While many social media tools are free to use, they can end up eating into your bottom line when you spend hours scheduling messages and don't get the results you crave.
But with some out-of-the-box thinking, you can slash the time you spend on social media while also improving your results - here's how to reduce social time while maximizing the ROI of your efforts.
Clarify These Two Things First
Before you do anything else, clarify these two things:
- How much time you want to spend on social media every day?
- What you want from social media?
You need to establish what you want to accomplish and how much time you have to spend in order to make more informed decisions on how to maximize your time and reach your goals.
When you don't know why you're on social media and what you hope to accomplish, it can be too easy to get sucked into a black hole, like following every hashtag on Twitter that's remotely related to your business.
Commit to the Platform Where Your Users Congregate
A big reason behind social media time suck is platform jumping. If you're on LinkedIn one week and Pinterest the next, you can't really grow an audience on either. To succeed, you need to spend your time on the platforms where your target audience hangs out, even if it isn't your favorite platform. Spend time every day for a period of months on those platforms - and ignore the others - to increase the ROI of your social.
Link Your Accounts to Save Time
If you already have multiple channels, you don't have to abandon them once you've narrowed your focus. By linking your social accounts, you can maintain activity across several channels at once.
If you like, you can use a scheduler or a service like IFTTT (If This Then That) to push content from the platforms you're committed to onto other channels. So if you're trying to grow your Instagram followers, you can also keep your existing Twitter account active without spending any time on Twitter by automating every picture posted to Instagram to also show up via tweet. Each platform is very different, of course, so you need to tread carefully when linking up posts, but it can be a great way to maintain activity with minimal effort.
Schedule and Track Your Content
All social media marketers should consider scheduling content in Hootsuite or Buffer to save time. If you've set aside 20 minutes a day for social media, spend one day every week scheduling content. Spend another day finding shareable content to schedule next week, two days interacting with brand fans on social media, and one day analyzing your results.
Once you can identify which types of content are succeeding for your business - say, images of products versus inspirational quotes - you can then hone your focus to schedule more of the desired content and increase engagement your channels. Now, you can spend more time doing what works and less time guessing.
When you make sure that all your social time counts, replicate what works, and go where your users are, you will see better results and save yourself valuable time.
Main image via scyther5 / Shutterstock.com