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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.
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.