time and energy on your social media management! Check out our free trial of Agorapulse to help you schedule, track, and measure all your social media efforts.