Social Media for the Perennially Busy

Social media marketing is now a field all its own. Some people count it as their full-time job: while the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track social media management as a separate employment category, a decent estimate is that there are at least several tens of thousands of Americans with this job title.

For the most part, though, the people who manage social media do not have this as their sole job. In all likelihood, if you’re reading this, you’re one of these people. You are, perhaps, in the marketing and communications department, or development, or maybe you are an administrative assistant. It is even possible that you are an intern. (“You’re young, right? Handle the Twitters for us!”)

Because there are so many of you out there who are wearing your organization’s social media as just ONE of your many hats, you all know the quandary I’m about to bring up: how on earth do you keep up? How, with all the other things you’ve got to do, do you stay on top of posting to social media? You know you should post every day – and probably even more often if your company is more sizable – but it can take an hour or more to gather what you need for a decent post: coming up with ideas, finding and editing photos, composing your text, and so on. It can seem insurmountable, and for many people it falls to the bottom of your to-do list day after day after day.

We’re not going to lie: managing an organization’s social media accounts is real work. But there are ways you can streamline the process:

  1. Remember that, unlike you, your audience hasn’t heard this stuff a million times. If you have been working for your organization for a while, you may feel like your company’s mission statement or day-to-day operations sound old-hat. This can lead you to spend lots of time spinning your wheels, trying to come up with something new and exciting to say. But guess what? You can come up with something old and exciting to say. When we first started managing PR and marketing for the non-profit Angel Flight South Central, a volunteer pilot mentioned off-handedly that he’d posted a mission photo to the online system. It turned out there was an ever-expanding treasure trove of photos submitted each week by AFSC’s pilots. Many of the photos look very similar: the passengers and pilot standing in front of the plane, the passengers wearing headsets sitting in the back seat of the small aircraft, and so on. But Angel Flight’s fans never get tired of seeing these photos and hearing the stories. It’s a wonderful message that AFSC’s pilots volunteer their time and resources to fly sick people to life-saving medical treatment. It never gets old. And assuming that your organization does something worth believing in, the message you’ve got to offer won’t get old either. If anything, posting to social media can help remind you on a daily basis of why you do what you do.
  2. Write multiple posts at once. If you’re accustomed to posting to social media on a personal account, then your habit is to post whenever the mood hits you. (“Here’s the amazing omelet I’m about to eat!”) Do not carry this habit over to your corporate social media accounts. Yes, you’ll want to spontaneously post sometimes, such as when you’re attending a company event. But for the most part, you should be composing at least a few days’ worth of posts at once. Most social media platforms allow organizations to schedule posts in advance. Take advantage of this and you’ll waste less time getting your mind into and out of the social media headspace.
  3. If it’s important, post it more than once. You may feel like a broken record saying the same thing twice, but remember that the world of social media is not a captive audience. They’re not all trapped in a room, listening to every word you have to say. Much of what you say will get missed, even by your biggest fans. Say the important things more than once, at different times of the day and different days of the week. Just give the message some variation the second time around so you don’t sound exactly like a broken record.
  4. Have fun with your audience (and you’ll have fun in the process). Most of your social media posts should not go for the hard sell. Instead, share information and images and videos that are relevant to what your organization does but not directly engaging in selling or fundraising.
  5. Plan a social media marketing calendar. This is advice that you will read again and again if you go looking around online for social media marketing tips. That’s because it’s good advice. I know it might seem counterintuitive that spending precious hours drawing up a marketing calendar will save you time, but it’s quite true. Plan at least a few months in advance. What events or new products / services are coming up that you can promote – and should some of those get more than one post? What messages do you want to get across over the course of the year, and when would be the best time to convey them? What is the audience like that follows you online and what do you think they’d like to hear about that’s relevant to your company? Plan out at least a few posts for each week. You can always leave room for the spontaneous posts that will come up along the way. This post on Hootsuite’s blog will provide you with some very helpful templates you can use to plan out your calendar.
  6. Speaking of Hootsuite … get yourself an account. If you need to post to more than one social media platform for your job, you can link to all or nearly all of them through Hootsuite and post to them all in one place.
  7. Convince the Powers That Be to keep it simple. Many organizations are tempted to splatter themselves across every major social media platform available. Don’t do it. Particularly if you work for a small organization (and you likely do if you’re reading this), you’d be much better off choosing one or two platforms that best capture your audience and focusing your efforts there. If you need help deciding which platforms to focus on, this post from Sprout Social does an excellent job of detailing the demographics for each of the major social media platforms.
  8. Call in the reinforcements. After all we’ve said here, maybe you’ve decided that managing your organization’s social media is still too much. If you’re in that position, get in touch with us. We specialize in working with small businesses and non-profits who need professional marketing but do not quite have the full-time staffing to cover all the needs.
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