How to prioritise your time spent in social media

I'll start with a full disclaimer here: I am on social media far more than I want to be and probably far more than I should be. This is why I don't ever hold myself up as an example and I would ask that you wouldn't hold anyone else up as an example of what you should be doing. The reason why will be clear by the end of this post.

Keeping on top of social media content is hard

I'm always the first person to admit it. I work with a lot of people who are desperately trying to fit it all in. I get asked a lot of questions about prioritising and scheduling and how the heck to do it and more, so I've tried to answer some of that stuff here. Hopefully it helps you...would love your feedback in the comments.

How much time should I allocate to my business' social media?

The answer to this is purely subjective. I will not be able to answer this for you without a deeper understanding of your business. But here are some questions that I recommend you go through to determine the answer, followed by my own experience below.

1. Why are you using social media for your business?

If the answer is 'because everyone else is' or 'because my competitors are' then dig deeper for the answer.

Some examples include: to build a community of loyal purchasers, to have a voice and be able to speak on a particular subject, to connect with new customers and clients, to have a low cost advertising platform, to grow my email list, to reach overseas or interstate markets, to drive sales through my website etc. 

Being clear on your 'why' will determine your 'how' and help you to prioritise your time, energy and even budget accordingly.

2. Do you have a sales problem?

If yes and you think that sales problem can be significantly helped by your social media then it should be a priority. If you think it could be significantly helped by other ways of marketing or networking then you should weigh up those options and place them in order of priority. I think a whiteboard and a few coloured textas might do the job here. "What are my sales targets and how will I get there?" might be a good header on that whiteboard.

If you don't have a sales problem, that's great. But maybe you have a growth plan, customer service or even exit strategy that could be helped by having a strong social media presence. If you are doing well and social media is just a thing that you do, then you should allocate your time and energy appropriately. 

3. What's your level of competence, comfort and skill in creating content for social media?

Does it take you hours of fiddling and stress to get a post out or are you quick, confident and capable? Do you have other people in the business who can help you? These are important things to consider. If creating content causes you stress or takes a long time to do, then maybe you need to offload it or get more efficient. That will certainly help if you're feeling like you are spending too much time in this space. Some more tips on that towards the end of this post

 A little bit about my own social media content

People tell me that they can't even imagine how I find the time to be on social media so much. The truth is, it's actually less than I want to be. I want to make videos and do heaps of Stories and do all the things but it's hard to justify the time because I don't get much business directly from my social media. Almost all of my business comes from word of mouth, personal and business networking. Maybe people use my social channels to 'qualify' me but that's hard to track.

When I'm being honest with myself, I admit that maybe I give too much information away. I love sharing tips and I know that there are people out there who maybe can't access my services. I don't have a sales problem but social media is a part of my brand and these tips are a part of my offering, so I try to weigh it accordingly. Writing blogs and newsletters are also time consuming and don't really bring in clients either but I see them as a part of my service and my little commitment to digital inclusion.

So what the heck am I doing spending my limited free time on this stuff? The answer again lies in my brand and business values: Integrity, knowledge, community and creativity. I believe that part of my integrity is to be on this journey with you and experiencing the highs and lows of using social media. I believe in sharing my knowledge, in constant learning and professional development. I love my community, both in real life and online, and my own social media is a creative outlet where I can practice creating stuff, make mistakes, attract bots and all that stuff.

Like I said - don't hold me up as an example.

So how can you prioritise your time more effectively?

Firstly, determine how much time you are willing and able to commit. Then set aside that time on a daily / weekly / fortnightly basis. Whatever works for you and your way of preparing and scheduling content. Set it aside in your calendar like a meeting and stick to it. Bring everyone you need into that meeting and hand out to-do lists. Treat it like any other business function. 

What will happen soon after you do this, is you'll be able to work out how many posts a week you can commit to. Then you just have to stick to the process and be consistent.

Secondly, have an engagement strategy. Engagement on social media is an important part of the whole process. Rather than mindlessly scrolling through your feeds, hoping the algorithm will include everything you need, be a bit strategic.

If you spent ten minutes every morning and afternoon over your cuppa, deliberately going to only ten accounts and engaging with them that would be great. If you chose a different ten accounts each day / each session then that's 20 accounts per day that you are commenting, liking, supporting and being seen on. That's heaps. Choose your accounts according to your growth and visibility strategy and if you don't have one of those, then choose them because your target audience also follows and engages with them. Don't be spammy or flog your products but just interact and be present. Then rinse and repeat every week. 

That's 20 mins or even 10 minutes a day instead of all those little scrolling scrolling scrolling periods of time which probably add up to at least an hour a day.

In conclusion, (yes I've got to stop somewhere), I've really only scratched the surface. To some businesses, social media marketing is incredibly important. To others, it isn't. But really only you can work that out and, as always, I am here if and when you need me.