We are nearing the end of the Lenten season, where millions of Americans sacrifice one or more of their indulgences for about forty days and forty nights. Most of my friends and coworkers have given up the usual, carbs, sweets, or sodas—but I have others that have attempted the impossible—a 40-day social media fast.
I hear you skeptics out there; you think this idea is brilliant, a way to reconnect with the tangible world around us rather than dedicating hours to the Internet time suck. I have to admit, a part of me agrees—it’s a good idea to unplug every now and then. But here at Creatine, we understand that maintaining a social presence for your business is very different than logging into Facebook to chat with your friends.
There is nothing wrong with you, or your social media management team, stepping away from being online, however, you can’t simply ignore your company’s social networks altogether. If the circumstances arise, and you decide you need to take a break from blogging, tweeting, and sharing—but you know that you cannot completely leave your followers in the dark, create a strategy that aids you in making the most of your time while you’re connected.
Construct a streamlined approach to shorten the amount of time you spend at your computer by concentrating on managing six major social networks. Your channel mix may vary from the ones I cover in this article, but you should still isolate a few specific activities for your networks and set yourself a time limit for each one.
Take a few moments once or twice a day to respond to any tweets that may have been directed your way, nothing lengthy, just a quick acknowledgement of your gratitude.
Continue by scheduling out tweets for the next week to promote any recent content, current and upcoming events, or any news that you feel must be shared immediately. The act of automating tweets has caught some heat lately, but remember, you aren’t an individual who has the time to update Twitter with every single thought in your mind; you are running a business and automation is key to productivity, efficiency, and consistency. Schedule out some funny jokes, an interesting quote, or a statistic and your followers aren’t frustrated—they are aware of your presence and perhaps even comforted in the change of pace. Additionally, your automation tool allows you to see and revisit any scheduled tweets in one place—this is convenient and dynamic because if you realize you need to make a change, you have that opportunity.
Use the remaining minutes to share the content of others in your industry to help build relationships. Retweet interesting articles, images, or ideas—don’t go nuts here, scrolling through your feed for an hour is over doing it. Stay focused so you can remain dedicated to your fast.
A business has to utilize Facebook the same way a normal human might. Over-posting is obnoxious, and posting the same exact content every time becomes monotonous. Because Twitter is a live-feed it is important to update more frequently so your content isn’t obscured by other information—but on Facebook this just isn’t a concern. If you post every day, reducing your activity will not necessarily hurt your campaign. But disappearing completely isn’t an option either.
Schedule out some core updates, like with Twitter, about new content or upcoming events. Focus on producing timeless content. Anything that is highly visual will perform the best—share some behind-the-scenes images of your staff caught in the act of performing their work, share a trending and relevant YouTube video, or ask a question to which your audience can respond.
Take a minute or two to respond to any comments on your wall or on your content, and spend about one minute liking the content of your partners, clients, and thought leaders in your industry. Then it is time to move on to the next network.
Linked In offers you the opportunity to share your more professional content. Post an article or two in your industry specific groups and engage in any notable discussions. Perhaps take a few minutes to pose your own discussion questions in order to start a dialogue of your own. Let the conversation build and then subside; only jump back in if other questions are directed exclusively to your company. Otherwise, let people chat and respond to one another and check back in a few days to gather any information or to reengage.
Alright, I know I’m pushing it with a suggested four minute time limit. I have never been able to sit on Pinterest for less than an hour, but it’s time we all restrain ourselves. Pinterest can be one of the most useful social media marketing tools, or it can suck you into its wonderfully fascinating black hole of random content. Create what I call a mind-anchor before delving into this network. Concentrate on the tasks at hand, and remember—all of the recipes, exercise tips, crafting ideas, and cat pictures will be there next week too.
Take two minutes to pin any recent internal or external content and obviously make sure there is some form of graphic to accompany it, considering the platform. If you want to highlight your blog article, pin the image. Also you should search for some infographics, staff, or client photos. Then take the final two minutes to engage with your recent pinners. Return the favor by repining an image they have contributed, following one of their boards, or just leaving a comment that thanks them. Saying thanks on a new social channel can be extra engaging.
For now, Google+ demands less attention than all of our other social networks. This may be changing quickly, but in the mean time—be where your friends and followers are and dedicate more of your time there, but do not forget the underdogs and up-and-comers.
Share your recent content on your page and use your circles to segment our only the most relevant audience. Google+ is a fantastic forum for longer posts like blogs and news articles.
Your audience on Google+ is receptive to longer form content like engaging questions and discussions. Perhaps you could try to facilitate a dialogue between your customers about certain products or services you offer.
Instgram offers your business a chance to be social, relevant, quirky, and fun all while marketing for your business and building your brand. You only have two minutes here, so make the time count by taking your fans behind the scenes with pictures of your staff, events, and office space.
Offer your followers a deeper and more personal look into the personality of your company. You can highlight each staff member and explain some of their responsibilities and roles; you can snap images of work and creative spaces, or banners and logos.
If you are out if ideas for pictures, inspire your followers with motivational or relevant quotes in a stylized format. Those images tend to receive a lot of attention on Instagram.
So there is a short breakdown about how to rock your social media in 30 minutes; enabling some down time without becoming a ghost. Remember that disconnecting is healthy, but your customers and followers may be depending on you for news, deals, and content. Rather than dedicating each and every day to your social media marketing campaign, learn to use your time wisely and efficiently in order to build a clean, but solid and strong presence for your business. Sometimes taking some time off is just what we need to clear our heads—that works for social media the same way it works for any other responsibility.
By Sasha Novikov