Creating a Social Media Strategy That’ll Keep You Productive (And Will Actually Work)

It’s tempting to “just get going” with your social media efforts – to operate without a real strategy or even a loose plan.

We’ve all done it.

A random post here, a minor profile tweak there. Before you know it, you’re aimlessly meandering through your social channels like a kitten on roller skates.

It’s not pretty and, well, it’s not very productive.

(Not to mention dangerous!)

Reel it in for a moment and get back on steady ground. We’re here to share our secret sauce to social media productivity.

First things first…

Do you have a social media strategy?

You do? Great, crack that baby open and don’t be afraid to tweak it. Remember, this is a living and breathing document.

You don’t? No problem, it’s not as intimidating as it sounds. (Although building a social media strategy takes a little bit of time on the front end.)

It’s worth it, though – and you’ll easily make up that time (and then some) down the road.

Sold? Good!

A sound strategy has two major parts – goals and a plan.

First, let’s talk goals.

Your social media marketing goals should solve a business challenge. Consider the pain points across your entire organization, whether customer service, HR, marketing, PR, or sales.

You can’t solve everything, so identify the top challenges you can address through your social media efforts.

If the bulk of your sales come from the web, for example, but your website traffic has taken a turn for the worse, you may want to focus your goals on driving qualified traffic to your site.

It’s easy to get distracted by fluffy success metrics, but keep your eye on the prize and optimize with your goals in mind – not someone else’s!

Goals don’t achieve themselves, though – so get crackin’ on a hardworking plan that will help you achieve them.

A well-documented plan should incorporate a variety of components, such as:

  • Audit: If you don’t already have a social media footprint, set one up. If you do, what are you doing? What’s working and not working? Before you do anything, get a lay of the land.
  • Network plan: Which social channels should you focus on? Which channel or channels will help you reach your goals? Master each channel’s idiosyncrasies – there’s no bigger timesuck than doing a little bit of everything, but not doing anything 100 percent.
  • Content plan: What kind of content is right for your audience? Can you consistently and efficiently produce or acquire it? Consider how you can upcycle or turn one piece of content into many.
  • Audience plan: How will you find your desired audience? Does it involve opening up new markets with Facebook ads or experimenting with hashtag strategies?
  • Workflow: Get a process and ownership plan lined up. We love project management tools like Trello for collaboration, organization, assignment, and prioritization of tasks. Get a handle on that workflow, and you’ll be better off for it!
  • Tools: What tools will help you execute your plan with mucho efficiency? We’ll talk more about Edgar below (because hey, we use it), but we also heart tools for easy-peasy graphic creation and even mindfulness tools that make us more productive humans (in and out of the workplace).

Establishing and documenting your social media marketing strategy will help you focus and prioritize your efforts without the wasted efforts.

High-five, productivity!

Now you need a social media calendar

Social media calendars allow you to plan out your publishing schedule and initiatives for each social media channel.

Getting all this nonsense in one place keeps you sane, gives stakeholders a single location for info, and helps you manage the flow of content to your social channels.

Here’s how we do it ourselves.

Rather than plotting out individual posts, we plan our posting schedules by category (or content pillar).

Let’s say you’re a wild elephant trainer. (Because hey, one can dream.)

Your categories might include things like animal news, elephant showcases, tips and tricks, holidays, animal jokes, and peanut-heavy recipes. Essentially, your categories are groupings for all the types of content you post on social media.

With Edgar, you make a social media calendar that automatically posts certain types of content at certain times. Tell your tool to post updates in your “Tips and tricks” category every Friday at noon, for example, and boom – you’re good to go.

(Leaning in? Great, we talk more about our unique approach to calendar planning here: Our Social Media Planning Routine.)

Focus on what works

Like we said, rather than spreading yourself thin between 50 different social media channels, be strategic about where you spend your time based on the network that drives the biggest return on investment (ROI).

And remember: investment comes not just in the form of money, but in the form of TIME.

(Hey, you ain’t workin’ for free, right?)

Be cutthroat about which platforms work and which efforts on those platforms are helping you meet your short and long-term goals.

Dig into those analytics. Having a firm grasp on performance and costs across all your social media channels will save you boatloads of time in the long run, because you’ll have focus!

Identify and eliminate bottlenecks

Gather up the team for a good ol’ productivity think-fest. Take that elevator up to the hundredth floor and get a top-down look at everything you are doing on social media.

(Metaphorically, at least. Your computer would be hard to see from the hundredth floor.)

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What tasks do you dread?
  • What tasks take FOREVER?
  • What’s working pretty well, but has more potential?
  • What’s straight-up broken?

Next, start brainstorming possible solutions. Not necessarily guaranteed solutions – just stuff you can try.

We know you have ideas! Get those solutions down. Don’t hold back. No idea is too ridiculous.

(Unless, of course, your solution to filling the gaps in your party playlist is to fly in Britney Spears for a live show. We told you, Reginald, it’ll never work!)

After you get a look at all your possibilities, trim down your list to the most likely solutions – then test, adjust, rinse, and repeat!

Be agile. Ditch what doesn’t work and move forward with what does.

Which leads us to…

Make finding and posting content easier

According to a study, finding and posting social media content is the number one most time-consuming social media task for small businesses.

Source: http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-business/carianneking/2015-10-12/how-much-time-and-money-do-small-business-spend-social-media

There are loads of ways to “find” content, but here are a few avenues to explore:

  • Sign up for email newsletters and publications, or use a curation tool (we like Flipboard) to feed that inner news junkie. Don’t be afraid to share valuable tidbits from thought leaders and news sources outside your own company!
  • Hire an outside content writer. Make sure to find a partner that is mutually a great fit.
  • Get going with guest contributors. Bringing in an outside expert to create content can take some of the stress off you, and also opens up room for fresh perspective!
  • Tap your internal team of thought leaders. Whether they share a valuable article or write a blog post, variety of perspective is the spice of life. Just make sure not to lose control of your brand voice!

Now on to that pesky posting part. . .

The antidote to the painful and time-consuming process of posting and reposting your social media content is automation.

Whether you use MeetEdgar or not (we hope you do, though!), do yourself a favor and get this step automated.

The benefits of automation are more plentiful than an all-you-can-eat buffet in Vegas:

  • Schedule and plan your posts in advance. This way, when something disrupts your routine (like it always does!), you aren’t scrambling to write and upload posts. Plus, you’ll get your posts out at a time that’s best for you and your audience!
  • Get the most out of your content by recycling it. Remember, not everyone sees it the first time, so schedule and cycle through your hardest working content. (Even big brands do it.) Consistency is crucial in audience building!
  • Free up more time for the tasks that do require a human, like engaging with your fans and getting social media strategies in place (nope, we aren’t going to let that one go).

So, what’s in YOUR secret productivity sauce?

Got a trick or two you use to stay productive?

Something that makes long-term planning more strategic – or your day-to-day less stressful?

Share your social media marketing productivity tips in the comments below!

Summary
Creating a Social Media Strategy That'll Keep You Productive (And Will Actually Work)
Article Name
Creating a Social Media Strategy That'll Keep You Productive (And Will Actually Work)
Description
Social media marketing can take over your life if you're not careful - but laying down a strategy that makes sense can tame your daily routine! Here's how.
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Meet Edgar
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    • Hi guys,
      Great article. Thanks for posting it. I loved the “pizza is knowledge”! So true…
      There is a trend right now that says “do not create content, document.” And, if you document your business, then “creating” content takes much less time. What are toughts on this?
      Cheers,

      • Tom VanBuren

        Makes sense! I’d say that documenting is a type of creation – but also, mindset makes a HUGE difference, and thinking of it as documenting instead of as “creating content” could make the task feel a lot less daunting!

    • Thanks for sharing such a great post on social media strategy. Being a social media manager it will be very helpful to me. Lots to take in and consider but superb perspective.

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