If social media marketing for your small online business seems like a daunting task, it doesn't have to be. You need to approach it with enough research and understanding that you know the basics of what you’re doing and then you just need to be organised. To stop it taking over your entire working day, and your own personal time creating a schedule is essential.
Deciding on a schedule
To start with you need to decide how often and when you want to post. The recommended times to post for Twitter and Facebook are around lunch time, and just after people finish work so 12-1.30pm, and 5pm onwards. Posts and Tweets also do better towards the end of the week, from Thursday onwards.
To stay on top of your social media marketing, it is important to work out how much time you can set aside for it. If you can allow enough time to write 3 tweets, 7 days a week then that’s great. But, if you can only manage 2 tweets a day 4 days a week, then identify the best time to post them and stick to it. The most important thing is that you are regularly active on your social media accounts, so don’t take on more than you can handle.
Setting up a social media calendar
Maintaining a Facebook page and a Twitter account for your small business is a lot less stressful if you take an organised approach to it. One of the best ways of doing this is to set up a spreadsheet where you can write out each of your posts and see when and how you will be posting it. This gives you a record of what you’ve posted previously, which will provide templates for the future and inspire new ideas. It also stops you from repeating yourself too often.
Once you have decided how often and when you can post then set up a spreadsheet. You can put the dates in the left hand column, and then across the top the time of day. There are a lot of complex social media marketing calendars and spreadsheets out there, but as a small business you don’t want or need to spend that much time planning.
A spreadsheet like this is a very basic way of organising what you are posting and when it’s going out. You can add as many columns as necessary for different times, and you don’t have to include every day of the week if you don’t intend to post that often. If you spend time writing out your tweets and Facebook posts then you can simply copy and paste them into Twitter or Facebook and they are ready to go.
As you get more experienced with social media marketing you can look back and see what posts are most successful, and adjust your strategy. You can manually add columns to your spreadsheet to track how well you’re being received on social media.
Another thing to think about is looking ahead to upcoming events, and making a note of them in your social media calendar - this way you can tailor your posts to keep them relevant and up to date. Once you’re confident in your social media routine you can use a more detailed calendar such as this one:
Open the social media calendar here.
Tools to help you
To really save time on your social media marketing there are several tools which will schedule your social media posts for you.
Once you have written your Facebook posts and Tweets you can then copy and paste them into a social media scheduling tool and schedule when each one will be posted. These are some of the most popular scheduling tools:
- Buffer: You can use Buffer to schedule your Twitter and Facebook accounts by either setting up times to post every day or individually scheduling each post. Buffer can also shorten any links you include, and will provide analytics for the posts you have sent out.
- Hootsuite: Use Hootsuite to schedule all of your posts, track any brand mentions and analyse your social media traffic. Hootsuite also allows you to schedule Instagram posts, and you can use it for up to three different social media accounts for free.
- Tweetdeck: Twitter’s own scheduling tool allows you to view your feed, as well as schedule posts for the future. However, you could have to schedule your Facebook posts on Facebook or using another scheduling tool.
For more help about keeping on top of your social media marketing take a look at these: