We’ve all done it. Open Facebook or Twitter to read a few posts and retweet. Next thing we know, we’ve fallen down the social media rabbit hole. We have no idea how we got there or how much time has passed. Couple the allure of social media with our blogging, and we have a prime recipe for distraction. You don’t have to fall down that rabbit hole without a map to the exit. There is an easy solution to navigate social media and blogging. You need a social media schedule.
Focus + Organization + Discipline
The solution is definitely not mind blowing or sexy, but it is effective in giving you a guide for your social media engagement. As you set up the perfect social media schedule, you will find that you get better results from the time you spend online.
Setting A Social Media Schedule That Works For You
The first component of our solution is to focus on the task at hand. Focus is a favorite parenting mantra. We tell our kids to focus on homework, reading, sports, cleaning their rooms, and so forth. We should follow our own advice. Focus on what you are doing at the moment. If you are sharing a blog post on social media, focus on that blog post only. Don’t venture off into your feed or timeline, messages, or comments. Focus on sharing the post across your social media channels.
If you need more help with focus, set a timer to prompt you to move on. For example, if you are on Facebook, set a timer for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, move on to the next channel. This simple technique will help you stay on task.
Focus on a smaller number of social channels. Instead of trying to manage six or seven, limit your engagement to the channels you excel. If you struggle to understand Google+ then don’t use it. If your audience loves Instagram, spend time there with them. Try not to overwhelm yourself learning every different channel at one time.
Perhaps my favorite activity other than sleep is organizing. I love organization, systems, and schedules. I realize not everyone loves organization, and some of you prefer a looser approach, but flying without a system or schedule is a sure path to disruption and frustration.
Avoid these negatives and create a plan for your social media. In fact, every time you publish a post you should have a social media plan for that post. A great tool for a successful plan is a social media calendar or schedule. Similar to an editorial calendar, a social media calendar sets a plan for social sharing.
This is an example of one I created in about 10 minutes. It is a basic spreadsheet, organized by days of the week, times, channels, and what is shared. I used channel icons to help visual where content is shared. A visual guide is always helpful when scheduling and organizing.
Scheduling apps are another terrific way to manage social media sharing. Two of the most popular are Hootsuite and Buffer.
- Hootsuite: One of the most well-known engagement apps. Hootsuite is a great tool for creating a sharing schedule. It has a calendar feature that allows you to see the days and times content is shared on media channels. You can also move scheduled shares to different days and times with a click and drag. Hootsuite recently enabled Instagram sharing.
- Buffer: This is another favorite scheduling application. Buffer allows 10 social media accounts (including Pinterest), multiple posts, and tweets. It also features a sharing calendar. Analytics and scheduling tools also help you track shares and media.
- Tailwind: Fantastic app for scheduling Pinterest shares. Select a board, write a description, share to Facebook and Twitter if you like, and schedule. The app has analytics and other tools to help you determine popular pins and engagement.
Consider using apps such as Pocket to store read-later content. Perhaps my biggest struggle on social media is finding great articles I want to read. I see a link, click, and the next thing I know an hour has gone by. The problem is, reading the article at that moment distracts me from the work at hand. To solve this problem, I add articles to my Pocket app for reading.
As you begin to fill up your social media schedule, consider these general recommendations. Some experts recommend more posting than others, but these are good guidelines – especially for someone who is just getting into the world of social media scheduling. The best frequency is the one that works for you. If your week is packed with family and work, post only as much as you can manage and use scheduling apps.
Once you set up a workable schedule and calendar, try the apps to help reduce wasted time. You will find the time it takes you to set up the schedule buys you a tremendous amount of time for the rest of your day.
Are you using a social media calendar now? What tips do you use to help manage your media shares?
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