How to create big social media results, without the big time suck

Gemma Went is a digital strategist & business mentor with over 16 years experience in the online world. She gives Talk Business her top tips of how to create big social media results without spending all your time doing it. 

If you’re serious about seeing big results from social media, you will. And that doesn’t mean you need to spend hours and hours in a Twitter vortex or a Facebook quagmire. You can achieve maximum results for your business without wasting precious time – you just have to put a bit of effort into setting up your system.

The first step is to design a social media strategy for your business. This should focus on your goals with regards to social media marketing, and it should outline the specific actions you will take to achieve those goals.

It will also be a hub for a lot of important consumer information. Where is your target market hanging out? What type of content resonates with them? What specific struggles can you help them address?

I have a Social Media Strategy Workbook that I advise all of my clients to work through as soon as they decide to get intentional about social media – the clarity that comes with putting everything down on paper (or screen) really will help guide all your future social media activity.

A key part of that initial strategy is to pick your platforms. You do not have to conquer every single channel out there. Figure out where your audience likes to consume content and engage with brands, then work on developing a presence on that platform. Leave the others on the back burner for now.

I also recommend booking time to focus on your social media activity, and I mean that literally. Book regular slots in your calendar that you can use to dip into your chosen platforms, engage, and share value with your community. A key part of social media is being social. Note that I said “social” and not “mindlessly scrolling through all the news feeds”.

Having said that, there are also many tools out there to help you streamline your social media antics. You can use free tools to automate social sharing, such as IFTTT, and others to batch create and schedule your social updates – I like Buffer and Smarterqueue. I do caution businesses when it comes to using these tools though – automation should not replace authentic human engagement.

I’m a big advocate for outlining processes – that applies to social media, as well as every other area of your business. I like to use the checklist function in Trello to make sure my team and I take every step we’re supposed to. To start creating your own process lists, take a few minutes to jot down every move you make when carrying out a particular activity. It would also be a good idea to create a checklist for your desired daily, weekly, and monthly social media habits and activities. This will make it much easier to hand over your social media activity when you’re ready to outsource.

Speaking of which, outsourcing is the single most effective way to save time on social, without compromising your results. It can take a while to build a team that shares your values, and does everything to your standards, but it’s worth doing. Without my team I wouldn’t be able to do all the things I do, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to focus on growing and developing my business. Remember, social media is a tool to help you market your business, it should not be your sole focus.

At the end of each month, or at least at the end of each quarter, I would recommend you set some time aside to review your social media initiatives. I like to use a dashboard app called Cyfe to collate the data from different sources of analytics so I can see what’s working, and what isn’t. It’s really helpful to see what types of content my tribe interacts with, and which don’t resonate with them. You can also get some handy insights into ideal posting times and the like.

This information can then be fed back into your social strategy, so you make sure every move is as focused and targeted as possible.