This series started by discussing the 7 steps to a successful social media plan. After a few of the posts, I realized it might be valuable to some to have an understanding of some of the tools I use to make social media less time consuming.
To review, the 7 (now 8) steps to forming a social media plan are:
- Create a Vision
- Set Strategic Goals
- Find Your Social Media Voice (Persona)
- Build Your Social Media Platform
- Create a Publishing Plan
- Build Your Tribe (Community)
- Evaluate Your Results
- (Yes, I said there are 7 steps, but I’m going to be doing 8 posts and #8 will be a summary of tools of the trade – stay tuned to find out about useful things like Buffer, and Hootsuite).
Hopefully most of the people reading this understand the basic need to have an active presence on at least some social media platforms. But if you’re a small business owner or a solopreneur, you may wonder how you’re going to find the time to add social media to an already full schedule. We’ve talked about consistent publishing and maximizing engagement. While consulting with clients, I’ve suggested that most of them put some content on their social media platforms at least 5 times each week. So, you might question how you’re going to find time to post while also running your business. Here are a few tips.
There are a variety of applications available to help you schedule your posts. If you are only concerned with your Facebook business page, you can use the Facebook scheduler. When you start to type in a status, a small menu will appear at the bottom of your status box. The icon that looks like a clock pointing to 9:00 is the scheduler. You can schedule your post for anytime in the future. (On your personal Facebook profile, you can actually schedule posts for anytime in the past.)
Hootsuite is one of the most popular scheduling tools. The free version of Hootsuite will allow you to schedule posts for up to 5 different social profiles. There is an “auto” scheduler which (according to Hootsuite) will schedule your post for the best time for each platform. But you can also schedule each post for specific times for specific platforms. (I will usually use the auto schedule and then go in and tweak the schedule).
Buffer is another scheduling tool. It’s somewhat similar to Hootsuite. There are people that have a preference for Buffer and people that have a preference for Hootsuite. I use the free versions of both Buffer and Hootsuite and I’ve found they both work well for the price, but at times I’ve had trouble with both of them. What I will typically do is use one for a while, and then when I have trouble with it, I switch to the other. While I will switch back and forth between the two based on which I’m having less trouble with at any given moment, one thing that I will not do is spend time complaining or being frustrated with tools that I use for free.
Which one should you use? Try both out and see what works best for you.
Two weeks ago (part 6) we talked about engagement. Responding to comments on your posts is very important to solidifying relationships. Make sure that you have notifications set to on. You need to be aware of the comments, likes, and shares that are happening.
By keeping these tools in your back pocket, you’ll make the most productive use of your social media time. This will give you more time to work on your business.
- HootSuite vs. Buffer for the Heavyweight Championship. Mike Allton (socialmediatoday.com)
- Hootsuite vs Tweetdeck (business2community.com)