Social media seems like the one task that just never actually gets off your to-do list, am I right? It haunts you.
One morning you spend the time lovingly picking what to share, crafting brilliant posts and beautiful branded images to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc… and then tomorrow you have to do it all over again. (womp womp)
And if you get busy and fall off the content treadmill, it’s always there niggling you in the back of your mind:
“I didn’t post anything on my Facebook Page today.”
“It’s been 2 days/a week/a month since I tweeted!”
Social media is a content monster that’s never satisfied, chronically hungry.
But you know that 78% of business owners using social media outsell their competitors (according to Forbes) and your audience is hanging out there — you’re not just going to throw in the towel and admit defeat!
So how can you keep it fed? How can you stay consistent WITHOUT social media taking over your business? (You got clients to see, blog post to write, emails to answer and a to-do list the length of your arm — I know because I do too!).
Stick with me. It might not sound sexy but it’s the key to getting OFF that content treadmill and sating that hungry social media beast.
And — double bonus! — your social media will convert a heck of a lot better, which means more leads and more clients.
Why? Because for one, you’ll finally be CONSISTENT and two, you’ll be mindfully, strategically, crafting your content rather than just slapping the first interesting article you come across into your Buffer and calling it done.
The 3 S’s of effective, efficient social media batching:
1) Strategize it
You want to share a good mix of content (not just your own blog posts!) to attract, educate and engage your audience.
I like to think of all the possible types of content falling under 4 easy buckets: Attraction content (to attract your ideal clients), Education content (to establish your expert status), Engagement content (to create conversation and connection with your audience) and Advertising content (to promote you & your stuff). (Learn more about my 4 Pillars of Great Social Media Content here.)
Having these 4 buckets of content makes it much easier to come up with things to post because you have a framework to work with and aren’t just starting with a completely blank page!
But it’s just a top-level strategy — you’ll want to use it as a starting point but then put your own spin on it so it represents your brand and you.
For example your personal content mix could include inspirational quote images (Attraction), selfies to give your audience a peek at the person behind the business (Engagement), the best content curated from around your industry (Education), and posts to promote your opt-in freebies, offers or webinars (Advertising).
Or maybe not! If you can’t stand inspirational quote images or hate taking selfies, then your personal content mix obviously won’t include them. Taking the time to lay out what is/isn’t Attraction, Education, Engagement and Advertising content for your business will make creation a lot faster (and allow you to eventually delegate it if that’s what you want!).
(In fact, developing your personal content mix based on the 4 Pillars system is a big part of what we do in the Rock Solid Social Media Workshop because it’s a big key to getting real results from your social media efforts.)
2) Schedule it
Marie Forleo said, “If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real” and boy, is that ever true in business. You have a lot of competing priorities and then there’s that to-do list the length of your arm…
So it’s time to get that batching time scheduled.
Get out your calendar and start by carving yourself out two hours every two weeks.
Ideally you should write at least 2 week’s worth of posts at a time but I find 4 weeks worth of content is best. Because does it ever feel good to set it & (mostly) forget it for a whole month!
Maybe you’re thinking 2 hours doesn’t sound like enough — and in the beginning, it might not be. But the beauty of batching is once you get in the groove, you’ll write a lot quicker than when you do it day-by-day, one post at time. And you WILL get faster the more you do this.
Which leads me to the final S…
3) Systemize it
You want to make it as easy as possible to crank out those posts and then get them scheduled. Everyone will develop their personal flavour on what works best but here’s a good place to start:
Set up a place to SAVE all the juicy stuff you come across while online — I love Pocket but you can use Evernote, regular bookmarks, or whatever works best for you.
Here’s how my personal system works:
Step #1: I save an article in my Pocket with the tag “stockpile” when I want to save it for social sharing.
Then, at my appointed batching time (see above!) I can open Pocket up and have a wealth of shareable pieces right at my fingertips. (You can also outsource this bit to a VA or team member.)
Step #2: I write the post for Twitter, Facebook and any other social media channel in my 4 Pillars Stockpile Spreadsheet. (Want the spreadsheet I use? Grab it here.)
In general you don’t want to share the same post word-for-word across ALL your channels because you want it to feel “native” — for example on Twitter people’s @handles are important to include but when we see those same @handles on a Facebook post, they don’t make much sense and your audience will be more likely to skip over the post.
NOTE: Obviously not every social update will be the sharing of an article (those are mostly going to show up in your Attraction & Education Pillars) so at this stage I also add posts that aren’t articles like quote images, testimonials, promo posts for my free opt-in gifts, etc.
Step #3: I create or save any image I want to be posted with the update and upload it to my Dropbox in my social media folder and put the Dropbox link in my spreadsheet so my VA & I both know exactly which image goes with which post.
Step #4: All my social content is then scheduled out over the next month. I used to use Hootsuite and Buffer quite a bit, but I recently switched to Edgar — use whatever tool works best for you. (Tip: scheduling is the easiest social media piece to delegate, in fact, I recently started outsourcing this myself.)
Here’s another great social media content system using Evernote & Hootsuite from systems expert Michelle MacConnell.
Two important caveats:
> Not EVERYTHING can be pre-scheduled. For example, I like the vast majority of my Engagement content to be spontaneous and come right from what’s going on now in my business and life but by batching with a strategy, schedule and system you will never again be fumbling for what the heck to post today OR find it’s been days or weeks since you shared anything at all.
> Social media is also supposed to be SOCIAL. So you can “set it and forget it” with your content but you should be jumping in to engage with your audience at least once most days. But this doesn’t take long — and is way more fun each day than trying to come up with something to post under pressure!
Take Action Now
Adopting any new habit takes work at first so I’ve made it as easy as possible for you with this done-for-you 2-week Social Media Calendar. Grab yours and get creating! Consistency — and the real results it creates — is just a batch away.
I'd love to hear from you
Do you struggle to stay consistent with your social media? What's your go-to system for handling the content monster?
If you found this post helpful, I'd be SO grateful if you shared it (there are some handy little social sharing buttons right below!) so other smart, hard-working online business owners can jump off the social media content treadmill and get back to business!