As a professional trying to build your online brand or an entrepreneur starting or running your own business, here's what I would like to tell you about social media: You don't need to do it all to do it well.
When marketing experts suggest brands create a presence on all the major platforms (and at this point, there are probably around eight) and post content on them all several times a day--they're not talking to you. There's no way you're realistically going to be able to do that well.
In my book, social media falls strongly into the "quality over quantity" category--especially if you're a one-person shop and don't have the resources to hire a social media manager. So if you're trying to figure out how to stay on top of your social media game (without losing your mind), here are four suggestions.
1. Plan First, Build Second
I've seen so many people rush to get their brands up on a bunch of social media platforms, only to find themselves completely overwhelmed with what to publish and when to publish it within a few weeks.
To begin, pick one or two platforms. That's it. You want to focus on figuring out how to grow a platform--once you've gotten that down, you can add more.
To pick the right starter platforms, think about three things: where your audience is hanging out, which platforms you actually like using, and which platforms support the kind of content you want to post. If you're marketing your photography business, for example, Pinterest would be the perfect platform to showcase your work--whereas Twitter may not be as effective.
And, unless you're already a whiz on the platform, take an hour to walk yourself through a tutorial or two before you do anything else, so you can get comfortable with creating a page, posting content, engaging followers, and tracking your analytics. A good foundational knowledge will make the daily publishing and engaging feel less daunting.
2. Get Organized
I know many people out there cringe at the idea of an editorial calendar because of its rigidity, but it's truly the only way you're going to keep on top of everything. (Find out how to create one here.)
A well planned-out calendar will help you map out when you'll be posting content, as well as where you're getting that content. Are you writing it yourself? Curating it from other sites? Re-posting previous content?
Once you have content regularly scheduled on your calendar, set reminders for yourself (I have mine on my phone) to post and engage throughout the day so you don't get caught up in the rest of your busy day and forget to do it.
3. Leverage Your Content
While you don't want to post the exact some content on every single platform, leveraging your best content across different platforms can seriously boost your social media efficiency.
So, for example, if you write a blog every week, you can tweet the link to the blog on Twitter and post a related picture on Instagram (and include a link to it in your caption!). Now, instead of having to create three separate pieces of social media content, you've killed three birds with one stone.
Learn more about how to get the most mileage out of your content here.
4. Find Some Great Tools
When you're a one-man band, you're always fighting against time. There just doesn't seem to be enough time in the day to successfully do your job and maintain an engaging presence on social media. The good news is, there are plenty of tools and apps that can help keep you on track. Inc. compiled a list of 60 of the best social media tools, like Hootsuite and Pocket, which you can take a look at here.
A lot of times, we look to experts and best practices to tell us how to engage with our community on social media. And while there's a lot of great advice out there, if what they're saying doesn't resonate or doesn't feel realistic to you, you're never going to do it.
People ask me all the time: How many times should I really be posting on my platforms? And my answer is: How many times can you realistically be posting on your platforms? Start there.