If you are responsible for multiple social media channels, then you know exactly what it means to feel like social media is managing your life. There is so much out there, rapidly changing every second – how are you supposed to keep up with it all? Between tweeting, retweeting, favoriting, posting, reposting, pinning, liking, sharing, blogging, friending, unfriending, boosting, following and unfollowing, when will you be able to not stare at a screen?
When I was first starting out in social media management and trying to keep my company’s channels organized and up-to-date, a mentor gave me an excellent piece of advice: Keep It Simple, Silly. (I now know that the last “S” usually stands for “Stupid,” so thanks for keeping it kind, Kristin.) So KISS – what does that mean? Basically it means that systems perform best with simple designs rather than complex. Applied to social media, it means focusing on what works for you and doing a few things really well rather than trying to be everywhere at once.
It also means this: take a deep breath and relax. You are allowed to have a life outside of social media that doesn’t involve checking your phone for updates every minute. Unless there is a crisis situation (and believe me you’ll know when that happens on social media) you can eat dinner or see a movie with your family. It will keep, I promise.
So in the spirit of keeping it simple, here are five social media management tips to help you feel more in control:
The Internet is on 24/7, but you are not. You will crash and burn if you think you have to be on social media all day, every day, monitoring and responding. You absolutely have to disconnect sometimes. Luckily, most organizations understand social media better now than even a few years ago. There is no need to give your company online shout-outs every five minutes or constantly scour the world for any mentions so you can react within seconds.
Plus there are now great social media tools to manage things while you get your required sleep – you can have tweets and posts scheduled all through the night to go out automatically without lifting a finger. Which is something else to remember: unless you’re an international brand, is the majority of your audience really checking out your posts at 1 a.m.? Is there any reason your posts can’t wait until business hours? Probably not. So while it’s strategic to start early with posts, especially if you have audience members a few time zones ahead of yours, there is no reason to have something posting every hour. Social media analytics tools can also show you the hours your audience is most responsive. So plan to send the majority of your messages out during their most active hours.
This goes hand-in-hand with being realistic – find what works for your brand and own it. You’ll see a better result focusing a majority of your time growing Twitter followers if that’s where your audience hangs out, than spending hours on Pinterest trying your hardest to connect with a few. A little online research will help you figure out where your audience participates. It doesn’t hurt to have a presence on several platforms, especially the bigger ones, but make sure you are constantly active or just don’t use them.
Watch for the latest trends, but don’t buy into every new item introduced. Social media tools are a dime a dozen, and they live and die quickly. You don’t have to make each of them work for you. Take time to research tools and see if they’re a good fit. Look at what others are doing on there, and brainstorm with your team on ideas for your presence. In the end, if it seems like a lot of work for little payoff, it probably is. Also, sign up for some sort of social media update so you can stay in the know as much as possible. I enjoy the Social Media Examiner – I learn something new every time I read the email blast.
Chances are very good that your co-workers are on social media in their personal lives. So make them your allies – their friends and family are a completely new audience that they have a better chance of reaching. They also have a vested interest in what their loved one is posting, so they’ll pay attention and probably re-share if asked. Their participation will make your social media results grow with very little effort on your part.
Collaboration doesn’t just stop with your coworkers. It’s easy to share resources you find online as well. Education leaders, other teachers, thought leaders, social media gurus – there are millions of people to connect to depending on what you are interested in. You can re-share their posts, retweet their tweets and generally collaborate to spread good content over the internet. What you’ll notice with this type of activity is your friends/followers/fanbase growing as people see you as an excellent source of information.
Definitely avoid being silly here, but do have “professional fun” with your company’s voice. Think of posts you’ve enjoyed reading – they probably weren’t formal and stiff sounding, but rather a nice mix of the important information coming from an actual human being. Unless your company’s voice is a very serious voice, such as a breaking news feed for natural catastrophes, in which case you really should just stick to the who, what, when, why and how.
However, more often than not, companies, schools and organizations find they attract more followers if they find the right brand voice. I really like the way this table from Stephanie Schwab of Social Media Explorer breaks down the parts of brand voice into four simple areas:
Hopefully at least one of these tips will help you KISS your frantic social media management style goodbye and start enjoying being online again.
Need help with your social media and/or strategic communications efforts? Contact me to discuss ways Getting Smart Services can grow and amplify your online presence.
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