BLOG: 5 Time-savings tips for social media
AKRON (June 23, 2014) — Let's be honest. We are all really busy. It takes so much effort and time to run a business, sometimes it is difficult to sit down at your desk three times a day and write efficient tweets and posts.
It's along the same concept of why I have become really bad at Words with Friends. I used to take the time to really strategize and think about my next move, but now I want the red bubble to go away, so I quickly post a word and carry on with my day. My dad has beaten me by at least 200 points in our last few games. I need to get better and take the time to strategize. I don't like to lose.
Now, with social media, if you don't take the time to strategize, you may be losing customers, not just bragging rights about a game. One of the best ways to go about this is strategizing on how you can fit this into your schedule to make it work best for you. I have read some other people's advice and come up with some of my own.
Here are the top five pointers for saving time on social media:
1) Schedule posts in advance
This is a rather simple concept. Sometimes our days will get busy and the business day will come and go before we even had a chance to finish one cup of coffee. I get it.
So that is why the first thing I do when I come into work is go into HootSuite and get some posts scheduled. I try to stay active throughout the day, making sure I am retweeting and engaging. But I know I will at least be getting relevant information out to my followers, even if I am doing last minute interviews on deadline day.
In case you don't know what HootSuite is, check my previous Blog, "An answer to feeling overwhelmed with social media."
There are other social media managing platforms that you can try out, but this is what I am currently using. If you don't want to use a managing platform, that is fine, too.
Do you just want to schedule your posts on Facebook? The site allows you to do this as a business. When you are writing your post, click on the little clock button on the bottom left hand side of your post, and the scheduling tool will pop up. Just select your time and hit “schedule” and you are ready to go.
2) Have a calendar
Yes, you probably already have a calendar set up in the office that has big events in the shop marked on it: training sessions, anniversaries, holidays you may be closed. Start using that to be more prepared for social media posting. You still want to engage your audience and post more than just events at the shop, but this is a good place to start.
A blog post on PeerIndex said, “…thinking ahead about big events around the world or important days in your company's calendar means you won't be caught short scrambling for ideas on the day.”
I would expand your calendar to more than just what is going on in your shop; possibly create a social media calendar that sits next to your computer or through Microsoft Office or Google so you can see what is coming up. For instance, the industry just celebrated National Tire Safety Week, June 1-7. This is something that was heavily promoted on social media and could have been planned for.
Even if you didn't schedule the post ahead of time, at the end of May your social media team could have brainstormed what to post each day, instead of trying to come up with fun and unique things to post each day as it is happening.
3) Have more than one person working
I completely understand if the owner of the shop wants to be the face of the social media page. I also understand if the owner is busy and wants an intern to do a lot of the posting. However, I think it's most productive when you have at least two people working together.
And that's the key: working together. That way it can always be covered. Someone steps away on lunch break, it's covered. Someone needs to help a customer, it's still covered. Both people have to step away? Well, someone will still get back before the other so you are optimizing your time on social.
If only the owners are posting, they may miss something if they get held up. What if someone is asking if you are open today or if you had time to squeeze in an oil change? If you are out doing oil changes because your mechanic is sick, you might miss that.
However, if you have your office manager checking regularly, he or she can let you know that a question came in. On the flip side, if you just have an intern or anyone else running your site, you may never truly understand how your brand is being represented on social media. And, you will never learn what your customers are interested in.
4) Smartphones let you take it on the go
I use my mobile phone so much when it comes to social media. These days, instead of playing Candy Crush for the 10 minutes it takes from the alarm to my actually getting out of bed, I scope out my Twitter feed. What happened overnight? What are the people who already have kickstarted their morning saying? I am already sharing content before I have my morning tea. You can do the same. Maybe not right out of bed,...but when you first check your emails or when you are waiting for the coffee pot to brew.
You can post live or use this time to schedule some posts for the day as I talked about in #1. One app that Constant Contact recommends is Pocket, which lets you store all kinds of articles, videos, etc. until you are ready to share it.
5) Have fun
When something is new or scary, we treat it like a chore. Chores are time-consuming. I know on Saturday mornings, it really only takes me 20 minutes to vacuum my house, however, the idea of doing it is so daunting.
If this is how you think of social media, of course it is going to feel overly time consuming and like you just do not have time for it. However, if you think of it just like speaking with your customers at the store, you will be ready to add it to your routine. Do you already take the time to make sure people understand their car, their repairs, what kind of tires they might need? Do you consider that something you do not have time for?
Maybe on busy days you do not feel like you have the time; regardless, you still understand the value. Same principle, different audience. Both are your customers.
What are some of your time-savings tips? Tweet them to Jennifer at @jenniferkarpus.
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