I got an email from a friend this week. Let’s call her Kim Morrison. Because that’s her real name.
Kim and her business partner Fleur sell their books and their beautiful organic aromatherapy blends and skincare products via in-home SPA-arkle experiences or online.
Part of Kim’s role is the marketing side of the business and I’m always banging on about harnessing social media for this … I actually got them started on their Facebook page about 2.5 years ago.
Kim’s email to me was all about how to best manage the mix of social media, their blog and their email newsletter so as not fall victim to the dreaded curse of social media overwhelm.
This is especially crucial if you are running a business where social media is just one part of your marketing activities.Photo credit: The Nailasaurus
You can easily get sucked into the social media vortex at 9am, only to surface later that day wondering how it got to be 5pm and you have seemingly completed very little.
This I know from … ahhemm … personal experience.
From a business perspective it certainly pays to manage and schedule your social media time – just as you would/should any other task.
Here’s what I suggested to Kim.
Work out a blogging schedule that you can stick to. Don’t over-commit yourself.
I would initially aim for 2-3 per week. They do not have to be all super long. They can be a quick tip with a photo. Mix up long ones with photo ones and a how-to list.
Decide on the days that you are going to post – say Monday, Wednesday and Friday – and schedule them to publish early in the morning – I do 5.30am because that’s 6.30am for most of my readers. Lots of people read blogs before work and while commuting. People still have that newspaper habit of looking for something new to read in the morning!
Make it super easy on your blog to let people share your posts via social media – have all these share buttons at the beginning or end of your posts.
Aim for three posts a day. The times you choose are up to you but I would play around with posting at different times to find out when your readers are more likely to respond and interact with you. It’s that “talking about you” stat that has become just as – if not more important – on your Facebook page.
From experience, anything after 8pm seems to gain most interaction. If you’ve posted a blog that day then one of your Facebook posts should be around the blog post – and include a link. Always ask a question in the blog post and on the Facebook post – to encourage interaction.
You can promo your blog post throughout the day. I schedule this via Tweetdeck. I’ll also jump on Twitter
a couple of times a day too often and “talk” to people so it’s not just me broadcasting my blog. Twitter is a conversation – it’s important for it to be not just one sided. When on Twitter, RT other people’s Tweets and links that you like – this is the equivalent of Facebook’s “like” and “share” buttons.
I’m doing the photo-a-day challenges because it motivates me to use Instagram and challenges me to find and photograph interesting things on a daily basis. Where possible I tie these photos back to what your brand is about. Once again it’s all about interaction. Remember to comment and “heart” other people’s photos as well.
Decide on the frequency of this you can comfortably stick to. If it’s once a month, make sure it goes out on the same day every month. Same if it’s weekly, set the time and stick to it. All your content should be already there for you if you’ve been blogging consistently, so this doesn’t have to be a big job.
There are, of course, more social networks open to you than those I’ve mentioned above. These were my recommendations to Kim. I left Google+ off the list mainly because I’m not having fun there and feel like we’re just being dragged there by the mighty might of Google. And at the moment, I really enjoy Pinterest and if your business is one that features lots of visuals on your blog or website, it would be a good one for you too.
With all the new social media networks that crop up, dip your toe in and see what it feels like. If it seems like a fun place to be then it’s probably a good fit for you. And somewhere where you might build relationships and connect with potential customers.
Importantly in all of this is to try and not fall in a heap because of overwhelm.
Yes, it’s a job – but social networking is rewarding. It’s free marketing – and grassroots marketing. Set your limits on what you can do and write up a plan. Putting it on a the calendar is a good idea. Break each step down into your daily to-do list.
… and then try and switch off between those other to-dos!
But don’t just take my word for it, why not do what I’ll be doing this weekend and read the latest ebook to come from Problogger: Blog Wise: how to do more with less? There are tips in there from some of the world’s biggest bloggers and busiest people. I’ll be back next week with some insights into what I’ve learned.
Running a successful blog and the social media around that blog for your business is about constantly learning. It’s about changing the boundaries, creating new ones and always reviewing what you’re doing.
If you’re in business and running social media and a blog for that business, what tips do you have for Kim – and others – who are trying to do it all?