So, here we go: Mindful Marketing – or for anyone who didn’t read my Mindful Marketing Manifesto (what a mouthful!) last week – our ideas for making marketing simple. Don’t waste your time in January decluttering your sock drawer – let’s declutter your marketing to-do list instead.

Social media is, as we all know, the ultimate time suck. If you think just reading and staying up to date with your social feeds takes up a lot (far too much) of your time – try being a professional social media manager; it is super time-intensive. Finding content, drafting posts, @mentioning people, scheduling, responding to comments, identifying genuine influencers, fiddling about with images, analysing results. It takes a lot of time.

But, there are ways that you can maintain a viable social media presence without effectively getting a ruler and crossing out all of Monday and Thursday afternoon, every week, for the rest of your life.

Here’s The Marketing Architect 3-step plan to fine-tuning the effort you are putting into social media marketing.

 

1. Reduce the number of platforms you are managing.

If you are a small business trying to have an active presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter, we can tell you right now that you are trying to do too much. Managing four platforms is a full-time job for someone who is an expert and knows all the shortcuts, let alone for someone also trying to be the head of sales, marketing and delivery for their own business. Let’s cut that kind of thinking stone dead right away.

Our suggestion is that you should drastically hack away at your expectations and choose one or two (max!) platforms where you will focus on building a really effective presence instead.

It can be difficult to know which platforms are going to give you the best result (we covered it in detail here, in case you want a more detailed explanation) but, in a nutshell, aim to be present on the ones that your dream clients are ‘actively using’. Being busy in a place where true, genuine customers rarely go is a waste of your precious time. Only targeting your message at the right community will give you a response.

You can only know who uses which social media platforms by asking your clients (or, if you are a start up, people you know personally, who meet the description of your ideal client), and conducting your own market research project. Tread carefully here. If you don’t word your question accurately you’ll get responses like: ‘Yes, I’m on LinkedIn!’ making you think your prospects are hanging out there, but in truth your interviewee only visits once every three years when he or she wants to find a new job. ‘Active use’ is key.

In case you are thinking: ‘That’s great, but I’ve already set up my Twitter account, and I don’t want to abandon it empty and forlorn like a great, big, cyber Mary-Celeste’. Don’t worry, we have a tip. Where you have an account that is live but you don’t want to continue actively managing it, create a post explaining that your reader is in the right place, this is your page, but as you tend to share more content on Facebook (for example), here’s a link, why not come and join the party there? Then pin that post to the top of your feed so it’s always visible.

 

2. Find out your best times and develop a posting schedule

There are certain times during the week when your dream client is most likely to be online, looking at social media. It makes sense that, in order to get the best bang for your time investment buck, you should post your content when they are most available to see it. Even if that is during the evening. (Spoiler alert: it very probably is during the evening).

You can find out when your best posting time is, by either asking your clients a few well-worded questions about when they go online, or by using Facebook insights to track the online habits of your users.

Once you know when is the best time to post, chose how many posts you are aiming to do each week and plan them out. Select the days and times that work best for your audience and set yourself a goal of posting something at those times every single week. Be realistic here – if you know you can’t manage to post every day, don’t invent a theoretical posting schedule that relies on you posting daily. Cut it down to a more manageable three times a week (or whatever is achievable for you.)

 

 3. Plan your content according to your objective.

Imagine you have a plot of land and a whole load of basic building materials. You don’t have an architect’s plan and can do whatever you want with the building materials. What do you think you’d end up with?

Now imagine that before you start work, you know you are building a barbecue, or, a scout hut, or a helipad, and you have some basic instructions. Do you think your end result (given that you aren’t actually a builder), would be closer to resembling something useful?

This is very much what social media is like. You have to know what you are doing there in order to get a positive result.

Set a goal for what you want to achieve for your platform right now. What’s your number one priority? Whether it’s building your list, driving traffic to the ‘evaluation’ content on your website, booking in people to demo your product, online networking, or selling tickets to your event. Focus approximately 40% of your effort and content on that one objective. (Any more than 40% and you’ll be a party bore, any less and your community won’t be getting enough direction from you).

Once you have these three areas figured out, you’ll be able to go about your social media management calmly knowing that you are focusing down on the right stuff and being more deliberate in your marketing activity.

Have our ideas given you food for thought? Please feel free to chime in in the comments. We’d love to have your input – how do you stay focused and reduce your workload when it comes to social media?

Stay tuned for more Mindful Marketing, next time: content creation.