As a business owner, you’ve probably been told countless times that you need to be actively engaged on social media. For some, that’s a welcome creative break. For others, it’s a confusing nightmare.
As much as we’ve heard about the importance of social media, a lot of us don’t really know if our social media efforts generate more customers — making it hard to justify spending resources on it when other, bigger projects like web design are so critical. Sound familiar? 46% of B2B marketers aren’t sure whether their social media channels have actually generated revenue for their business.
Let’s change that. Carve out an afternoon to follow these highly practical tips for simplifying and optimizing your social media efforts.
1. Choose 3 (or less) accounts to manage
The seven most commonly utilized social media channels for business are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube. And the #1 most common mistake businesses make when choosing which accounts to manage? They try to manage too many at once.
Social media experts recommend posting at least once per day, no matter the platform. If you’re juggling a ton of accounts, this quickly becomes an overwhelming and unrealistic task. Use our cheat sheet to choose the right channels for your business:
This doesn’t mean you can never have more than three accounts. But stick to this simple rule: Until you can definitively measure how your social media efforts have led to more customers, stick to posting on three accounts consistently.
2. Make a list of 10+ inspiring blogs
For a lot of businesses, social media and blogging go hand in hand. But writing frequent blog posts can be extremely difficult to achieve. 64% of businesses struggle to create enough content. Many of these same businesses don’t post frequently to their social media accounts because they feel they don’t have anything original to share.
The good news is that there are many interesting pieces of content you can share on your social media accounts — and you don’t have to be the one to create them. Blogs in all different industries regularly push out 2,000-word articles, beautiful and interesting infographics, case studies, press releases, ebooks, and more. And the best part? They want you to share their content.
Open a document on your computer and make a list of blogs that publish relevant content you think your social media followers will enjoy. Now you have a solid list of blogs to pull from, saving you hours of time each week. For example, as a web development company, the Trajectory team loves posting content from websites like HubSpot, CoSchedule, Buffer, Kissmetrics, Moz, and Smashing Magazine. When in doubt, we know we can turn to these websites for highly shareable content.
3. Create a 30-day editorial calendar
“Editorial calendar” is a deceptively fancy term. It’s simply a method for planning the content your business will push out. Some content marketers will encourage you to create annual, monthly, and weekly calendars, but it can really be much simpler than that.
You can find nice templates by doing a quick Google search. If you want to dig right into it, simply open up a spreadsheet. Create rows for every day in the next month and columns for each social media channel you plan to publish to. And if you’re curious to know how frequently you should post to each account, we’ve got you covered:
Now, you simply fill in the spaces with general ideas of what you’ll share, including links to articles from those interesting blogs in step #2, your own content, and promotional posts for your business. A general rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule, where 80% of your posts are interesting content that engages your followers and 20% of your posts are about your business.
4. Include 1 of these factors in every post
This tip is a quick and easy one to follow. Make sure every single one of your posts includes at least one of the following: an image, a compelling statistic, and/or a link. Ideally, most of your posts should have all three.
On Twitter, statistics and hashtags are key shareable content. On Facebook, a bright, large image will instantly get users’ attention. Even on professional sites like LinkedIn, sharing important statistics from an article and then linking to the piece can be powerful.
You want to avoid just sharing a text post with no link, no images, and no statistics. Your followers will scroll right past it when they’re browsing social media.
5. Automate posts and save 3+ hours per week
Good posts are visual, interesting, and relevant, and that type of content can’t be thrown together in a few minutes’ time. And that’s okay.
But did you know that, on average, businesses spend more than three hours per week simply posting their content to social media? Do you have 12+ hours per month to spend on publishing your posts? We didn’t think so.
Instead, take that editorial calendar you created and revisit it either once per month or once per week. You’ve got a general idea of what you’ll share, so now it’s time to sit down and write out all of your social media posts in one document. Include links, hashtags, images, and captions. Then, head to a free social media scheduling tool to set it and forget it.
6. Measure success every 30 days
Now you’ve made a ton of progress toward making your social media accounts more effective without being overcomplicated — and it only took a few hours of your time.
Next month, it will be time to create a new editorial calendar. This will also be the time to evaluate how things went. Create a quick spreadsheet that tracks followers gained during the last month, users who clicked on your promotional posts, and likes, comments, and shares for each of your posts.
Adding to this spreadsheet each month will also take just a bit of your time, and it’s a simple way to see what types of posts seem to work best for engaging your followers. While managing your social media accounts can get much more complex than this, now you’ve got a strong foundation for making social media management feel less like a chore — all while being able to actually see a difference in how social media plays a role in your marketing efforts.