No doubt about it. Social media marketing can easily become a time-suck. Luckily I've found tools for finding and sharing quality content almost without effort.
This blog post exactly describes the social media marketing tools and my process to manage Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and (futurewise) LinkedIn in 30 minutes or less a day.
The system described saves me a ton of time, but more importantly, it leaves me with more time connecting, interacting, and actually helping my followers.
Social Media Marketing the Easy Way
I love finding and sharing helpful content for my followers: freelance graphic designers, illustrators, and web designers. However…
“I was on the verge of giving up on social media. Just finding quality content for three daily updates on Twitter turned into both a stress factor and a huge time-suck. I clearly needed to do something.”
These 3 Social Media Tools Save Me Hours Every Day
Nowadays, I manage my social media marketing by combining these tools:
Feedly (free) puts together fresh news from many sites into one neat stream. I have a stream of 70+ sources on graphic design, illustration, web design, freelance business, and marketing. Every day I pick the news I think most interesting to my followers. My Feedly stream feeds me enough content for constantly being at least 3 days ahead.
Buffer ($10/mo) automatically buffers the news I pick up and later posts them at optimal times to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Buffer integrates nicely into Feedly, which makes sharing stuff a breeze!
With SocialOomph (up to $36/mo) I add recurring evergreen and self-promotional updates into the mix.
My posting system look like this:
I could easily post more frequent, but I feel these numbers are a good start. The update frequency also roughly follows Hubspot's recommendation to start with 8 tweets a day, 4 Facebook updates, 3 LinkedIn updates, and 4 Google+ updates.
I've broken down my social media marketing to a daily routine (15-30 minutes), and a monthly routine (a few hours.)
My Daily Social Media Marketing Routine
I start my day checking my Feedly stream for news interesting to graphic designers, illustrators, and web designers. I'm mainly looking for marketing hacks, tips, and tools, but occasionally also for inspirational pieces on design and freelance business.
I use Feedly's app (available for Android/iPhone) for checking my news stream. With Feedly's app we're talking seconds for writing, scheduling, and posting an update. In my daily routine I spend most of the time reading content before deciding to share it or not.
I find content, schedule and share it in 4 easy steps:
Step 1: I swipe through my Feedly stream. In this case “Make it Hard for Clients to Stop Doing Business with You” caught my attention. Tap to read.
- Tip: Set Feedly to mark articles as read automatically as you swipe through them (in advanced settings.) Otherwise you will have to wade through them again and again.
- Tip: Set Feedly to save articles for later by long pressing the article summary (in advanced settings.)
- Tip: Read and share quick reads immediately. Avoid sharing something you haven't read. Save the longer pieces for later.
Step 2: Tap share button
Step 3: Tap “Add to Buffer”
Step 4: Compose your update. This is extremely easy: Buffer both picks up the content title and shortens the link automatically.
Step 5. Send! Your update is automatically added to the end of your Buffer queue. Buffer automatically schedules* the update to when your followers are most likely to be online.
* Followerwonk offers a free integrated scheduling optimization for Buffer. Decide how many times per day you'd like to tweet. Based on your own followers top hours a schedule is automatically created and imported into your Buffer account. Get a free Followerwonk account here.
My Monthly Social Media Marketing Routine
My monthly routine has two steps.
Step 1: Editing my lists of recurring updates.
I add and keep last month’s most popular tweets (that it, the most clicked, retweeted, and favorited ones). I delete the unpopular ones.
Sometimes I decide to rerun a few not so loved tweets, provided they linked to really helpful content. If so, I write new copy that hopefully will attract more attention.
The tweets “surviving” this edit I then slot for a rerun, but only once, during the upcoming month.
I use two lists for recurring tweets.
A. Top Evergreen Tweets
This first, and biggest, list contains 168 updates linking to top quality, evergreen content on other sites, e,g. Red Lemon Club and Zero 2 Illo. I've set this list to post a tweet once per hour, 8 AM to 2 PM, Monday-Sunday, only to Twitter (= 6 updates a day.)
B. Flaunt My Design Self-Promotional Tweets
The second list contains tweets linked to my own content. This list grows organically. I add new tweets as I publish new blog posts on Flaunt My Design. I keep the self-promotional tweets on a separate list so I can schedule them differently.
I've set this list to post a tweet once a day, randomly between 8 AM to 2 PM, Monday-Sunday, only to Twitter (= 1 update a day.)
Some basic things to remember when editing:
- Max 117 characters for non-link text
- SocialOomph will automatically shorten links (see below…)
- Tweets without links, e.g. quotes: Max 140 characters .
Step 2: Uploading my lists
Once edited, I upload the lists to my SocialOomph “reservoirs.” Basically, a reservoir is a list of tweets scheduled to be published at some point in the future. This is how:
First I paste the tweets into plain text files – one tweet per row (detailed instructions.)
I then use SocialOomphs Bulk Uploader feature to load the text files into my reservoirs.
This is how:
- Choose file to upload
- Choose to upload the tweets into a reservoir, in this case “Top Evergreen Tweets”
- Choose to automatically shorten links
- Choose a reservoir to upload the tweets into.
- When SocialOomph reaches the end of the reservoir, it either starts over from the beginning, or emails a reminder to upload new tweets*.
Done! Now my recurring tweets are on autopilot for a month.* I let SocialOomph remind me to upload new tweets, since that's when I do my monthly editing.
These are my personal pros and cons for this system:
- Saves a ton of time
- Automatically feeds me with good, fresh content to share
- No last minutes rushes to find content
- Minimizes manual typing of updates
- Automatically shortens all links in updates
- Most updates are automatically posted
- Posts to the big 4 social media, that is to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ LinkedIn
- Automatically schedules updates to when my followers are online
- Ensures a good mix between my own (10%) and others content (90%)
- Ensures a good mix between evergreen (70%) and fresh content (30%)
- Ensures that some quality content will be posted every day
- The fresh content picked up in Feedly organically grows my list of recurrent tweets
- The monthly edit continually raises the quality of the recurring tweets
- The daily routine can be done during down-time, e.g. during waiting time, breaks, meals, transports etc
- The daily routine is possible to fully complete on a smart phone
- Both the Feedly and Buffer app is very user-friendly
- Buffer and Feedly are well-integrated
- Very little maintenance
- Social media marketing has become fun again!
- Very reasonable cost
- It's not free ($46/mo, or less)
- SocialOomph can't post updates to Google+ (yet)
- No smart phone app for SocialOomph
As always, comments and further suggestions are welcome! I'd love to hear from you.