Say you decided to start having a cookie after dinner every day.
(Because you’re just good to yourself that way.)
You probably wouldn’t bake one cookie every day, would you? Whisking together a few drops of egg, a few pinches of sugar, a sliver of butter, and a couple of chocolate chips so that you can bake a lonely little cookie doesn’t make much sense. You’d make a whole batch of cookies at the start of the week, get all the work out of the way, and then spend the next few days enjoying the fruits of your labor. (Well, not fruits, but you get it.)
Turns out, cookies aren’t the only thing you should whip up in batches. Preparing your social media updates in batches can make your life a whole lot easier, too.
Living your life one status update at a time doesn’t make any more sense than baking the lonely cookie over and over. It means you have to start from scratch every single time – maybe not with raw ingredients, but with the mindset you put yourself in to accomplish the task.
It gets in the way of your schedule, because every time you want to share something, you have to set aside the time to write it and post it. You end up task-switching all the time, which can wreak havoc on your productivity without you even noticing.
Basically, it’s a total pain.
So what’s the trick to social batching? How do you measure out and prep everything you need ahead of time, so that you aren’t starting over from scratch every single day?
There are exactly TWO things you do on social media, and you can do them both in batches.
When it really comes down to it, pretty much everything you do on social comes down to one of two actions:
- Live interaction (replies, retweets, shares, and so on)
- Posting original updates (the things you share, whether it’s an update you wrote, a photo/video, or a link to someone else’s website)
Both of these are things you can do in batches, so you don’t have to do them constantly.
First, live interactions.
You can’t plan live interactions ahead of time, because you don’t know what other people are going to post in advance. (Unless you do, but please, keep those psychic visions on the down-low.)
You can, however, plan how much time you’re going to dedicate to live interactions in advance.
For example, it’s tempting to keep a tab open to Twitter all day, so you can jump back and forth and see what’s new. Whether it’s checking your notifications, looking for insightful new blog posts to read, or hunting down Twitter chats you can jump in on, the opportunity to distract yourself from work is always there, just one little tab away.
That’s why you have to come to terms with a harsh truth.
At any time of day or night, there are interesting things happening on social media. Things you would enjoy. Articles you’d like to read, conversations you’d like to join. But unless your one and only job is to monitor social media, and you somehow finagle your way out of requiring sleep on a daily basis, you will never, EVER be able to experience everything.
Check your FOMO at the door. On social media, missing out is an inevitability.
The only trick is to be okay with it, and budget your time realistically.
Set aside blocks of time throughout the day for checking social media updates and interacting live, and stick to those times.
Respond to notifications, engage other users, find articles to share, retweet The Rock, do whatever – but do it on a schedule. Knock out as much as you can in batches, so the rest of the time, you’re not falling into those nasty task-switching habits that keep you oh-so-distracted from what you should be doing.
That brings us to the OTHER thing you do on social media: post original updates.
You can’t post an update until you write it, though, so batching your social media updates actually starts long before you even open a browser window.
Ready to whip up a great big batch of social media updates that’ll last you all month? Here’s how to do it, step by step.
Recipe for the Perfect Batch of Social MediaUpdates
Every recipe has two parts: the ingredients and the instructions.
First up, the ingredients – these are your updates themselves, and you’ve gotta make ‘em from scratch.
Like any recipe, your ingredients can’t all be the same. You can’t make cookies with just a carton of eggs, or a bag of flour – you need a variety of different things. On social media, that means a variety of different update types, such as:
- Links to your own content – Blog posts, videos, downloads, etc.
- Other people’s content – Remember the 80/20 rule!
- Shareable wisdom – Quotes, tips, and wit
- Promotions – Contests, sales, newsletter signups, and more
These are just a few examples of the types of updates you probably share on a regular basis. (You might even break things down more – have separate categories for expert tips and shareable quotes, for example.)
Now, the instructions.
Say you end up with six or so categories – six types of updates that you routinely share.
Eventually, you’ll end up sharing some of those types more often than others – posting more links to other people’s content than you do to your own, for example – but for now, keep it simple and assume that you’re posting them all with the same frequency.
If you’re posting three updates a day, five days a week, that’s a pretty respectable number when you’re starting out. That makes 15 updates a week, or 60 a month.
60 updates a month comes down to 10 updates per category per month.
Not so bad, right?
And now you make the batch.
Once a month, sit down and write 10 updates per category. That’s it! 10 links to blog posts you think are interesting. (Shouldn’t be too hard to find, right?) 10 tips or quotes. 10 links to your own blog posts, and so on – and when you’re done, you’re done.
You take your big batch of updates, load them up into your scheduler of choice, and kick back – you now know that for the next four weeks, your social profiles are going to keep posting a steady stream of updates at all the right times, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
That gives you the freedom to schedule in your live interaction batches whenever you want – and since you’re not spending time every day thinking of new stuff to post, you can actually spend more time on live interaction than you were before. And let’s be honest – the live interaction is the fun part of all this anyway, isn’t it?
So take this recipe for managing your social media in batches, give it a try, and see how much less of a chore your social media management can be!