How to Save Hours Each Week With Social Media Tools
A great question I am asked on a regular basis is, “Kathleen, how do you do it all and still manage to maintain your online presence?” My answer? “I automate as much of it as possible.” Social media is a very powerful tool at our disposal; but like anything else, we have to find the right balance.
Thankfully, there are brilliant programs out there to help business owners like ourselves to streamline our processes, enabling us to focus more on other important tasks. One such tool that has been extremely helpful to me is social media scheduling. As I mentioned above, social media is phenomenal for connecting with our peers, our clients, and our families.
However, if left uninhibited, social media can become a black hole of hours lost to mindless scrolling and “liking.” Have you ever fallen victim to the Facebook abyss? Pretty sure we all have. “LOOK – cute puppies!”
For business owners, social media can seem quite demanding with regards to pique posting hours and maintaining the engagement of our followers. If you feel overwhelmed with the amount of time you are spending on social media, don’t worry; you are not alone. Let’s look at a few options for automating social media for your business that will allow you to reclaim your time.
Arguably the most popular of the social media scheduling sites, Hootsuite offers social media scheduling services for the most used social networks. Such networks include Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube and more. Hootsuite allows you to schedule your social media posts throughout the various profiles that you maintain over numerous social networks. Hootsuite offers free and subscription plans based on the number of profiles you wish to manage.
One item that sets Hootsuite apart from other social media scheduling services is its recent complete integration with Instagram. This integration is HUGE because it allows you to schedule visual social media for your followers. If you use Instagram, you’ll want to get on board with Hootsuite to start using this feature to free up some time.
Hootsuite has a free version that is suitable for most small business owners.
Buffer is considered to be Hootsuite’s biggest competitor. Buffer is fully integrated with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Buffer offers a 30-day Free Trial upon sign up, in which you decide to continue with a paid subscription based upon your needs, starting at $10 per month. The biggest difference here is the integration with Pinterest with Buffer versus Instagram with Hootsuite. Both integrations are visual based media sources, and can be great ways to drive traffic to your site.
My new personal fave! Edgar is relatively new to the social media scheduling game, but it offers a unique way to schedule content. Edgar schedules content based on categories that you create within the service, such as Inspirational, Funny, Interesting, Blog Posts, Promotional, Tips, etc. Once you have created content in your respective categories, Edgar is able to share them on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
The biggest benefit that Edgar has over the other scheduling tools is that your posts get recycled. Once you have everything all set up, you will never be at a loss for social media posts. Just keep adding new posts, and you’ll have the option to make it recurring based on the parameters you set.
Edgar offers a 14-day Free Trial, after which you can decide to continue your services starting at $49 per month.
If you have already implemented a social media scheduling platform, and you are looking to curb the amount of time you spend on social media, there are tools that can help you! Even if you have scheduled a boatload of content on Hootsuite or Buffer, you might still be tempted to check Facebook or Twitter to see how things are going. There isn’t anything wrong with that!
The problem arrives when you begin to spend minutes mindlessly scrolling through feeds, wasting precious time that could be spent in a more productive way. Come on, it happens to all of us sometimes. If you struggle with staying off of social media during times of productivity, consider signing up for SelfControl or Cold Turkey.
SelfControl is an app that is fully integrated with Apple products to lockdown distracting websites for specified amounts of time. Until the time runs out, you won’t be able to visit any of the websites you have blocked. It even comes with a fail-safe in case you decide to cheat the system, and attempt to uninstall the app to check Twitter or Facebook. The lockdown continues until the timer runs out. Quite efficient!
Cold Turkey is similar to SelfControl, only it is available for Microsoft operating systems. Cold Turkey also prevents you from using certain applications on your computer, such as games or emails; because who hasn’t played a few hours of away on Candy Crush or Minesweeper? Truth be told, I don’t play games but I know a lot of people do. Cold Turkey offers free and subscription based plans. Each program is great for curbing your social media enthusiasm.
While automation is a great time saver, it’s also important to engage with your audience occasionally by replying to comments, as well as liking and sharing other posts. You want to let people see you as a real person who interacts with your audience. You can do this once every day or two – get in, get out.
I find it helpful to set aside some time each week to schedule my posts for the next several days. Another option is to have a virtual assistant load all of your posts for you. Regardless of how you manage your social media, one thing is certain: it needs to be scheduled. Scheduling social media updates can free up hours of your day, week, and month, allowing you to spend time on the aspects of your business that truly need your attention.
While you’re on social media, part of your strategy should include building your email list. Grab this FREE 6-week e-Coaching series to use as a free opt-in on your website, and then post about it a few times each month to watch your email list grow.
How have you managed your social media? Do you use one of the services we discussed today? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your success stories!