Save Time by Batching Your Social Media
Over the past month, I taught two courses on hacks that can keep you from feeling overwhelmed by social media during the holidays. One of my favorite tips was BATCH WORKING. This is a buzzword that I have heard a lot lately, and the general idea of it involves grouping similar projects together in order to save time.
Batching your attention
Researchers have found that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to a task after a distraction. Things that can snag your attention, like notifications, a co-worker, or simply the process of transitioning from one task to another can all derail your productivity.
Think back to the last time you hurriedly created a piece of content for social media from start to finish because you had forgotten to post. The initial stress of realizing you needed to post something, looking around trying to think about what you should post, taking a photo, editing it, coming up with a caption, finally sharing it… Well, that whole process takes a long time when you have to start from scratch each time. That is why I advise everyone to plan their social media marketing content ahead to save them time. This ensures that you’re not stuck at the last minute posting a stock image of a grainy Christmas tree saying something like “Happy Holidays” because it’s been a week since your followers last heard from you.
Batching your social media marketing
Plan for one big photo shoot and/or brainstorm for captions periodically – try once a month or once a week.
Take a ton of photos and videos during your photoshoot, and use them throughout the upcoming month. I do this for Iron Horse Vineyards. In fact, I only go out there once a month, sometimes twice. I take pictures of people holding bottles of wine, of the vineyards, of customers cheersing with glasses of sparkling wine, and I make sure to get photos of all of the new products. I capture pictures of bottles in different poses so that I have a variety of images to pick from when sharing content.
Usually this means I get about a hundred photos at a time. I recommend storing all of your photos in Dropbox, Box, or Google Drive, and sharing the folder so other people on your team can have access. Naming your folders with seasons also helps!
I keep all of my photos on Dropbox in different folders. The main one is just for general pictures, and then I pick and choose the images that I want to share on social media. I edit those to have a similar look (I use a COLOR STORY app from my phone, but there are many tools you can use from your desktop), and put them into designated folders so the rest of the Iron Horse team can use them when they want.
After I get all of the photos uploaded, I upload batches of photos to my Instagram scheduler. I use Buffer, but you can also check out Hootsuite, or an Instagram-specific one like Planoly or Plann.
On a different day, I go in and add captions that tell a story, and I move content around so I am always sharing a variety (versus posting only wine bottle pictures all of the time).
Don’t forget to batch work your community management
Once the content is scheduled and ready to go, my social media marketing work isn’t done! I also make sure to batch my time spent engaging with my community. I could spend all day on social media checking every notification and response to a post, but that is a poor use of time. And, honestly, it’s exhausting. Yes, you should interact with your customers through social media, but batching your time spent engaging makes sure that you are allocating your time properly and completing other important projects in addition to focusing on community engagement.
I usually like to set a timer for 10 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night. In the morning, I read all the comments and DMs from the previous night, and at night, I post and engage more with people. This way I don’t miss out on any possibly urgent comments from a customer.
Another bonus of setting a timer is that it’s easy to monitor your time on social media, which saves you from having an hour pass by without notice. That’s the addictive nature of these platforms, and spending too much time on social media can actually have a negative effect on your work.
I want to hear from you! What other projects can you batch?
Maybe meetings? If it's possible, try to have all of your client meetings on one day so you can complete them all and use the other days for deeper-thinking work that is hard to do in the small chunks of time between meetings. Or maybe errands? Many of my entrepreneur friends like the freedom that comes with being the boss. But just because you can do errands on your own time doesn’t mean you should. Add errands to a to-do list and batch them so you can knock several out in a few short hours instead of spending extra time running around town each day.
Seriously, between emails, errands, Slack notifications, social media notifications, and meetings, it's hard to get real work done (you know, the type of work that you get actually get paid for). Batch working makes sure that you are spending your time efficiently and getting towards your goals quickly.