Social media is an essential part of 21st century life. And, that’s especially true for business owners who are looking to connect with customers, influencers and even potential investors.
While having a social media marketing strategy is a necessity, it can become extremely time consuming. Between updating your profile, responding to customers, coming up with content and sharing content, managing your social media accounts can become a full-time job.
Over the past six months I’ve really been dialing in my social media efforts for minimal time effort and maximum output. Thankfully, there are a few tools and strategies I’ve found that help automate social media so I can focus on growing my business. If that sounds like a plan, then give these seven techniques a try.
1. Social media automation software and apps
The easiest way to automate social media is by using automation software and apps. These include Hootsuite, Buffer, SproutSocial, HubSpot, Social Oomph and Social Flow. Each tool may have unique features of their own, but essentially they all allow you to schedule social media posts in advance and monitor your accounts when someone mentions your brand or leaves a comment.
If you’re just starting out, select just one tool and experiment with it by scheduling a couple of updates. I personally use Buffer and really like it. Most of the tools above have apps so that you can stay up-to-date with your social media accounts while on the go.
I also like using Brand24 to find out who is talking about my company online. This is a social listening tool that shows me every person that mentions my brand both on social media or a blog post. They don’t do any social posting but the social listening feature is amazing. You can then acknowledge these mentions and thank people publicly.
2. Fill in the gaps
Automation tools like Hootsuite can be a real timesaver. But, you can take that automation to the next level by using tools like Zapier and IFTTT. Basically, these resources make it possible for apps, systems and websites to talk to each other. For example, you could create a “zap” that automatically posts new WordPress posts into your Facebook page.
IFTTT gives you the ability to create “recipes” so that you can sync your online profiles or Google Calendar with social media so that you never forget a birthday. The possibilities are endless. Check out this Buffer post to help you get started with IFTTT.
3. Sync your blog
You’ve worked pretty hard on that blog post or creating that infographic. Why not ensure that it’s going to be seen by your friends and followers on social media? If you use WordPress, this is pretty easy to do since there are more than enough plugins that allow you to add social share buttons onto your page or automatically post on social media whenever you publish a new article.
However, you can also sync your blog content and social media updates in advance with a tool like CoSchedule. This handy service lets you plan out your editorial calendar in conjunction with the social media channel that you want the content to be shared on. Remember,
not all types of content will work on all social media channels.
not all types of content will work on all social media channels. Share content on the channels where you know your fans will see it. I find that the content that does super well on Twitter doesn’t do as well on Facebook for my audience. My Google+ audience likes more in depth articles while my Twitter likes short nuggets of advice. Test out and see what your audience likes and then automate it as much as possible.
4. Recycle evergreen content
Unless you literally started a blog last week, there’s a very good chance that you have some old blog posts in your archives. While it wouldn’t make much sense to share an article that discussed the hottest marketing trends of 2010, you could share evergreen content.
Evergreen content is timeless content that is still relevant. You could go through your archives, or you could also use a WordPress plugin like Revive Old Posts to simplify the process. There is also a killer tool that I use called MeetEdgar that allows you to publish a post and then automatically recycle your top posts several times on a schedule.
5. Tweet multiple times
While you don’t want to be the person who is flooding your fans’ feeds with the same link to a recently published article, there’s also no rule saying that you can’t post that multiple times. In fact, the most effective Twitter users tweet 3 times per day. Even if you only send out the same content, you’re increasing your chances of it getting noticed by a different audience.
If you look at your audience and get to know them you’ll find that they are from all over the world. This means that whenever you tweet, you’ll have followers online. I like to setup a schedule for tweeting several times a day at specific times. I then go online and find the best content (mainly motivational quotes as they do super well as you can see from my Twitter stream) and schedule them out over the coming months. This allows me to spend two to three hours once every three months finding good quotes. Keep in mind that you can always post something important to social media whenever you want. This is just scheduling out so when you get busy, you don’t look inactive.
6. Curate content
Social media isn’t just about sharing content that you’ve created. It’s also about sharing other people’s content. Thankfully, curating is easier than ever with the help of those automation tools that you’ve been using. For example, Hootsuite gives you the option to discover suggested content that you’re interested in based on keywords. Buffer allows you to create a posting schedule based on updates from within your network.
7. Focus on one task when you have down time
Finally, you have to realize that you can’t automate 100% of your social media activity and have it be exactly what a dream account would look like. If you want to have a huge strong following, automation won’t ensure this. There needs to be moments when you have an actual interaction with customers, fans or followers. And, trust me, people can easily notice when an account is basically a robot. Instead of getting overwhelmed, focus on accomplishing one task whenever you have some down time.
This could be anything from responding to or leaving comments, personally sharing updates or refreshing your profile. You don’t necessarily have to do this every 30 minutes, but try finding a little bit of time each day or each week to give your account a human touch. I find that the more personal touch I give my account the more real I am to my followers. This gains their trust and with their trust you can make a more powerful impact online.