Before you get too excited, I’m going to start with a disclaimer: if you want a well-planned, well-rounded and well-executed social media marketing plan then you’ll probably need more than 30 minutes a day.
You’ll probably (occasionally) need bigger blocks of time to research, plan, measure, adjust and sometimes even learn new things and get acquainted with new tools
BUT! That doesn’t mean that if you’re time-crunched that you should give up, because with a few solidly scheduled minutes a day there’s plenty you can do to further your efforts. And if you do these things regularly, you’ll eventually find yourself humming along instead of languishing in inertia.
Here are a few of the things you can add to your day without obsessing, or worse, experiencing the common vampire-suck of social networks draining away your precious time.
Not all of these must be done every day. But if you can pick and choose the ones that you’ll do on a regular, daily basis, chunk them into 30-minute increments and put them on your calendar as non-negotiable “busy” times, I promise that social marketing will seem like a lot less of a monster and a lot more like something that is generating positive return for your business.
First, Make Sure It’s “On A Daily Basis”
No number of tips on the planet can help if you just stare at them on a screen or on your to-do list and then subsequently ignore them.
So before you go any further, I want you to commit, right now, to the 30 minutes you’re going to set aside for your social marketing.
Maybe that’s when you get out of bed at 6AM. Maybe it’s while you drink your first cup of coffee at 8AM or your last at 8PM. Whatever that time slot is, make a date with yourself. Keep it.
Next, Plan Your Activities
Unless you write down ahead of time what you’ll be doing, you’re going to spend the better part of those 30 minutes figuring it out instead of doing it.
Come up with a daily, weekly and even monthly task list so that when you sit down to work your social magic, you can get right into it without all the setup and mental agony of “Should I do this? Ugh, maybe I’d better do that…”
For example, you might set aside ten minutes each day to check your social mentions, five each week to review your analytics and fifteen each month to adjust your editorial calendar. (Oh, you’re using one of those, right?)
Whatever you do, make sure it’s written down so it becomes a no-brainer.
If you set yourself up effectively, curating content to share on your social networks will become your new best friend.
Here’s how to get set up: find sources that you can rely on to provide you with curate-able content. Then subscribe to those via RSS or email, add them to your Twitter lists, create a circle for them on Google Plus… it doesn’t matter how you keep track of them, just do.
While you’re at it, set up some Google alerts for keywords relevant to your industry.
If you can’t set aside a nice block of time for prep and planning, don’t give up! At first you may simply want to designate ten minutes a day to sourcing content and setting up your feeds and streams.
But once it’s done, you can quickly and easily scan your headlines, alerts, tweets and updates for things that catch your eye.
Save… schedule… and share!
Comment On Blogs
This is a great relationship-building exercise and the good news is that if you’re smart about how you set up your curated resources, you can make it do double-duty for this task, too.
Find the blogs of your favorite businesses, influential contacts, authoritative colleagues or just people in your niche whose content you enjoy and who you’d like to interact with.
Then make it a point to read and comment on their blog posts. Forget about the do-follow comments. This is strictly for building relationships with people who you may be able to do business with or cross-promote your business with later.
I like to designate a number of blogs rather than a time, but that’s up to you. For example, I like to be sure that I read/comment on/share at least two blogs per day from people who I’m interested in.
Research New Followers
Fact: you and I are not so magical that people will simply find and flock to us. Gaining fans and followers takes some effort.
You can do this with ads and promotions. You can also do this by seeking people to connect with. There are about a billion Twitter tools you can use to find people in your niche, in your target demographic, in your geographic area or who are tweeting about some keyword that’s important to you.
Find one. Take five minutes. Collect people.
The same goes for Google Plus, Pinterest or whichever social network where you hang your hat. Instead of waiting for people to come to you – go to them. Fan/follow/friend and many times you will find that they reciprocate.
Do this with your email list, too. Find your subscribers online and connect with them so you can continue the relationship.
Interact With People
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the word “engage” so let’s just say that you have to create some sort of human interaction with people if you intend for any of your efforts to pay off.
If you have time for nothing else in a day, make this your top priority. This can include thanking people who have mentioned you or shared your content. It can be answering questions, responding to comments or simply jumping into a conversation where you see an opening.
Visit each social network and make time to be there.
Set Up A Keyword Search
You can do this easily on Twitter and filter all those quizillions of tweets down to just those that contain keywords relevant to your marketing efforts.
I once tweeted about drinking a chai tea and was answered by some random tea company that I’d never heard of (clearly monitoring keyword mentions) who commended me on my flavor choice. Two days later I got a box of free samples from them on my doorstep. Now that’s marketing!
You can also monitor keywords via hashtags on Instagram and Facebook, so carve out a slot of time to see what people are saying and for finding ways to capitalize on the conversations happening around you every day.
Share/Mention Other People’s Content
While you’re scanning your mentions, commenting on blogs and paying attention to those keyword searches, pull out content from other people that’s worth sharing. That could be a link, a photo or just a clever or interesting comment.
People like to be recognized so don’t be afraid to retweet, plus, repin or otherwise share valuable content from others. Try a site like Bizsugar or Inbound and upvote content that you find worthy.
Give yourself a quota. For example, I make a rule that for every one of my posts that I share on another site, I will read and vote for at least two from other people. It’s a good way to keep yourself accountable not only to yourself and your content but to your community so you can avoid being that spammy self-promotional person.
Update Your Social Profiles
I promise you will never see a day that you can review every single one of your social profiles and bios and find nothing to improve.
You don’t need to do this every day but if it’s on your “regular” list then you won’t have to worry that you forgot to change your store hours or that your photo is now three years out of date. Stay fresh and be mindful of the image you’re putting out into the world.
Write Original Content
I don’t mean a blog post – though that wouldn’t kill you, either! I mean original social updates.
It’s nice to share curated content, but sometimes your fan base wants to hear from you. They want your voice and your words.
This can be especially important on social networks like Facebook where not only the type of content but the amount of engagement you generate can have a huge impact on how many people will actually see that content.
Has something in your industry been bugging you? Did something in the news catch your attention? Do you have an opinion on a common problem or topic of interest to you audience? How about a tip or idea to share?
Sometimes your curated feeds can help jostle a thought loose from your brain and instead of sharing a link to someone else’s article on the subject, simply share your own opinion, sans link.
Bonus points if you can tap into an emotion, like fear, anger or excitement. How about those new YouTube comments, huh? Love ‘em or hate ‘em? Why not ask you audience (or tell them how you feel)?
Schedule Social Updates For The Whole Week
I like to take one 30-minute block each week and dedicate it to scheduling my social status updates for the rest of the week. That doesn’t mean I can’t improvise and post things ad-hoc, but at least I know that if my other 30-minute blocks get jammed up or if I can’t see past some endless conference call… my social streams won’t be dormant.
Whether it’s created or curated, don’t spew it all out at once! Using one of the skintillion scheduling tools out there, space your posts out so your week is covered. Follow along with your social content calendar so you know you’re being consistent. (Wait… you’re using one of those, right?)
Plan A Promotion
I have a confession to make: I have a lot of ideas that don’t make it past the edge of my brain. That’s because I’m usually doing something else when the idea strikes, then I talk about it, then I forget about it. Sometimes even when I write it down I forget about it, because I don’t have space on my daily list for “do thing you thought of in middle of night”.
That’s why it can be helpful to give yourself a dedicated block of time to work on those ideas – the cool promotions and campaigns that sound great until you start to wonder where you’re going to get the time to plan them.
And maybe you can’t do it in 30 minutes, but if you give yourself a 30-minute block this week… and another one next week… you will eventually get there. Better late than never, right? Plus you’ll have breathing room to think instead of jumping onto a plan half-cocked because you’re afraid of forgetting about it.
Check Your Analytics
Depending on what you’re checking, you can do this daily, weekly or even monthly. But do set aside a time for it.
I check my web analytics every day. Two minutes is all I need to know what my traffic looks like, whether that last article totally tanked and if there’s anything unusual going on.
Then less frequently, I do a time-over-time comparison. How’s our time-on-page this month compared to last? What about unique visitors? It can help to spot trends, reconcile problems and keep going with the good stuff.
You should also track your follower metrics. Are you winning or losing fans? Are they engaging with you more or less? I keep a spreadsheet with this information so if, for example, we suddenly start hemorrhaging Twitter followers I can figure out why and how to fix it.
Write It Down. Starting Now.
Have you started thinking of ways that you can use a mere half hour a day to boost your social marketing? That’s great, but if you don’t write it down I bet it’ll be gone by tomorrow.
What better way to start succeeding right now than to figure out how you’re going to spend that first 30 minutes? Make a quick plan then do it every single day. You can add, remove and adjust as you go but start somewhere. Start now.
What are you going to put on your daily task list right now? Do you need some help getting started? Let me know how I can help you plan your success story.
Join the discussion 39 Comments
It sounds so easy when it’s all planned and laid out like this. I got where I am now the hard way – through trial and error. How wish I had come across a post like this one a year or so ago.
I recommend Evernote for recording ideas before they disappear as quickly as they appeared (in both audio and text format). I use Evernote on all my devices, which makes it a very handy tool to use.
It always sounds easier on paper… when someone else is saying it 🙂 I think many of us learn the hard way (:::raises hand:::) but the more we get organized, the easier things become! I love Evernote too, though haven’t used the audio. I have a weird hangup about talking to nobody but maybe it’s time to get over that 🙂
Since I am fairly good with words, I always try to create an interesting lead-in sentence or two when sharing content. I think people find it much more intriguing that a tired “check this out.”
I agree! I’m guilty of the lazy “check it out” but the second it comes out of my keyboard I kill it dead.
Well then you aren’t guilty, since you don’t follow through! I think that it might be similar to the “So long as you don’t touch” we tell our significant others when they get caught eying some beautiful person.
lol, you got point there 🙂
I think you’ve highlighted all the essential elements of a 30-mins daily routine. The one thing I would add it to “use tools”. Whether it’s Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or SocialBro, dashboards save time since you can schedule posts, monitor keywords, discover new tweeps and so on. It’s much harder to do if you manage Facebook through Facebook, Twitter directly in Twitter, etc.
Yes! You have to find tools that you’re comfortable with and that are multi-purpose. It’s a real time-saver to centralize your efforts through Hootsuite (or something similar) rather than going to each and every social channel.
30 mins sounds easy but curating can take time. One thing that I found really helps me find great articles and content is Google Alerts. Every day I get 6 emails with a round up of the 6 key topics (that I set) in my niche.
This gives me great things to tell people about and great ideas for my next blog post or article. It cuts down the time I spend searching the web for great content.. its how I found this article!
I even posted on my blog the details of how to make this system work http://www.alexjoll.biz/1/post/2013/10/5-step-google-traffic-booster-for-inbound-marketing.html
Very very good article – lots of professionals don’t want to spend much time on SM.
It’s easy to get caught up in social and forget you have other things to do! It’s also easy to ignore it. But if you set aside a block of time, you can find a balance.
Well, that’s some list that you have here.
Writing what you have to do really helps, indeed, and it’s a time saver as you mentioned. if you don’t write each steps of what you’ve got to do for that day it’s so easy to get distracted and lose track of time. For me it’s also a reminder to make sure I’m not forgetting things which I do easily if I don’t follow a list.
30 minutes a day, if done everyday, is certainly better than nothing, because even such a short time can make a big difference. I spend the most time blog commenting. This one is biggy for me 🙂
I can spend hours blog commenting! That’s why I limit myself because I used to spend so much time on it that sometimes I never got anything done. So now I have a routine and make sure I don’t get too caught up. Same goes for Twitter and Facebook… it’s easy to get lost there. It’s also easy to forget about it if you’re busy, so that’s why it’s a good idea to set aside some time every day.
Hi Carol Lynn,
I totally agree that if one is organized, it doesn’t take much time to spend only 30 minutes a day on Social media. Planning is key here. I do it myself and preach if from my soap box!
I like to do it in intervals on Facebook and Twitter because things go so fast, I don’t want to be lost in the shuffle. On Facebook, I always get responses because it is original content. So far so good on that site. I spend 10 minutes posting and skimming down that role and liking and commenting. Then I go back later on in the day and answer those who have commented, go down that scroll again. It’s working great.
However, I do have to get better at curating content, put up a keyword search, Plan a promotion, and check my analytics. So I just wrote these things down on a post it and put it on my desk.
Thanks so much for reminding me of doing these important tasks!
I probably spend more than 30 minutes on social but it’s really my business, plus I tend to do it like you do, at intervals – five minutes now, five later, five after that. I like to keep my feeds open so I can respond periodically throughout the day. But that doesn’t work for everyone, especially if your business isn’t marketing and you need to do another job! Better to set aside time, plan what you’re going to do and make it happen!
Getting set up to curate can definitely take time. It took me months to really get set up with feeds and streams and alerts. In fact, I still add things to this day, but the core is there and once you’ve got your sources, the curating becomes a whole lot easier. Google alerts are one of my go-to sources, too!
I actually have two thirty min blocks (one in the morning and one in the evening :D).
The good thing about this strategy is that it complements my commenting strategy, and the bad thing is that I usually don’t have enough curated content to share, especially since I post about 13 tweets per day; I am experimenting with tweeting throughout the day. So, I end up sharing quotes and tips, which in the end, is good thing).
I am still experimenting around with my strategy (you know, make the most out of the 30 mins). This will be extremely helpful for next semester, when I get back to college.
My [planned] strategy is to have two different sets of sites to promote to: a permanent set and a rotating set. I should be able to find the best sites (out of the rotating set) to promote to, after a few months.
Anyways, thank you for sharing this, Carolyn 🙂 Appreciate it!
Good for you! Lots of people are lucky if they squeeze out one block of time. The fact that you’ve got 2 – and that you know what you want to do with that time – makes you way, way ahead of the game.
Curated content is good but it’s also a good idea to have different types of content. Comments and tips are perfect. I’ve started jotting down everything – and I mean everything! – to be used as a possible tweet later. You’d be surprised by how many things you hear, do and say that you can tweet about!
Wow, Carol Lynn – You’ve outdone yourself here with all these tips. I think that they are all tremendously helpful in growing your online communities. I will have to bookmark this post as I can see how dedicating just 30 minutes a day on these tasks can improve anyone’s social media marketing. Great job. I’m curious. If I had only 30 minutes for the whole week – which of these tasks do you think I should absolutely do or are they all equally important?
For me, if I have no time to do anything else, I make sure I check in on my feeds and streams to see if there is anyone I need to answer/talk to. I make sure that no more than 24 hours goes by before I answer a Facebook message or tweet or what have you. Even that’s a long time in internet time! But being responsive is the heart of social so I would put that at the top of the list.
After that, finding/creating content to share would be next. You don’t want to go days or weeks without posting anything. I try to have something going out on every channel every day – even if it’s just ONCE, it’s better than zero.
Those would be my top two.
Wow Carol, that’s a darn good list .
I do write down each day what I need to be doing and I allot the time for doing them. I break some of them up more though.
I definitely don’t write content every single day but does commenting count? lol… For the most part though I do pretty much everything you share here but sometimes it takes me more time then that and sometimes less.
Great list to go by though Carol, thanks so much for sharing these tips. This is a must have girl.
You’ve got the important thing down, which is making a task list for yourself! The exact time isn’t as important as knowing what to do with that time. Some days I spend hours on social… but for a reason, not because I just get lost! For most people, just making that small commitment is a first big step. Then they can worry about the rest when they get to be pros like you 🙂
Really amazing.Social media is one of the best way to promote our business.Some great advice for people who want to promote small business. I will have to keep these in mind, especially point Set Up A Keyword Search, Write original content and Check your analytics.
Checking analytics is so easy that you can pop it on your schedule every day! I’m not talking about crazy in depth analysis, just an idea of how things are going. A quick check every day can give you a really good ongoing picture of what’s happening.
I make a habit of going out for a coffee with new followers if they live in London. As you say, it’s a great way of meeting new people. Off for one just now as it happens 🙂
That’s awesome! I would love to do more of that. It’s nice when you get to meet people in real life.
Yep a great list of ideas to live by you got here Carol.
commenting on comments is one thing I always do after all it’s only respectful.
I try and be as social as I possible can and yes i do all these things you have suggested in this post.
but being a bloke I am probably not as organised as what you are Carol! i do thing I need to get a timetable and stick to it as at the moment my social media is haphazard at best.
one thing I am good at though is writing between 3 and 5 blog posts a week now after starting blogging back up 2 months ago!
What do you think is the best tool I should use to post and schedule my social media posts? I was thinking about hootsuite but are there others I should consider?
Thanks again for a great post Carol it has inspired me to take my online efforts a bit more seriously!
All the best.
Glad to hear you’re back up and blogging 🙂 Of course now that means you’ll have to really get out there on social media so you can start sharing, too. Having a set timetable makes things so much easier. I wake up, I go through my list and I don’t have to think about it.
We use a couple of tools to schedule. Hootsuite is one, because it’s inexpensive and you can add a bunch of profiles and basically manage everything from one dashboard. I also like Buffer, which is a much simplified tool but it’s great for quick posting. You can set up a “queue” so that you never really have to schedule anything – you just drop it into your buffer and it will automatically go out at whatever the next time slot is that you’ve set. You can also schedule if you want to. They have a really nice interface.
Most of these things have a free version or at least a free trial soI would say give them a shot and see what you like best!
Thanks for the article! I’m a bit of a newbie as social media person for
our company, and for some reason, I already made a habit of most ideas in your article. Now I’ll need to improve with a few others… starting, let’s say, with
commenting on other blogs! 😉
That sounds like a great idea! And you’re already doing pretty well if you have your own plan 🙂 Plenty of people don’t!
Awesome post Carol Lynn 🙂
My favorite tip is the one about setting aside time on a regular basis to act on the great ideas that come and go before they see the light of day. That’s something I struggle with. Now you’ve inspired me to commit to a regular time every week to execute on those ideas!
Awesome! Glad to inspire. Let me know what your first briliant idea is that you decide to work on 🙂
Very nice and helpful article! Well done
Lot of great and helpful information Carol! I completely agree about having to take some time time every day to do a decent amount of social media work…like you mentioned, I have a daily checklist of tasks that I do, which helps me to keep what I do purposeful and relevant towards my goals. I also bulk schedule my tweets as well, and that makes life a whole lot easier. Hope your doing well, and happy Thanksgiving!
Thanks Josh, I’m glad you liked this – and that you’re way ahead of the game tackling social media! I have a checklist, too, which I’ve done so many times that I can do it in my sleep. But that makes it much more efficient. SO then when I want to add new stuff it’s not so painful! Thanks again and I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, too (slowly recovering from food coma…)
hi carol lynn; a very well thought out post, i can see why adrienne loves your posts. I am a blind computer user and the social media sites aren’t always all that friendly to my screen reader. I usually go on those sites to post status updates and then do most of the follow up using email notifications. but i think i make up for less activity on social media sites directly by leaving more blog comments and sharing other people’s content. i believe in reaching out to people on the main networks and now have the buttons on my site so people can easily connect with me. i have been suspended by Facebook a few times for friend requests but then who hasn’t? google plus seems to be the most open to meeting people you don’t know before hand but they are pretty quick to catch you for being to self promotional or spammy. i’m curious how do i monitor my social media activity? if anyone in your community has a post they think i should read or that they want help sharing just email me with the link. thanks again for your wonderful post and take care, max
Thanks for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed my post. There are a number of tools you can use to monitor activity. It just depends on what you’re looking for.
You can use a tool like Hootsuite, which will give you analytics to find out how many people have clicked your links, engaged with you, etc. Buffer app has a scaled down version on analytics to give you click stats.
If you want to see who has engaged with you recently and who you have (or have not) responded to, most specifically on Twitter, try Commun.it.
As for Facebook, you can use their insights to get an idea of which posts got the most attention and had the farthest reach.
I can’t think of any posts off the top of my head that has a summary of tools but if I come across any I’ll let you know. In the meantime, I hope those help!
thanks for your thoughtful reply. I haven’t heard of insights so i will have to google it. and the question is finding one of these that i can use with the screen reader on my mac. i tried buffer thinking it would be a good answer because it would help me with sharing too but it created problems for my browser and the speech software. was planning to try thootsuite next. i am subscribed to clout but i don’t spend a lot of time checking it because its not really pleasurable to do so with speech. i really need a social media ambassador. smile i envy companies that can afford to pay someone just to handle their social media. thanks again and take care, max
I imagine that finding tools that are friendly to screen readers is a challenge sometimes.
Insights for Facebook is their version of analytics that you can get by going to the admin section of your page (assuming you have a business page and not a personal page).
I’d be interested to find out if Hootsuite is better. Let me know how that goes for you.
How about Tweetdeck? It doesn’t give you analytics but at least you will get a stream of tweets in which you’re mentioned, so you can respond when you need to.
Maybe you can’t afford to hire someone to do all of your social tasks, but perhaps it’s worth it to get someone to parse the data for you and give you some basic reports every month so you can make decisions about what to do next.