Why automation and scheduling? Quite simply because social media is not your core business.
Last month I spoke about KPI and investing your time, energy and resources on the 20% that give you an 80% return (in the Real You on Social Media). Social media strategy is the foundation for time-savings and effectiveness, but automation is the execution piece that seals in those time-savings. How, exactly?
In the event that the benefits of automation and scheduling aren't obvious, here's the value:
- You think before you post: client's perspective, flow of messaging, consistent wording.
- Consistent frequency: spread 10 thoughts over a week instead of 'as they happen'.
- Schedule by Calendar: post it when it matters most to clients e.g. Fridays vs Wednesdays (mindset), March vs December (events, tax season, etc.)
- All in one place: get all your analytics in one place, rather than from each channel.
If you're following, you'll see that all of this has your clients in mind: their perspective, their needs, their business cycles. It ensures that you're not bombarding them by posting all at once, but you're there for them consistently. They'll come to know when you'll post and (if you have a Content Calendar) on what topics. You'll be more effective and less distracted and overwhelmed, as you'll be managing your online community, not vice versa, on your schedule.
How It Works
Once you've selected your preferred automation tool (discussed below), you'll navigate their set-up options - add your social media channels, choose what you want to read, then begin.
Once you're set-up, the process you'll follow will be the same weekly, biweekly or monthly, depending on your schedule. It helps if you set aside the alotted time, so it becomes routine:
- Respond to shares/comments for your social media channels from your automation tool.
- Review your Content Calendar: what's the conversation this month?
- Think it through: convert the conversation to concise online lingo.
- Make notes: if you're doing biweekly or monthly posts, this reveals trends.
- Schedule posts: in the publisher/scheduler area, write your messages. For each post, you'll select social media channels, date and time (or auto-schedule).
- Review scheduled posts: against your calendar, and with fresh eyes.
- Take a look at your performance since you last logged-in (most tools show this).
Remember, for point #2, the conversation is not in a bubble. What you post matters more to your readers at different times of day, month and year. You also want to look at upcoming events and how they tie into your conversation.
An Array of Automation Tools
This blog post would get very long, if I were to get into each other tools available, but it would be remiss of me to leave you searching blindly for them. Here are three (3) good automation tools that work from your PC or your smartphone, in order of pricing (lowest to highest):
I actually really like all of them. You get what you pay for, but even the free versions are great.
Ready to Take Action?
As with many of my clients, I am aware that unless it disrupts your routine, you won't put this into action. I'd like to help. I host four (4) signature Networking Workshops each year. The workshop offered in March is Automation & Your Schedule. The 30-minute networking at the beginning helps the professional entrepreneurs in the room connect with potential clients or partners, there, but it also gets attendees familiar with each others' businesses so you'll all benefit from each others' insights. "The group is greater than the sum of our individual parts."
Automation & Your Schedule (Toronto), is held on the third Friday in March, and it's an intimate workshop of 10-12 people. You also get the added bonus of briefly escaping your obligations to do this properly, so you can put the 520 hours you save, this year, into clients. Bring your laptop, ipad, tablet. Already using an automation tool? Refine your process.
Already on It?
Have you already started implementing these points? Contact me to let me know how it goes! The biggest take-away, too, is how much time you've saved, if you'd never used automation for social media before. I'd love to know.