Most of us start out with good intentions, but business gets in the way of maintaining an active, consistent presence on social media. Like most things, however, the more you put in, the more you get out. Getting any real value from social media means being active every day.
Step 3 in our series on how to get going and keep going on social media is managing your social media platforms – using tools that will help you post regularly and consistently, respond to posts on your pages, and more.
There are different approaches and tools, the ones you use will depend on your particular needs and how many social media platforms you have.
Simply creating a schedule for yourself (e.g. posting content every Monday at 11 am) is one tool.
Then there are social media tools you can download to your desktop that will help you manage all your social media platforms in one place – some are free, some not. Hootsuite’s basic offering is the most popular free social media management tool, but you might opt for a paid tool like AgoraPulse or Buffer if you have several social media pages and want to do more with them.
A third option is to outsource; this can depend on your budget and finding the right provider that you feel resonates with your business and your brand.
Plan A – A Simple Schedule
You can allocate a specific time each day to your social media activities, for example, first thing in the morning before you get to your emails. By blocking out a dedicated time, you will get into the habit of regularly posting content and interacting with followers.
Social media coach Chanelle Segerius-Bruce says consistency is the key. She suggests going live with a blog post at the same time and on the same day each week and then using the rest of the week on social media to promote your blog post. The social media posts should also be done at the same time each day.
Plan B – Get Tools
Social media management tools are a great way to publish content to several platforms and schedule posts ahead of time. They can also help you get information on and find new followers.
There are many tools to choose from; here’s an introduction to five:
Hootsuite – One of the most widely used. The entry package is free with payment options for the more feature-rich packages. The free package supports most of the major platforms and you can manage up to five platforms for free.
Every post – You can connect your Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Tumblr accounts. You can also pull visual content from many different sources such as Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest to create your own unique content.
AgoraPulse – Packages start from 29 euros per month but offer lots of value. AgoraPulse integrates Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so this can be a good option if you have these three platforms. A big advantage with this tool is that you can quickly reply to people who have mentioned you.
Buffer – This tool looks simple and is easy to navigate. Once you create your account, you can choose which social networks you want to add. Then use the content tab to create and share your content. You can also use the analytics feature to get reports on your social media reach.
MavSocial – Supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and others. This tool also stores and manages all your images, videos and audio files so that you can easily re-use them.
For more information on social media management tools, check out the Tools Guy, Ian Anderson Gray. He also offers a free tool guide on over 30 social, SEO and marketing tools.
Plan C – Outsource
Outsourcing your social media management can be a viable option if you don’t have the time but do have a budget. You would need to develop a close relationship with the person or company you outsource to so that they get a real feel for your business and are in touch with what’s happening in your business.
Small business owner Debbie Logan (of the Organic, Natural and Whole-Food Emporium) outsourced her social media management and says it has been invaluable in helping get her business to the next level. “Linda’s initial focus was on helping with marketing and social media and the website, but as she got deeper into our business we got so much more than that,” says Logan. “In a short period of time, Linda’s become indispensable, helping me with things I could never get to, helping us be more focused in the communication points with customers, and helping us understand them better.”
Take out: To be really effective on social media, you need a regular, consistent presence. You can do this yourself by sticking to a simple schedule that gets you into the habit of posting regularly at the same time each day. Or, you can try a social media management tool like Hootsuite or Buffer that helps you do a whole lot more. If you decide to go the outsourcing route, take the time to find someone who resonates with your business and your brand.
Author: Nicky Grandin