If you’ve been working in social media marketing for a while, I doubt this is the first “saving time on social media” blog post you’ve read. You’re pre-scheduling your tweets and posts, you’ve narrowed down your platform count to only the most engaging networks, and things appear to be going well.
But are they? Ask yourself the following questions. If you answer “no” to any of them, you may want to re-think your time-saving efforts.
- Are you actually reading the links to blog posts and articles you’re tweeting/pinning/posting, and not just pushing them across your social media channels for the sake of having content?
- If I were to glance over your social media pages, would it look as if you’re staying abreast of industry news (and not constantly a few days behind, due to pre-scheduling)?
- If you thought about your content right now, would you be able to give me a general idea of what topics your posts have covered over the past three days?
The long-touted goal of social media is to allow your organization to become more engaged with its public. However, if you answered “no” to the questions above, it seems as if your organization is very much unengaged.
Pre-scheduling has its benefits, but the practice has recently come under fire for causing organizations to look robotic on social media. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been guilty of this before. It’s easy, and it’s comforting to not have to worry about social media for a few days. However, it’s also kind of lazy. There is very little real engagement when an organization is simply promoting content for the sake of promoting content.
So then how is a social media marketer supposed to stay on top of things?
The online world endlessly updates itself, and social media is rarely the sole duty of any marketer. The benefit of pre-scheduling is that it removes the need to worry about social media for a few days so focus can be applied to other tasks.
And yet almost any marketer constantly checks his or her email. It’s not completely unrealistic to tack on a social media check, right after going through your inbox. It only has to take the same length of time (about 10 minutes), and it only needs to be done a few times a day.
Real-time social media equates to real-time engagement.
But what about analytics? What about those specific times of day in which it’s best to post? Easy: you can still restrict your posting to those times. Pre-scheduling by itself isn’t wrong. If you find good content, it’s perfectly fine to pre-schedule that content mere hours into the future. It’s only when you pre-schedule a week of tweets and posts that you eliminate engagement. The bottom line here is that you should be commenting on industry news on the same day it happened, and not half a week later. The only way to do this is to be tweeting and posting as you go throughout your day.
If you’ve been in the habit of pre-scheduling, this new method can sound exhausting. But think about this: It’s not as if you’re disconnected. You should already be reading industry news. You should already have set up Google Alerts for your organization’s buzzwords. If you’re doing a good job connecting with customers, you should already be managing some form of online interaction. All that you need to do is manage this content a few times each day, for no more than 10 minutes at a time.
Should you give up Hootsuite?
No! Aside from the pre-scheduling I just mentioned, Hootsuite should still be your favorite social media program because it conveniently bundles all your platforms into one location.
Experian Marketing Services recently reported that approximately 27 percent of time spent online is spent on social media. How much of that 27 percent do you spend on your personal social media account(s)? If you’re like me, you get much of your industry news from Twitter. The benefit of a program like Hootsuite means I can read about the news from my personal Twitter feed and instantly tweet about it from one of my account’s feeds. There’s no annoying process of logging out of Twitter and back in with a different username.
This process only takes five minutes, and at the end of those five minutes, I’ve caught up on industry news and demonstrated thought leadership for one of my clients. It’s the perfect demonstration of the real-time engagement so necessary for businesses today.
I challenge you do try this process out. You may just find that your organization’s reputation for thought-leadership greatly increases.
About the author: Joseph Havey is an account manager for the Triangle-based Shelten Media, LLC, a start-up company specializing in social media marketing. He attends N.C. State, studying Communication with a focus in PR, and is also a member of N.C. State’s PRSSA chapter. He also writes for their newspaper, Technician. In his free time, he trains for triathlons.