Over the last few months, I have been spending a lot of time attending networking events. In that time I have come across a great number of small business owners who are all facing similar problems.
Many small businesses and startups struggle to manage their social media platforms and find it both time consuming and stressful. So I thought I would create a simple, effective plan to help guide business owners on managing their social media in 2.5 hours a week.
Time management is the most important aspect of managing social media for your business. Set out 1-2 hours per month to do your monthly strategy session (not as scary as it sounds I promise) and a clear time and day each week that you can dedicate to your social media content creation and scheduling.
For example, you could say on 1st of every month or the 1st Monday of every month at 10am you will give yourself 1-2 hours for your monthly strategy and planning.
Then every Wednesday at 1pm you will allocate 2 hours for your social media content and scheduling.
Set these times in stone and stick to them as much as possible.
Monthly Strategy & Planning
Ok, I promise this is not scary. Your monthly strategy and planning session is your chance to geek up about social media, your industry news and trends and any relevant events that may be taking place. Ask yourself these questions each month and you will be able to add so much value to the content you provide and save yourself tonnes of time each week when you are creating your content and scheduling.
What is happening in my industry this month? Events? Awards? National Days?
Have there been any changes to the industry? New technology? New businesses? New Laws?
What is happening in my business? Special events? New products? Changes?
Have there been any changes to Social Media? Algorithms? Platforms?
What big events are coming up that may be relevant to my business? Halloween? Christmas?
Make a list of all the things you think might be relevant to your business in order of the date that they happen. This way, when you come to write your content you will be able to access key information quickly and easily. I recommend doing this on an excel spreadsheet with a column for each month.
Also, take this time to think about what images you can use in your posts. Memes? Images of work/products? Start to download relevant images or take new pictures. Put these all in a file titled with the month you are working on. For example January Social Media Images.
If you are creating a monthly blog I also recommend that you use this session to look at trends and topics your audience may be searching for so that you can write a blog about that topic.
In order to get the content created and scheduled within 2 hours each week you will need templates. This may take a bit of time to get right but once you have done it you can reuse it over and over again. This will save you lots of time in the log run. Every business will be different and there will be specific things you want to share with your followers that may not be included in my plan. This is just a guide.
I recommend a weekly social media content plan follows formulae something like this.
Monday – Monday Morning Motivation
Tuesday – Sales pitch/Review/Promotional post
Wednesday – Industry fact/News
Thursday – Link to blog post
Friday – Joke/Meme/Funny Post
Saturday – Benefits of your product service/Link to blog or infographic
Sunday – Ask a question
This will vary depending on your industry. Some more professional businesses may not want to post a meme but you will know what is right for your business. You don’t want to be constantly pitching and selling. You need to be posting relevant content and getting your audience engaged.
Once you have this laid out you will start to think in terms of these 7 different types of post. You don’t have to try and think of totally new ideas each week, you can simply follow this plan and change it up.
Pick Your Platforms & Timings
With all the will and best planning in the world, most business owners will only have time to manage 2 platforms well. For most new B2C (business to consumer) businesses I would recommend Facebook & Instagram. If you are B2B (business to business) I would recommend Facebook & Twitter. Linked In can easily be a duplication of what you post to Facebook but I will cover that later.
You will see what works for your business, every business is different so it’s not one size fits all. If you want any help or advice on what the best platforms may be for you then feel free to drop me a message on Facebook or leave a comment and I will be happy to help you out.
Choose how many posts you will do for each platform and what time of day they will go out. You can look into the best times to post on your profile by using the audience insights section on Facebook. This will show you when your audience is most active.
If you are a small B2C startup I would recommend posting on facebook every day and Instagram once or twice a week. If you are a particularly creative brand this may be more like Facebook 4 times per week, Instagram 3 times per week. For B2B I would recommend twitter daily and Facebook a few times per week. As ever this is not a science and every business will need to find its own flow.
Hashtags and Links
One of the best ways to build engagement on your social media profiles is using Hashtags and Linking to others. For example, if another business stocks your products you could create a post with a picture of their shop and tag them so people know where to buy your products. They will then most likely reshare this post or retweet it.
Create a list of the best hashtags for your business and a list of the handles of other businesses you can link to in your content. Try and link with other businesses that are active on social media. Think about businesses you work with, companies that supply you, regular customers or friends who would be happy to endorse your products.
Put all of these handles and hashtags onto another page on a spreadsheet. This way when you come to create your content you can easily find these and aren’t trying to think of them or search for them on the spot.
Content Creation Made Easy
Ok so you have your formula, you have your list of important days, events and industry trends each month. You have some images. You have your platforms, and timings and you have your top hashtags and links. Now it’s time to get to it and create your content.
The first thing you are going to do is create an excel spreadsheet with 3 columns. You will need to do a separate one for each platform as hashtags and handles will be different however you can copy the main body of your content over each time.
Column A is Date & Time
Column B is Content
Column C is Link
In column A you will input your date and times for the week. If you are only posting for 4 days then only put these 4 days and times. Here is an example of how to formulate it. Once you have this you can reuse it each week and just change the dates. You need a separate one for each platform however some platforms you can use the same content. For example, if you are a very professional B2B business you will probably be able to use the same content for Facebook and Linkedin. Twitter will always be slightly different because of the hashtags.
|Date & Time||Content||Link|
Posts That Get Engagement
So next you will slot your template into your spreadsheet. Monday – Monday motivation, Tuesday – Promotional post etc. Once you have all your days in place, you can refer back to your monthly strategy notes. What is happening this week? Any special events that are relevant to any of your days. Have a look if there are any images or funny memes about these events/topics. Are there any questions you could ask about the topic?
Next, you need to have a look at the list of businesses to engage with – is there anything you could say about them? What are they doing this week? Does that link to any of your days?
Finally for all those you have not filled in you need to come up with something yourself. Ask a question linked to your industry, people love to give their opinions. Have a look on google for any funny memes, interesting facts, links to blogs etc. Any links should be put in the third column but remember to tag other people in the content of the text.
Chech out this great review from @resturantmag featuring @thebullinn who stock our homemade jams #restaurantnews #stoke #cakes
Because of all the previous work you have done when you come to this stage it should be really pretty easy to create your content. You have everything you need already there and so it should be a pretty quick process.
Super Fast Scheduling with Hootsuite
Ok, so why am I asking you to do this in Excel I hear you cry! Well, there is a very good reason and that is something called Bulk Composer…
HootSuite is an amazing platform for scheduling your social media posts, every business should have an account. It is actually free for a basic one user account (although the homepage doesn’t show the free account, you have to dig to find it). This allows you to schedule up to 30 posts in advance, which is more than enough for a small business.
So get yourself an account, link your chosen profiles and then you can get to it. Now I could try and explain how bulk composer works, but there are tonnes of videos on Youtube that show you how to use it…
It takes a few goes to get used to using the Bulk Composer however once you have mastered it, it will save you tonnes of time. You can also upload your content on multiple platforms at one time. I recommend putting everything you post to Facebook on Google+ for SEO purposes. If you are B2B then you may want to put some of these posts onto linkedin.
Now another important part of your social media is engagement. Each week you should follow new people, like, comment, share and retweet things from your followers. This is the best way of building relationships with key people in your industry, new potential customers or business associates.
I recommend you spend some time creating a list of all the top people and businesses you want to engage with. Then when you have time you can simply go down your list and engage with these important people.
So how long does all this take?
As a small business owner, you wear so many hats and have to spread your time so thinly. With this plan you should be able to complete your social media marketing in 2.5 hours per week.
The plan allows for 1-2 hours planning each month.
1.5 hours for creating content and scheduling posts each week.
30 minutes for engagement each week.
I really hope this is helpful to you and can give you an insight into how you can structure your social media marketing so that it works effectively for your business. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or drop me a message.