Train Yourself: Habit for Social Media Marketing
Most small to medium size businesses don't have a dedicated social media person. A person who spends 40 hours specifically working on social media marketing. It's not that they don't understand that social media is important, but there are so many other daily tasks to do within a business, especially in marketing.
My two cents is: in order to do social media marketing right, you have to have dedicated time for creating content, coming up with social media strategy, brainstorming with the team, time for Community Management and engagement, and then time to report and reflect. Yup, all of it.. Or else you are not using the social media tools properly and you risk becoming a billboard on a deserted road that no one ever sees (I just created an in-person class to help make daily social media tasks a little bit easier).
Managing a brands social media channels doesn't have to necessarily take a full 40 hours a week, but it can take a lot of mental energy and time. Especially, if you don't plan ahead and create habits around social media marketing.
Oh, anyone can do social media marketing, right?
… I mean, it’s JUST posting pretty pictures. My niece can do that, it's not a big deal.
I have been working within the social media industry for 10 years, because it is a big deal. It does take effort, strategy, and a desire to want to truly connect with your brands target audience. If your company culture is based on no communication to the outside world-- then you should not be doing social media. Also, you might want to rethink your culture, but that's another blog post.
I see this with a lot of new social media marketing agencies popping up. It's all style over substance and there's no strategy involved. It's just pretty people and well curated Instagram feeds. There is a place for this kind of content--but it is essential to start with a goal in mind when creating content and follow up with analyzing data to make sure you are hitting your goals. Social media can have the goal of brand awareness and creating trust with your community, but the most profitable businesses also find a way to funnel your audience to generate a sale for your business (another blog post coming on this!).
5 Habits for Social Media Marketing
1: Get a timer.
Yes, your phone has one.. But I am talking a kitchen timer that your mom probably still has in her kitchen. There is something that mentally stimulates your brain when you have a physical object in front of you. This is why writing down your to-do list helps you remember the tasks easier (I read it somewhere…).
Set your timer for 15 minutes in the morning, looking at the social media accounts for your brand (not your personal account). Start with the one that gets the most engagement. For my personal brand that is Instagram. I start by looking at comments, answering everyone of them back. Then I go to the other social networks and look at comments first. Then if I have time, I would start scrolling down the Instagram feed and commenting. Yes, liking is important, but commenting leads to real connections. Okay, when the 15 minutes is over I put away my phone because it is a distraction.
If you find yourself having to spend more than 15 minutes JUST engaging with people--congratulations. That means your brand is getting super great engagement, or maybe you are spending too much time writing out your comments back to people.
Here I recommend having a series of canned responses--you know, the messages you tend to use the most. “Thank you so much for coming out to XXXX. We look forward to seeing you again.” anything that you find yourself having to write out again, and again, and again. Either add them in your notes section on your phone / google docs, or save them as text replacements in your phone so you only have to type one word. I have ALL my most used hashtags in here as well.
2: Finding daily inspiration for image content.
If you already took the time to create a strategy for social media marketing efforts, you have a balanced idea for what type of content you want to create for your brand, focusing on sharing the story of your brand (if you haven’t done that yet, please make sure to check out my RECIPE FOR INSTAGRAM PLAYBOOK, with tips and hacks on how to figure out what type of content to post for your brand).
I spend most of my days writing in front of my computer, dropping off the toddler at school, picking him up, and coming back home, usually in yoga pants. Nothing truly inspiring, I know. But, I make sure to take photos and videos of the everyday things in my life, because that is what tells the story of ME. Even If you aren't sure that something you take a picture of will work for your brand, it doesn't hurt to take the picture anyway. Save it in a folder on your phone called “maybe content” -- You might come back later and be inspired by something you took.
Planning ahead for social media content, is what helps make sure that your content stays focus on the goals and your branding.
Find some time during the day to walk around the office and take pictures and videos of what's happening. Either use your iPhone or a company camera, whatever makes sense for you. Because remember, it's not about the tool that you use to take the photo it's about the story behind it. My favorite camera for quick photos that look great is my Canon Powershot. It cost around $400 for the camera, and I have a $10 SD card reader to transfer photos quickly to my iphone. No app needed.
Take pictures, or boomerangs of your coworkers, take shots of them holding products, or simply having fun at the office. Your brand culture is part of your story and people want to connect with a brand that has a story!
3: Spend 1 hour a week scheduling content.
If you spend a few minutes each day taking photos, you will have a catalog of images that you can be sharing on social media. In order to be really productive with your time, batch your content creation and scheduling on one-day-per-week. Or even break it up to two different days, one early in the week and one later so you can have content scheduled for the weekend.
I get my timer back out and spend 30 minutes looking through my image catalog and uploading photos to Buffer (my preferred social media scheduler--well worth the starter pro price point of $15 a month) for the week. I prefer to create content starting with the photo and then create my copy. With my clients, I work with a content calendar so I know what goals we are working on that week, and which products I should be promoting during a specific time frame.
If you are focused on Instagram, I would use Buffer, but I also LOVE LOVE LOVE Planoly and Plann. Both Instagram scheduling tools are cheap and have a really simple interface. Being able to see what your Instagram feed will look like when scheduled is really helpful because it can make sure your are balancing your content and not sharing a product image over and over again.
4: Spend 1 hour a month analyzing data
I could write up an entire blog post on reporting, and someday I will. But for now, I will say that it is important to do monthly check ins with how your content is doing overall. Are there trends in what type of content gets the most engagement? What about the most clicks to your website? Also, what type of content does the worst. Make a written note of it, try to see what the common factor is in the content does well and what does poorly. Find new ways to create the content that your audience WANTS to see, and figure out a way to change up the content that isn’t working.
5. Engage with your audience AGAIN.
I would add this to your daily habits a second time because it is the most important habit to create for any social media manager. Spend another 15 minutes right after the time you schedule your post on Facebook or Instagram engaging with people who comment, checking out people who post with the same hashtags you are using and actually go to the profiles of the people who engage on your own page and leave comments (yes, you can schedule directly to Instagram now, but you don’t want to forget to engage, otherwise it just become a billboard… Not a communication channel). Once again, STOP after 15 minutes, and you won’t find that you are deep down the rabbit hole looking at pictures that regular people took of the royal wedding.
Create Daily Habits for Social Media and It Becomes Easier
Any productivity self-help book will tell you that by creating and committing positive habits like working out, eating healthy, loving yourself, etc, etc, etc they become easier. Just like brushing your teeth, spending 15 minutes engaging with your community on social media is something you don’t have to think about, it is simply just a part of your day.
Let me know, do you have an hacks for creating habits in your own work life? I want to hear about them below. And, if you need some more personalized help, make sure to come out to one of my two in-person classes for Instagram Marketing in Santa Rosa and Healdsburg!