We are all being overwhelmed by social media. Marketers constantly tell us that we have to be present on every platform, all the time -- but nobody bar the biggest brands has the resources for that. It also doesn't make sense for most businesses. So, all things considered equal, with the limited resources available, how can we do more with less and be more efficient marketers in the digital age?
Use the right tools for the right audience
This sounds ridiculous, I know, but a lot of companies are making mistakes in selecting social media platforms based on their own country or culture bias. Almost no Taiwan companies are using LinkedIn for B2B, because the platform is not popular inside the country, thus they miss out on great opportunities in the US and Europe. Conversely, anyone trying to reach an audience in Asia on Twitter -- well, good luck with that.
Even in the same country, brands often adopt or discard a platform for the wrong reasons. Snapchat may not seem a good idea if you are trying to reach the parent generation, until you realize that 74% of tech purchases in American households are influenced by teenagers.Trying to recruit software engineers on Facebook is a hopeless task; you need to go to the geeky forums where they hang out.
It's important to invest in market research and learn which digital platforms are popular with the country or audience you are targeting.
Cut down on your channels
You don't have to be on every platform. If you don't have the full resources to support multiple platforms, you will end up posting the same content across too many platform, reducing authenticity and credibility.
Ideally, your strategy should be suited to the individual platform and its audience. It's better to do 1-2 platforms right than to spread yourself thin on 10. Make sure your lead generation tools tell you where the leads originate, so you don't eliminate a seemingly unimportant platform. Most of our leads come from LinkedIn for example, even though we have much higher engagement on Facebook.
Use automation tools
Logging into each platform and posting individually isn't the most effective use of your time. There are plenty of tools like Hootsuite and Buffer to optimize your posting. Part of your posting can also be automated, using the latest tools such as IFTTT or the fabulous Edgar which allows you to plug hundreds of accounts into a sophisticated posting and repurposing AI. Just make sure you don't post the same boring stuff on each channel.
Use analytics tools
The argument seems redundant: we are trying to be more efficient and save time, and you are telling me to spend even more time on analytics? The reason is simple. Good analytics tools like quintly can show you which activity on which channel is most efficient, allowing you to cut down on other, less effective tasks.
It is well worth investing in 3rd party analytics. Your social media team will thank you in the end.
You don't have to share new content all the time. It makes perfect sense to repost older content -- as long as it is still relevant.
If you consider that Facebook's organic audience is now 2%, you can make each post at least 50 times before everyone who follows your page will have seen it. (I know, not true, but remember the 2% sad fact)
Agencies are having a hard time convincing clients to re-use old content, because clients believe that they should only pay for new stuff. But what good is new, if no one reads it! Tools like Edgar allow you to automate your reposting schedules for more efficiency.
Repurpose your content
Repurposing isn't the same as reposting. You can turn a blog post into a little explainer video, an e-book, a podcast, or infographic. Different content formats reach different audiences. Some people only react to images and video, while others prefer long-form content.
By repurposing your content in smart and creative ways, you can reach more customers without having to come up with new content all the time.
Share other people's content
While most brands reject even the idea, sharing industry-relevant content created by others make your social media channel seem less like self-serving advertising and more like a useful resource.
You will notice that on our Twitter and Facebook page, we regularly share articles written by competitors. We do that on purpose. If the content is good, why not share it and offer additional value to customers?
This practice also establishes goodwill with competitors, who may start sharing your content. It's a win-win situation. Make it routine.
Schedule and prioritize
An hour a day, or two half-days a week for example, where you close all other programs and focus entirely on your social media marketing. Responding to questions is a good way to show the human face of your brand.
Without scheduling you end up spending too much time on unimportant task and end up using your time less efficiently. If you are monitoring social media engagement for a brand, it makes sense to limit your time and focus on the important reactions first. Ask yourself if the engagement is important for the brand, can be harmful or beneficial, is time-sensitive or not. In most companies one person is responsible for a particular platform; it would make more sense and save time if one person were responsible for the same type of post or engagement on different platforms.
Use RSS feeds and other content tools
There are plenty of tools to collect good content. You probably don't have the time to immediately read every article you come across. By saving them with tools like Feedly, Evernote or Pocket, or getting regular updates via RSS is a great way to keep track of your content, save it for later, and have it ready when needed.
There are hundreds of tools out there, choose the one you prefer.
If after all these tips you are still overwhelmed, it's time to learn to delegate. Train other employees in your company to take over specific tasks, or delegate the task to an AI system or automation tool. You are in charge of social media strategy, so your time is best use creating original, interesting content, not getting caught up in repetitive tasks junior staff or AI can handle.