It’s a catch-22. You need to be on social media for prospective clients to find out about your services and get to know you. But you don’t want to lose time that you could be spending on your core business. It’s a tricky balancing act, but it doesn’t need to be. How about you spend LESS time on social media and still gain followers and traction? Here’s how.
Create content in a batch
Creating content can take up a whole lot of time. You can speed up the process by setting aside time in your diary to do it all in one go. Whether it’s writing blog posts, creating graphics, taking photos or videos – block out a chunk of time. By carving out a few hours, you will get much more done than trying to do it piecemeal.
So, schedule it in at a frequency that works for you – once a week, fortnight or month. And when you turn your attention to it, if possible, step away from your usual workstation. Finding an alternative environment to work on the creative / writing elements can be a boost. Try working in a park or garden or a quiet café – pandemic restrictions permitting. Even a different room in your house is worth a try.
The idea is to get you away from your usual work triggers, freeing your mind to create. With that in mind, leave your phone behind or, at the very least, on silent. Then, do all the creative parts, one after another. Don’t worry about scheduling or resizing images or editing for now – that kind of fiddly ‘doing’ task will kill any creative flow, stone dead.
Batching helps your productivity
For example, say it’s a blog post or a more extended social media post. Try this process in one session. First, plan it with bullet points, then write it or film it (if you’re doing video). Then, move immediately on to the next one.
Or, say, you struggle with ideas of what to write. If you often feel stumped, devote one session to coming up with lots of ideas. Get them all down without editing or self-censoring – you can whittle them to a short-list later.
And if it’s the actual writing that you find tricky? In one session, aim to complete several outlines. In each one, use subheadings and bullet points to give the piece structure. Then move on. You can return at another time to write the articles in full.
Only when you’ve completed the creative part should you think about the more technical aspects of it. So, if you’re resizing or adding your logo or whatever you need to do, leave that to the end. Then, do all of that in a batch too. You’ll find it much faster if you’re not constantly switching between various tasks.
Repurpose your content to save yourself time
As the above section suggests, it takes time to create content. It’s worth doing, of course, but don’t use it once, then abandon it. It’s OK to repeat it, especially if it’s evergreen content. That is, it’s not specific to a particular event or time and remains relevant.
There’s an even better than a simple repeat, though. The savvy coach will make each piece of content really earn its crust. How? They repurpose it. And then they repurpose it some more.
If you’ve written a blog post, turn it into a video (Lumen5 is an excellent tool for this). And do it the other way around too by repurposing a video into a blog post (check out Rev for this option). You can lift a few lines from a blog post or a video and repurpose them. Turn them into social media graphics. Use blog posts as an email to your list, if you have one.
Don’t assume that everyone will have seen all your posts on social media – they won’t. Even if they have seen it, you’re presenting the information in a fresh medium, so it’s still new to them.
In short, repurposing is a great way to make your created content work hard for you.
Use third-party content
Your own content is valuable, but if that’s all you post, you might find people unfollow you. Even worse is the possibility that they have a negative association with your brand. If you’re always doing the hard-sell, that’s not going to do much for your business. A coach/counsellor who appears to be ‘me, me, me’ may hold little appeal for someone looking for support.
Here’s where sharing third-party content comes in. You select the articles that are relevant and of interest to your followers and share them. You’re curating the best ones in the choosing – hence why it’s called curated content – for your audience. It educates, entertains, engages and supports them. It’s a more nuanced stream of content than simply telling them what you think and why they should hire you.
Sharing content by others that you feel will help them adds value to their lives without being of direct benefit to you. In short, it’s about THEM, not you.
Not just any content, but the right content
Of course, it needs to be quality curated content – must-read articles for followers.
Perhaps you want it to be thought-provoking or research-led. Maybe you’re after something that explains what it’s like to work with a mental health professional. Or something that will encourage your followers to think about their mental wellbeing. It could be an article that offers guidance in self-care or self-compassion.
In a nutshell, you share articles that will support and help them. Then, when they are at the stage of looking for a coach to help them take the next step, you’re already on their radar.
There are no two ways about it – it takes time to find third-party articles of the right quality to share. That’s why Content Club is such a great help to busy coaches and counsellors. It slashes the time you need to spend on social media. When it comes to curated content, the heavy-lifting is done for you. I research, read and select articles on various core topics and then write the posts to accompany them. All you do is upload – and I can do that too if you’d prefer. You can find out a bit more about Content Club by clicking here.
Scheduling tools help you spend less time on social media
Don’t faff around with posting on individual platforms each day. It eats into your working time and jars the rhythm of your day. And it’s a job that’s easily forgotten. You get to the end of a day or week – or, whisper it, month – and realise you’ve posted zip. Or you remember at 11 pm that you meant to post at 11 am. Gah! You post at 11 pm anyway, even though none of your audience is online. Nobody sees it. Obviously.
The way to avoid it happening is to use a scheduling tool. It’s much easier and more convenient than doing it as you go. Many of them have free options, so you don’t even have to pay out for it.
Using a scheduler for your content means that you set aside the time to do it once a week or month. That saves you time and headspace on a day to day basis. And it ensures you’re posting consistently, which is so important on social media, even when you’re busy.
At its basic level, a scheduling tool is a piece of software that will post to your social media for you on the day and time of your choosing. The posts can be for created or curated content. Some social media networks allow you to schedule in-platform, such as Facebook and Twitter. A third-party tool allows you to post to multiple networks.
They’re easy to use. You create an account, link your social media accounts and then create posts in the scheduler. You write the wording, add the link (if there is one) and choose the date and time you want it to go out. It’s that simple to schedule. When that date and time rolls around, the post will appear on your social media for your followers.
In Content Club, I teach you how to use three scheduling tools; you can choose the one that you like best. But there are lots on the market, and more are launching all the time. Click here for a round-up of those that Influencer Marketing Hub deems to be worth a look, but it’s a personal choice. Find one that meets your needs, and is easy to use. Almost all of the paid ones offer a free trial period, and it’s wise to take advantage of that. If you can’t get to grips with it in a few days, move on.
Put your daily engagement in your diary
You have created your promotional content and found plenty of curated content. And you’ve scheduled it all – yay! So now what? Engage! Do a little bit each day, and you’ll give your social media a massive boost.
But don’t disappear into a social media rabbit-hole and lose chunks of time by getting sucked into a spiral of activity. It’s easy to lose an hour by reading posts and articles, finding new accounts to follow, and joining conversations. That’s not a good use of your time when you’re running a business. If this is you, it makes sense to set strict boundaries around how much time you’ll spend on social media.
Of course, many find the opposite is true. With engagement, it’s too easy to reach the end of the day and realise you’ve forgotten – AGAIN. I’m guilty of it myself. Then you leap onto social media and spend a lot of time there to make up for it. That feast or famine approach is also far from ideal.
Neither of these scenarios is helpful. The aim is to be consistent on social media without losing hours of your time to it. Show up, do your stuff, then get on with the rest of your work.
Half the battle is being aware of your particular challenges. Whether you often get pulled into long chats on Twitter or forget to engage at all – take action accordingly.
If you’re likely to forget altogether, try hooking it onto something else so it becomes a habit. Perhaps your routine involves doing it as soon as you sit at your desk at the start of the day. Or when you have your morning coffee, you engage then. Maybe you prefer to engage after you’ve had lunch and once more before you finish. Anything that helps you remember is worth trying.
Or try setting alarms on your phone. That can help both those who forget to show up and those who lose hours of their time. If you need reminders to engage, set an alarm for various points of the day – say, three times. And engage for 10 minutes each time.
And, if you’re a sucker for frittering your time away on social media, set a timer on your phone. Give yourself 10-15 minutes each time, then when the timer goes, stop.
On Twitter – you can create Twitter lists to make engagement faster, as explained in a previous blog post. That way, you can dip in and out to those specific accounts that have the greatest value to you. It helps focus your engagement so that you get the best return on time invested.
So, if you’re keen to spend less time on social media without sacrificing growth, give these ideas a go. The aim is to have quality social media that attracts and engages followers without losing precious time.
If you try them, let me know what works and what doesn’t. And feel free to share any of your social media hacks in the comments so we can all give them a go.
Main photo by iqoncept at depositphotos.com
Sixty Second Social is tailor-made for coaches, counsellors, psychotherapists, and anyone working in the mental health sphere. It provides you with fresh content, curated from around the globe, each month. From £27 per month, you get links to relevant articles, together with the ready-written posts. All you have to do is upload it. In under 30 minutes each month – or 60 seconds a day, hence the name – you’ll schedule content on your social media accounts for the month ahead. Or, if you prefer, I can do it for you, saving you even more time. Yay!