Starting a business can be daunting and time consuming. If it’s just yourself or a small business it’s even harder. There is so much to do and so many things to think about. And then there are people like me saying you have to be on Social Media as well to get your name out there and to get free marketing. Where can you find the time? How can you attract people in different time zones? How can you cover all Social Media Platforms simply without using too much time? What if you can’t be online 24/7?
Social Media can be time consuming and when you’re busy starting off you really don’t have that time. But it is something you need to do nowadays as that is where your customers probably are. You don’t necessarily have to be on all social platforms, and the best way to choose is to suss out where your customers are. Check out the demographics of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest and choose one or two that suit your business.
A way around spending too much time on Social Media is to schedule your updates to get your message across at times you know your customers will be online and you will get better reach. Spend just 30 minutes a day scheduling everything. I’m not saying to just rely on scheduling though – you need to be on Social Media to chat to people too. Just set yourself a time limit so that it doesn’t interfere with everything else.
One thing you do have to remember though is how important engagement is on Social Media. You will schedule updates for when you can’t be online and you may get replies – that is the intention after all – and you need to respond. You can set up an email, or even a text in some cases, when someone contacts you on Social Media so when you get five minutes you can reply. I cannot stress enough how important it is to respond and engage on Social Media.
There are a lot of scheduling apps you can use – some free and some paid for. Here are some apps that I use and recommend.
This is free and there is no paid upgrade…..yet. You can schedule updates very simply on Facebook. Just write your update and then instead of hitting the “post” button click on the small clock icon at the bottom left of the box instead. It then allows you to enter the date and time you want the update to happen. Then instead of “post” it becomes “schedule” so you hit that button to save it.
To check your schedule updates, go to your admin panel at the top of the page, click on “Edit page” then “Use Activity Log.” If you want to change times or delete the updates click on the small downward arrow on the right hand side.
It’s a very simple way to plan everything in advance on Facebook.
I use TweetDeck because I’m able to use different accounts, lists and columns to separate everything I do on Twitter. There are other platforms like Hootsuite, which are very similar too. To schedule a tweet just write it as normal in the update box then click on the clock icon next to the “send” button. Just choose a date and time to tweet and then schedule. That’s all you need to do. You can also have a column which shows all your scheduled tweets so you can amend them if you need to.
I currently use the free version of Bufferapp but there is a paid version that isn’t expensive, which is called “Awesome” for just $10 a month. You can schedule posts to your LinkedIn, LinkedIn Groups, Facebook, Facebook Pages, Twitter and App.net. It is a great app and has the following features:
- It is available on iPhone
- You can share the same content across the different networks too
- Choose the times and timezones you want to post
- Add different accounts
- Add team members to your account
- Bufferapp integrates with your Social Media accounts for ease of use
- It will automatically shorten your links via whichever service you prefer, eg bit.ly
- Bufferapp provides great analytics so you can see which posts / platforms / times work the best
Other Scheduling Options
There are a lot of apps around to make your Social Media life easier. There are free and paid versions. Here are some I have seen recommended:
Again, I must stress that engagement is important on Social Media so don’t just schedule everything. Think of scheduling as a tool to help manage your time but to do well you must chat and join in too.
What do you use to schedule your Social Media updates?