The overwhelmed team’s guide to social media posting

We all want social media success, but we also don’t want it to swallow us up.

We all want social media success, but we also don’t want it to swallow us up.

I have friends, family, acquaintances and colleagues I affectionately call “poster children.” Not sure if they work, have any human contact other than through their phones or if they go outside at all, because they post to social media all day long.

Some of them post the same types of things over and over (political stuff, selfies, opinions on a specific subject or hobby); while others just show mundane pictures of their lunch, or a cool cloud after a rainstorm.

You see a lot of this blind, posting-in-bulk in B2B and B2C, too. Some post just to make a contributory noise to the great cacophony of social media. Maybe they fear that silence renders them forgotten.

Then, there are those organizations that have mastered the art of posting. Upworthy comes to mind, as does TED, Mental Floss, the Onion, NPR and others. They consistently put out stuff that’s interesting, useful, educational or entertaining.

Granted, these places have small battalions of content creators, journalists and artists churning out awesomeness around the clock. Many of us don’t have anywhere near those kinds of resources. We rely on ourselves, staff that does this part time, or freelancers.

When our agency does social media for clients, we craft a plan, create compelling content, and deploy it with grace. But when it came to ourselves, initially, it was the shoemaker’s kids thing. Still, we wanted to be out there. So how?

Over time, we’ve developed a formula for making our social media manageable, consistent and strategic. We get decent results, have a nice following, a consistent presence and readership… all in about 30 minutes a day. It took some set up, and we continue to tweak our system, but it’s been well worth it.

Here’s what we do…

1. Set up “go to” places for worthwhile, targeted content. When we first started doing social media for ourselves several years ago, we spent considerable time looking for content sources—places we could find consistently good stuff to share with clients and colleagues. And we’ve been building on those sources ever since.

For efficiency, we have them all bookmarked, and every morning, we efficiently scour headlines, find what we think our audience(s) would benefit from, and share it. DONE! The whole process takes less than 20 minutes.

We also have regular weekly features, like our Monday quote of the week and the Friday fun fact. Both get shared and liked by our followers pretty often. We research and write these all at once, set them up in HootSuite’s calendar (our social media software) and hit schedule. Done again!

The time we save with this semi-automated process is time we invest in creating custom content, a.k.a. this blog.

2. Timing. There’s a lot of theory as to when to post and how often. You’ve probably seen this graphic (we posted this last week) that lists the best posting time for each platform:

Timing-is-everything-cat-for-web

As for us, we just try to vary our posts throughout the day on various platforms. To me, if there’s a lot of traffic on a site at a certain time, your stuff could easily get drowned out. Plus, most people scan social media sites, and when something catches their eye, they look deeper. If you post good stuff, the time you did it may not matter.

As for how often to post, I spent the intro complaining about mindless, maniacal posting. We try to keep it between two and four posts a day—so we’re still out there, but not too annoying. And traffic to our website has doubled over the past 18 months.

3. Think long term. Since social media is very instantaneous, many of us expect an immediate reaction to our posts, tweets and updates—and often, the likes, comments, and views come pouring in. But, once you put something out there, it’s out there forever… floating around like a bottled message in a cyber sea, waiting to be found. I’ve written blogs that got reactions more than a year-and-a-half after I posted them. Even I forgot about them. But, someone was searching, came across it, and responded. You never know.

The thing to remember is that this stuff has more legs than you may give it credit for—good or bad. Consider that as you look for and create content and always keep an eye on it.

4. Be native. This is the term used by all the social media cool kids right now, like Gary Vaynerchuk. What it basically means is to use a platform appropriately. Upload VIDEO on YouTube—not stills with a soundtrack! Edit tweets so they fit on Twitter. Pop in photos, when you can, on Facebook—you’ll get noticed more. No one would use a print ad for a TV spot, right? The same logic applies to social media platforms. Work within them! Plus, once you know the rules, things go quicker.

In my travels, I still run into many marketers who are only scratching the social media surface. When we talk about it, they rub their temples and say, “Yeah, I gotta get into that stuff,” or they’re doing social media sporadically, at best. I usually give them these tips. It’s how we do it, and it’s surprisingly manageable.

– Andy Badalamenti is the creative director for CI-Group

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