Stay productive managing your social media

Can you imagine a few years ago being told that, in the future, being a “Social Media expert” will be a viable, and highly competitive, career choice? It’s amazing to think how far the medium has come in such a short time, and how critical it has become to business. Any company hoping to go anywhere will eventually need to create a social media presence, and responsibility will fall to one person or a group of people.

It can be daunting considering how much is riding on the success/failure of this endeavour. But we’re going to presume, having found yourself in the position, that you have a good idea about what you’re doing. However, having all of the knowledge is only half of the battle – putting it into action in the best way possible is just as critical. So we’ve compiled a list of productivity tips, which will hopefully help translate your good ideas into good results.

Use a dedicated browser
We’ll start with the . . . start. When you’re in the early days of launching a Social Media presence, you may want to work on several sites at once. You may have an interest Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest and Instagram, but managing all of them (and remembering to post on all of them) could be a challenge. The way around this is to have browser you devote solely to these sites. If you use Google Chrome in your personal life, why not set up a Firefox browser that launches all of these sites at launch, and then use Chrome for all of your other work?

Build lists of other content creators
Now you’re set up on your sites, it’s time to bury yourself in content – other peoples content that is. Compiling lists of like-minded content creating people, or companies, accomplishes several things. Firstly, their content can be used for inspiration. We don’t mean “copy and paste their content”, but use it to fuel your own. A social media account based on football will want to see content from different teams for example, so that they in turn can write content based on this information.

Secondly, sharing out this content will not only create goodwill “relationships” with other accounts, but will also improve your accounts appeal if done correctly. If you only share content that your audience enjoy and consume, they will be happy to stick around and look at the content you produce yourself.

social media productivity

Set aside dedicated time
If you work in an office as a freelancer, this may not apply to you. But for most freelancers, you’ll be working from home most of the time. Staying productive at home is crucial, and perhaps most importantly, you need to set aside dedicated time for your social media activity. But unlike office workers, who typically work a 9 to 5 day, you may need to be more flexible with your time slot.

To return to the football social media account example, posting things at midday on a Tuesday may not be a prudent as posting things at 11am on a Saturday, a few hours before match times. An account dedicated to nights out will be better placed to be “online” on Friday afternoons/evenings than on Monday mornings. So use some common sense as to when it’s best to be active, and plan accordingly.

Make a calendar of events
This is something relatively easy and simple to do, but can save you a lot of scrambling about. If you’re a video games based account, you can look ahead and note down significant event – game releases, conventions and press conferences, time frames where games are expected to be announced etc. – and plan ahead. You can either use this information to write and time previews or reviews accordingly, or to organise your other work so when a conference is taking place, you are free to cover it live. There are plenty of programmes designed to help with this type of scheduling. Check Trello, as not only is it free, but it’s fully customisable, it has a mobile version as well which will help you to stay productive on the go.

Stay on point
Social Media is changing minute by minute. Something that was hilarious one moment is tacky and played out the next. Staying on the ball is vital, and doing so brings benefits. Is there a hashtag going around that is applicable to your account? Jump on board! Being prominent in the moment can lead to a sharp increase of people looking at your account. But be wary about trying to cash in too cheaply on a new trend.

hashtag trends

For example, if there has been a serious car crash, don’t tweet out about your excellent car insurance rates. If there is a Royal wedding, don’t try to get some traction by calling your carpets “Royal carpets”. Picking and choosing your spots, and using just a small amount of common sense, can be a great way to get eyes on your product.

Find out what is working for you
After a while, it may be worth your time to take stock of how each of your social media accounts is performing. While it would be ideal if you had a strong following across the board, it may become apparent that one or two of the sites aren’t doing the business you would like. It could be that you haven’t utilised the website to the best of it’s abilities, but it could just as easily be that your account is ill suited to the site.

A fashion account will do better (in theory) on visual sites like Pinterest and Tumblr than on something like Google +. You may be spreading yourself thin unnecessarily, so it would be better to focus on sites where you are performing well, before returning to the sites you drop at a later date.

Cast your net wide
That may seem contradictory to the last statement, but this applies more to research than producing content. You may think that a Twitter account could get all of its research and information within the Twittersphere. It can, but the creator may be missing something that is blowing up on Facebook. While you don’t need to have a strong presence on each social media site, you can still check in to them once a day to see if anything on there is starting to gain momentum. Being ahead of the curve could do wonders.

Automate where possible
“Surely automating posts in a medium meant to be spontaneous and flexibly is a bad move” may be your first thought, and you aren’t too far wide of the mark. Having a programme spew out content all day will drive people away, and could lead to accidental “foot in mouth” situations if you post something at the wrong time. But there are a few automation options that could be of benefit. For example, there are programmes that will share out links to any content you produce automatically, saving you the hassle of doing it manually.

You can also schedule content to share at appropriate times. If you review movies, but there is a deadline for when a review can go live, why not schedule the review post to come out after the curfew, so that you can get on with other things? Used smartly, and sparingly, automated content can be just as useful as on-the-spot content.

Recycle old material if poignant
Another cardinal sin to the uninitiated, “old” material still has uses if used correctly. Just because a piece of content has been live for 6 months doesn’t mean it has lost its worth. If you wrote a great profile on an actor, and he then lands a big film role a few months after, why not repost your old profile, with perhaps a few updates? Some of your followers may have already seen it, but newer followers, or people looking for content on the day, will happily take a look. That’s money for old rope!

Keep a lock on your followers
This topic covers a variety of areas, but all of them have some up sides. For one, if you see that a majority of your followers are male, you can either takes steps to try and create some diversity, or build your content to cater for this male audience. If you are followed by other influential accounts, make sure to follow them back and try to build a relationship. All of these little things can add up to create a stronger overall account.

Do you manage your social media productively?

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