A great social media strategy that will enhance your business or freelance reputation and sales isn’t something you can haphazardly throw content at. It needs to be structured and well-maintained. And this needs planning.
Nothing looks worse than a professional blog, Facebook page or news feed that hasn’t been updated for months or even years. Potential customers or clients may wonder if your business is still operating, or how passionately you feel about running it. And while you may have started it with the intention of engaging with your customers and establishing a professional online image, it ends up having exactly the opposite effect.
So how can you stop this happening? It’s very easy to get carried away by excitement and enthusiasm when you first start a project, but to see it through and really reap the rewards of your initiative and efforts, you need to maintain a steady pace. You need a plan.
Many freelancers and small businesses that have managed to make social media work for them, allocate a set time each day to work on their schedule. This way it doesn’t get overlooked or downgraded as a priority.
How much time should you spend on social media?
Working out how much time you need to devote to social media each day depends on your social media strategy. If you’re simply writing a blog or updating a Facebook page about company news, you may decide half an hour a day is enough.
However, if you are active on (or even host) social media communities or forums, you may need to spend a little more time to respond to questions and participate in discussions.
Likewise, if the aim of your social media activity is to establish yourself as an expert in your industry or niche, you will need to invest time on research to stay ahead of the latest developments and news.
When is the right time to update social media?
Once you know how long each day your social media activity will take, the next challenge is to find a realistic slot in your busy day to fit it in – every day. If you’re a morning person, you may find that getting up an hour before your children when your home is quiet and you can concentrate without interruption is the answer.
Another option is to split your daily tasks into two more achievable chunks of time. This can be particularly useful if you need to check forums or respond to tweets or Facebook posts on your company page.
By planning a regular time to update your social media and treating it as an important part of your professional activity, you are more likely to keep it up. After a while you’ll find it becomes a daily habit.
What happens if you go away on holiday?
If your customers and online connections are used to reading updates and communicating with you regularly, you can’t just disappear on them without a word!
That said, taking your social media responsibilities away with you on holiday won’t make it the break you need. So if you’re planning a holiday, have a plan for how to handle your social media. Options include:
- Asking a friend or business associate to keep an eye on your company Facebook page and blog comments and responding where necessary. You can even pre-prepare content and posts for them to upload at agreed times.
- Scheduling your updates for while you’re away using a social media management tool like Hootsuite.
- Adding a note to your Facebook page/Twitter message or forum post letting customers and contacts know you won’t be posting for a few days/couple of weeks (this may not be a good idea if people know your address – you don’t want to advertise the fact your home or business premises may be unoccupied)!
- Employing the services of a professional company who will provide social media holiday cover. They can check your social media platforms, post and respond in your tone of voice, create fresh content and manage your likes and followers.
These are our tips for creating a social media schedule that works for you. But how do you manage yours? Do you have any tips you want to share with other women? Join our club now and take part in the discussion on our LinkedIn group.Hannah Martin