Does Social Media Suck Away Your Time?
I often hear from small business owners that they are struggling to be present on social media due to the large amount of time it takes out of their working schedule and that they could do with some social media assistance. A survey by Vertical Response, showed that 63% of small business owners spend between 1 and 5 hours on their social media every week, with the remainder spending even longer!!! Some business owners are spending over 21 hours a week on social media! That’s over HALF of their normal working week.
If this is you how are you getting anything else done? If so it’s time to ask for some social media assistance?
Unfortunately, social media draws you in! The majority of the time spent on social media is unproductive. Once you get onto Facebook, it’s hard not to update your page without looking at what you friends are up to. Before you know it, you’ve spent an hour scrolling through mindless rubbish and then you’re kicking yourself that you’ve not got that important task completed or you’re late for lunch with your friend. It doesn’t just effect business but also the other important things in life.
The same survey also discovered that 1 in 3 business owners would like to spend less time on social media so they can focus on stuff that’s more important, AND stuff they actually like doing!
So why do it? Why not delegate it to a virtual social media assistant? You should be creating your social media in a smart and productive way so that it enhances your brand and business.
How Do You Plan Your Social Media?
Often people post on social media because they think they should. But do they have any structure to it? Do they have a plan in place? No because they don’t really have the time to do it or they don’t want to do it.
If you want to build your online presence you need a plan, just as you do for your business. You need to know what your aim is and what you want to achieve. You need to know who your ideal customer is and where they hang out. Not all social networks are relevant for your business, so you need to work out which ones you want to focus your energy on. For me I use Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, although I know Instagram probably won’t generate as much interest as the other two platforms. But I’m monitoring it.
Letting Go Of Your Social Media
It is difficult to sometimes let go of your own work when you are then being reliant on someone else getting it right for you. At the end of the day it’s your business that’s being represented and your brand on the line.
All I can advise is that if you want more time in your day to focus on what’s really important to you, including tasks that only you can do to build your business then you need to delegate the tasks that someone else can do. Hiring some virtual social media assistance will give you your time back.
So, here’s how you can delegate your social media to a virtual assistant.
One way is to share you login details with your virtual assistant, or the other way is to make them an administrator of your social network profile. I’ve been asked to work in both ways.
Your social media VA can post on your behalf, not just create your content for you. There are a number of sharing platforms. The one I use is Hootsuite. On the free version which is great starting place you can add up to 3 social profiles including Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. You can also add apps such as Google My Business. If you are using the free version you will have to let your VA have access to your username and password if you want them to manage your social media.
What Social Media Tasks Can Your Virtual Assistant Do For You?
Before your VA starts providing you with social media assistance, it’s important for them to get a grip of how you deal with your social media. For me I need as much information as possible I like to learn about the ins and outs of your business, what your brand stands for and what your objectives are. At the end of the day I will be working alongside you as part of your team.
When you hire social media virtual assistance here is a list of some of the tasks your virtual social media assistant can deal with:
Research and Content Creation
How often and when you schedule on your chosen platforms is dependent on your objectives. Every business is different. Sometimes it’s a case of trial and error, especially if you are just entering into the realms of social media. Creating content is time consuming. Doing the research for example, for quotes or relevant statistics or information takes time and then you need the image to support your content. Also, there are limits to the number of characters you use to write your post hence why it’s a great idea to write your article and post it to your website as a blog and then link back to it in your social media post.
This is where your virtual assistant can step in for you. For one of the clients I work with we use Trello to organise everything relevant to social media. It’s a platform where we can both ‘dump’ relevant content we might come across for future posts. I also use it like a calendar split into months. For each month I schedule, specifically for this client 1 post per day Monday to Friday, across 3 platforms. I devise the content, using already predetermined hashtags (stored in Trello for ease of access), save them, along with the relevant image, already branded up and then the client approves the posts. Once they are approved I then schedule them in Hootsuite at predetermined times.
One important point to note is that some platforms can take offence at using third party apps for scheduling. If you want to schedule to Facebook it’s best to schedule directly to that platform otherwise the algorithms penalise you and you don’t get as much exposure. Another thing to note is that LinkedIn doesn’t like you posting links outside of the platform, so if you do want to direct your readers elsewhere you should post the link in your comments. Again, you get penalised by receiving less exposure.
Monitoring Comments and Engaging with Your Audience
This is where your VA can become your righthand man or woman in my case!! Making sure you have alerts and fees set up to pick up on anyone mentioning your name or business on the internet. A couple of services you can use are Tweetdeck and Google Alerts. You get email alerts, or your VA does every day, (you can choose how often you receive them) showing you who’s mentioned you and giving you an opportunity to respond to them accordingly. Hootsuite also allows your VA to monitor mentions.
Managing Your Network
You can ask your VA to connect with new people across your social media platforms based on given criteria. They could also do a purge on connections that aren’t of value or are spammers.
Interacting on social media is really important, as is sharing and commenting on content which belongs to other people, which is a key to developing your network. You don’t always have to be posting to keep your profile raised. You can promote industry leaders from your field which in turn will help promote your own social profile. A good rule of thumb is to only link back to your site 3 out of every 10 shares.
Social Media Virtual Assistance Can Help With These Tasks
Some people get stuck for ways to encourage interaction. Here are a few ideas to help you:
- Post a question to encourage interaction e.g. white mice or pink pigs?
- Share a relevant video and comment on it
- Share an article which is relevant to your own market or niche
- Write a simple status update e.g. “roast beef and Yorkshire puddings for dinner for me today. What are you having?”
- Interaction on complimentary pages/comments/news feed monitoring
- Give someone a testimonial. People like nothing better than praise
- Like pages in your niche
- Like and interact with the biggest names in your niche
- Post inspirational and Funny Images as well as quotes
- Thank new followers
- Reintroduce yourself. Tell your audience what you do
- Interact with re-tweeters and replies
It’s hard to measure the ROI on social media so it’s important to set out your objectives to find out whether what you are doing on social media is working and that you are using the right platforms. After all what is the point in you or your virtual assistant wasting time posting if you are posting in the wrong place. Are you trying to raise brand awareness? Are you trying to promote a product/service?
Here are a few examples of goals you could set:
- Increase your Twitter followers to 600 by the end of the month
- Increase your Facebook likes by 20% in the next 2 months
- Focus on building awareness of a new offer you have, on Facebook, through regular posts during the month of March
Your VA can provide you with a regular report tracking your progress. You will receive metrics on demographics, number of followers, likes, retweets, and other stats which will help you to work out where you should be focusing your social media efforts.
Keeping Social Media Profiles Current
It’s important to ensure you stay current and to make sure your brand is consistent across all social media platforms so that people recognise you and your service as soon as they see you. It’s also good to review your information every now and again to keep your audience up to date with new services or products you may be offering. You may also have refreshed your imagery for your website and want it reflecting over your social media channels. Your VA can do all this for you.
Create New Social Accounts and Pages
If you have more than one business or a side line, you’ll most likely need other social media accounts so your social media virtual assistant can also save you the time and set up for example a new Facebook page for business.
There’s no point wasting time yourself doing this type of stuff when your VA can do it!
Creating a Content Calendar
For this you can use a spreadsheet or a calendar format or the thing I use is Trello. This is great for organising your social media which I covered in point 1 above. The best thing is that both you and your VA have access. Both of you can then add ideas to the boards and tweak posts if necessary. The bonus is that your VA can see what you’ve done before scheduling them. Content takes time to create and setting precious time aside every month can be a problem for many small business owners. Having your social media virtual assistant create a bulk of posts for your approval makes more sense and it gives you time to focus on the important stuff.
Your VA can keep tabs on your competitors for you. Find out what they are doing, what they are posting about and gather valuable information. Your VA could monitor their growth and compare it against yours on a monthly basis. If your competitor is growing faster than you then you need to determine what it is that they are doing. What is their strategy? You need to find out and replicate it and improve on it.
There are other things your VA can help out with too such as managing Ad campaigns and help run competitions.
Imagine Having Freedom!
Just imagine how it’d feel having all that time free to do what you want to do AND have your social media content scheduled for the next few months!
Social media is a time waster!! It sucks the productivity out of you. It’s like some sort of magnetic force that pulls you in and then you can’t get off. Don’t do it. It doesn’t make good business sense. The best way to solve this problem is to delegate your social media to your VA. This will then give you time to focus on the important stuff in your business. You will be able to get on with the tasks that only you can do that will move you towards building your business and making money.
All social media strategies will be different dependent on your goals. Make sure you clearly define what you want to achieve through your social media. Your social media goas should be part of your business plan that can provide measurable results.
Results aren’t guaranteed on social media and it doesn’t happen overnight. But your VA can keep track of what’s happening and the results you are seeing. You should see your online presence grow and get more engagement. Keeping track of these results alongside additional leads should give you direction. It’ll allow you tweak your activity until you get the results you desire.
Which social media tasks would give you more time if you hired some social media assistance?
If you have any questions let me know. I’d love to help you free up your valuable time and only do the things you love to do.