Here at CubeSquared, we specialise in working with start-ups and small businesses. We understand the pressures of running a small organisation because, well, we're one as well.
We get that there aren't enough hours in the day and we appreciate just how much there is to do every single day to keep the whole thing moving along.
If you're a sole trader or simply don't have the resources to spend on hiring a team of people to do it for you, social media can get ignored.
With everything you need to do, it's often that aspect of marketing that gets lost along the way. It can feel like such a time drain at times to constantly write new posts, share updates and engage with your audience on a multitude of social media platforms.
It's easy to push it to the back burner, but that doesn't make it any less important. Customers expect businesses to be active on social media and they take it for granted that, if they contact you there, you'll respond.
More than 40% of consumers online will first use social media to research brands and products when looking to buy and that figure is only going to rise.
Whether it's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok or any of the 140+ different networks that exist around the world, having an active, engaged presence on these sites is, like it or not, the key to marketing in the 21st century. If not, you'll just look disengaged, disconnected and worse, you'll lose pace with your competitors. But.....
What if we told you there's a way to manage your whole social media marketing in just 20 minutes a day? Interested? Of course you are! Let's make a start, the clock's ticking!
We're going to break this down into sections and how long you should spend on each one. Obviously, if you have more time to give to them, then that's up to you, but they're there to help you understand how much time you should spend on each task. Let's start with.....
#1. Social Listening (5 mins)
Social listening isn't anything creepy or voyeuristic but is more about listening (or rather monitoring) the conversations that are going on across social media in your particular business sector every day.
This means taking interest in relevant hashtags (again, those applicable to your own area of business), who's using them, noting who gets mentioned in those conversations and any messages shared with and by your competitors. Bear in mind, all of these things should also include your own accounts too.
As part of your social listening, make a daily note of:
Any mentions of your business and / or brands.
Any mention of your own particular product or service.
Specific hashtags (including your own if you have one) and relevant keywords.
Your competitor's activity.
Your suppliers/partners' activity.
Any industry news, events, announcements and awards.
Don't worry, you don't have to do this manually, there are plenty of tools you can use (including simple searches on social media) to keep a track of what's going on and collate them together.
If you have a physical location (or locations) in which you trade, you can also use location-specific searches to see what local people are saying about you and what local topics are important to them.
It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes but the more you do it, the more you'll be able to dissect the information quickly and parse it into the information you need to stay abreast of, which leads us neatly onto...
#2. Analyse Your Mentions (3 minutes)
Now you've seen who's talking about you and the wider conversations happening in your industry, it's time to analyse the results and see what they mean for you and your business.
In the early days, if it's a new account or if you're a new business, there may not be too many mentions to analyse, but keep going. Mentions will pick up the more active you are and people get to know you.
While looking at the results, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Sentiment - Don't just look at what they're saying, but HOW they're saying it. HOW are people talking about your brand? Do they talk about it positively or negatively? Do they talk about your competitors in the same way? If it's positive, then you're doing great, but don't get complacent. If not, then think about how you can turn that around into a more positive conversation.
Feedback - What feedback do customers have about your business? Are there any common themes you can address (i.e. postage costs, long delivery times, too long on hold waiting for customer service to answer, do they want more colours, small packaging; whatever it might be, you're looking for any insights that you can act upon. If there are any common themes, then address them too.
Trends - This addresses some wider industry issues, but be on the lookout for any current trends within your business sector. These will help you spot any gaps in the market you can exploit into sales opportunities or any new marketing ideas for your next campaign. They may even spark that idea for your next product. Being aware of the wider landscape on social media means you're staying ahead of the rest.
Intent - Social listening isn't just about what's happening now with current customers but also helps you identify potential new customers too. By analysing particular phrases, topics or trends, you may be able to spot those in the market to buy your product (or service). Look for phrases that signify a purchase intent.
Updates - With social media, there is always something happening. It's not always good in a wider context, but you need definitely need to keep up-to-date with any emerging keywords or market trends. Are there any common themes appearing in your mentions or the keywords you're tracking? Is there a new competitor opening up nearby? Has someone just launched similar products to yours that are bigger, better, faster, etc. Keep an eye on updates and, if relevant, add them to your social listening tasks.
Whilst analysing all these things are important in their own right, you'll soon find that the more you do them, the more they will also help you to fine-tune Step #1, and save you more time.
#3. Check Your Content Calendar (3 minutes)
We're assuming you have a content calendar of course! If not, go make one! We'll wait.
Your content calendar is an important document in terms of your marketing efforts. It will (should) help you plan your campaigns, sales, promotions, etc so you know what you're posting about on any one day.
You can also use it to include any relevant images, graphics, videos or any visual element you want to add to your posts.
Take a little time to double-check what you've got scheduled, adjust any images (i.e. items in the news might make them inappropriate since you first added them) and check for spilling mistakes. 🤨
If it suits your brand, you can also include things like memes, hashtag games and other user-generated content to supplement your own content.
#4. Schedule Your Social Media Posts (3 minutes)
If you're posting regularly, then it can seem to take more time than you really have, especially if you have a multitude of accounts to manage.
The secret (well not so secret) to effective social media management is by scheduling your posts ahead of time.
Depending on your own timescales, this might also be something you do just once a week (rather than every day).
Doing it manually can be a chore (and certainly will take you far more time than the 3 minutes we've scheduled daily) so you'll probably need to utilise some online tools to help you.
These include sites like:
We've highlighted a few above, but there are many more to choose from (a quick Google search will help you find more).
Some of them are free (to a point), and some you'll pay for, but all are well worth looking at until you find one that suits you best.
By doing it this way, all you'll need to worry about is creating the content and the system will post them on a date and time you specify. This can be days, weeks or even months in advance.
It's worth taking a little time before you dive in to look at the analytics built into each of your social networks to help you understand when your audience is online. This will help you know when's the best time to post for maximum effectiveness and reach, which can vary from platform to platform.
We wouldn't recommend using the social platform's own global average statistics of when people are online the most, as that might not reflect your timezone, industry or community.
Not only will scheduling posts save you time during the day, but also cover those times when you're on holiday, in a meeting, on a training course or just unavailable.
Also, bear in mind that you'll have to give whichever scheduling tool you use access to your social media accounts in order for them to post on your behalf. Not usually an issue, but if you're nervous about security and personal data, that's something you might want to consider and read the small print about what you're giving it access to before committing.
#5. Engage! (6 Minutes)
The final stage is arguably the most important and that's to engage with your audience on your socials. Engaging with other people is the real reason behind social media after all.
This is the time to respond to any questions they've asked, 'Like' any comments you've had on your posts (so people know you've seen and acknowledged them) and share their posts (if applicable or appropriate to your business). The more engaged you are with them, the more engaged they'll be with you.
You want everyone who engages with you to have a positive experience. If they do, they'll be more likely to recommend you, promote you and, hopefully, buy from you.
Statistics show that over 70% of consumers who have a positive experience with a brand on social media are more likely to recommend them to their family and friends, so it's an important marker.
If you find that you're responding to similar questions or comments (i.e. opening hours, return policies, postage costs, etc) then it might be worth having a list of ready-made responses at hand that you can copy and paste.
That said, even if the questions need regular replies, make sure you don't answer them all the same way. It's a good idea to create 3-4 different responses to the same questions, rather than pasting the exact same answer.
Those generic, boilerplate responses won't feel like there's a real person behind the account and people react better to authenticity.
If you have more than one person answering questions, ask them to add their initials in their replies so you can (a) identify who answered the post and (b) helps to increase goodwill to have a 'real' human being answering.
Whilst we understand time is often tight, if you can respond shortly after a customer's post, you'll look engaged and be able to have a conversation in 'real time'. A good response time will always be appreciated.
SQUARING THE CIRCLE
There you have it. You can be a social media and time management guru in just 20 minutes a day
We understand that time is a rare commodity when running a business of any size, but with a little planning and some useful resources, we believe you can get on top of and learn to make time in your day that helps you work better, smarter and more efficiently than ever. #YouGotThis
Have you got any time-saving tips you'd like to share with our audience? What tools do you use to keep on top of your own social media? Is there anything you think we've missed that might save even more time? Let us know in the comments below.
If you have any colleagues that you think would benefit from this, then please consider sharing it with your network. We'd really appreciate it. You can also follow us on social media, all the links are at the top (or bottom) of the page. See you there.