Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Tumblr. LinkedIn. YouTube. Pinterest. There are so many social media channels you have to keep up with, and they keep adding more. Tiktok. Musical.ly. Holonis. Sometimes it seems like staying on top of social media is a full-time job. And it can be. But if you run a business, you need to be out there communicating with your customers and posting interesting content. But you don’t want to be on social media all the time.
Even if you’re just on it to promote your business, it’s easy to switch to your personal account and spend time scrolling through. More and more studies are coming out linking social media use to poor mental health. Social media can also be a huge time waster. It can prevent us from getting to the work we actually need to be doing. So how can you use social media in productive ways to promote your business without making it your life?
1. Understand your goals.
Why does your business want to have a presence on social media? Are you trying to get more testimonials and reviews from customers? Are you trying to increase sales or generate more leads? Do you want to advertise on the various social media platforms? Do you want to increase brand awareness and share unique content that showcases the personality of your business?
Get clear and specific about your social media goals. This will help you to determine which platforms you should be using, how much time you should spend on each platform, the types of posts you should be making, and the kind of metrics you want to track.
2. Don’t try to be on every platform.
Each social media platform has its strengths and weaknesses. If you’re running a business that has a lot of great images–like a customer’s haircut at a hair salon, clothing at a fashion boutique, or elegant meals served at a restaurant–Instagram is a great place for you to be. If your business is mainly doing B2B work, you’ll definitely want to be on LinkedIn. If you’re sharing content like recipes or DIY projects, Pinterest is the place to be.
Spend time learning about each of the platforms before you decide which ones you should be on. You also want to know where your target audience is spending most of its time. If your target audience is mainly teenagers, for example, you might want to try the newer apps like TikTok and Musical.ly. If your target audience is mostly women in their 50s, you’ll want to concentrate a lot of your efforts on Facebook.
3. Plan out your content a month in advance, and schedule your posts.
Don’t just hop on Twitter and wait for the perfect idea to come to you. Plan out your social media posts. Make a calendar each month. You’ll want to leave some spaces open for sharing relevant news stories, but you can easily create a plan for the rest of the month. This way, you’ll be in the idea generating process for all your posts at the same time each month.
Once you have planned out your content, look into using a social media scheduling tool like Hootsuite, Zoho, or Buffer. These tools allow you to schedule out your social media posts without actually visiting the various social media sites or apps. You’ll still want to spend some time on these platforms to interact with customers and clients, but you can take care of all the actual posting with a tool.
4. Allow a certain amount of time for social media and stick to your schedule.
As I said above, you will want to get on social media platforms and interact with customers and clients. But the best way to avoid a total waste of time is to plan it. Allow yourself 30 minutes, for example, to interact with people on Twitter. Set your timer, and at the end of 30 minutes, get off Twitter and get back to the rest of your work.
At the beginning of each week, you can sit down and decide how much time you should put into each platform. If you really want to work on your Instagram presence, for example, but haven’t seen much benefit from Facebook, plan a little more extra Instagram time. Planning it out at the beginning of the week will help you to create a schedule you can stick with.
5. Turn off phone and desktop notifications.
If you have phone notifications going off every two seconds or desktop notifications popping up on your computer every time someone likes your post, you’ll never get anything done. When you schedule out your social media time, allot some time for checking notifications on each platform. It is important to know when other companies or customers are mentioning you on Twitter, for example, or sharing your LinkedIn posts, but you don’t need to keep up with it 24/7.
6. Only use personal accounts during non-working hours.
It may be incredibly tempting to hop on your personal Facebook after interacting as your business page, particularly if you have to log into your personal Facebook to get to the admin section of your business page. You may want to create a new Facebook just for the purpose of being an admin on your business page. This way you’re less tempted to get on your personal page if you have to logout and log back in.
If you have to check your personal social media during the day, at least wait until lunch or break time. It also might be good to separate it out: having only your personal accounts on your phone and only your business accounts on your computer.
7. Don’t obsess over comments, likes, and shares.
If you post a piece of content you’re particularly proud of, it can be tempting to keep going back to the post to see every time someone likes, comments, or shares. But think of it this way. If you wait to check it, you’ll get to see all the likes, comments, and shares at one time. Sitting on the page and hitting the refresh button to see how people are interacting with your posts is a complete waste of time. There are so many other productive things you could be doing.