Running your own social media marketing agency is challenging, especially if you're a new startup. You need to balance your time to serve existing clients and pitch to new ones.
How do you prioritise your time and make sure everyone is working as effectively as possible if you're managing a team?
Who better to answer the question than your peers who've been there and felt your pain.
So we asked social media experts and agency owners to share their best time-saving social media management tips to help you on your way.
Here's what they had to say:
- Create a routine that works for you
- Focus on the best platforms for your client's business
- Plan your content in advance
- Batch your tasks
- Automate tasks
- Outsource some of your tasks
- Invest a little time every month to experiment and do more
1. Create a routine that works for you
One thing we can all agree on is that we’re all different.
That’s why it’s important for you to experiment and find a routine that works for you. Just because a guru says to check email once a day at 5pm doesn’t mean you have to follow the advice.
Social media managers have many tasks to organise - some client-facing, others behind the scenes. Having a daily routine where you block time for specific activities keeps you on track.
“Building a daily routine with the use of apps and tools is the only way to go about a busy day when there are multiple tasks to tackle. For example, use Todoist to keep track of the list of things to do, and Break Time (or any Pomodoro app) to handle each working hour.”- Nikoletta Triantafyllopoulou, Social Media Manager and Communications Manager
“I suggest having a set routine when organising your day, it makes everything so much easier! I prefer managing all social channels in the morning, replying to comments, messages, and engaging with the community which leaves me with the rest of the day to focus on other marketing tasks.” - Tricia Osazuwa, Social Media Marketing Intern at Sendible
Set times for monitoring and engagement
It’s important to distinguish when you’re doing community management on social media platforms and communicating with clients by phone or email.
Having a set time for each activity helps you get in the zone so you address people correctly.
“Don’t waste time or confuse your customers or clients by speaking in the wrong persona. Get your business head-on before you tackle your business emails and social media engagement, and keep on-brand in your replies.” - Cathy Wassell, Founder of the Socially Contented digital marketing agency
Have set days for when you schedule and for how long
Another example is to block time for creating and scheduling social media content. Within that block of time, you can also batch tasks.
For example, you might block time each Friday afternoon to schedule content, and within that time you batch your Instagram posts, and then batch your Facebook group posts, and so on.
“I recommend sitting down weekly to create and schedule content in bulk, so you’re free during the week to post real-time, time-sensitive content and engage with your audiences.” - Carly Stringer, Marketing Manager
“I have a pretty streamlined process when it comes to creating content for my clients. About two weeks before the next month starts I do a month's worth of content for all my clients in bulk. It’s a crazy week for me and my team but the process works well and allows us to spend the rest of the month engaging and optimizing once the creation and publishing is out of the way.” - Sophia Rabe, Social Media Strategist, Founder and CEO of Olive and Milo
Olive & Milo significantly increased productivity, while saving time and money. How? They use the Bulk Uploading feature to upload their monthly content calendar to Sendible in one go, as well as the Smart Posts feature which allows them to tailor the same message to different social platforms without having to recreate the same post individually.
2. Focus on the best platforms for your client’s business
Do more with less. Effective social media management depends on finding the best social media channels to promote your or your client's business.
“Twitter and LinkedIn are the two best platforms for recruiters to get Clients and Candidates, but depending on the industry you are in, then Facebook can be good for Candidates too.” - Jason Culleton, Candidate Marketing Manager
If you’re unsure what platforms are best for your client, use social media checklist to determine the right social media channel.
3. Plan your content in advance
Without a doubt, the most popular time-saving tip from our social media experts is to plan your content in advance.
The main advantage is that it frees up more of your time to spend building and engaging your client’s target audience.
Use a social media content calendar to plan your content in advance. It'll help you and your team organise the workflow for each client's social post:
“I have found that knowing your audience is the key to building successful and effective social media campaigns. To save time, I use a content calendar for each client. Once you know what works and what doesn’t, it’s easier to plan content ahead of time, allowing you to focus on the things that need immediate attention.” - Ayesha Ambreen, Digital Media Strategist
Planning social media content also makes you more efficient and effective:
Planning ahead rather than dashing around at the last minute means you’re working efficiently.
Publishing the right content at the right time increases your chances of success, so you become more effective.
“With all of our clients, we schedule content a week in advance. Each client gets a content calendar outline at the beginning of our working arrangement. This outline includes relatively simple things such as ‘On Mondays, we post a quote from the podcast’ or ‘On Thursdays, we start a conversation with a question. Having our content outlined and knowing that we schedule a week at a time gives our team the space to be creative within those parameters. Scheduling content goes by faster because the team knows exactly what to post and when. And this leaves us more time to focus on the audience building strategies our clients love.” - Andrea Jones, Social Media Strategist
“My time-saving tip is allocating time each week to plan. Trello is fantastic for this as it allows you to map out key business dates, awareness days and content for the weeks, months and even year ahead. Sitting down weekly to update the Trello plan and create and schedule content in bulk means that you aren't scrabbling around trying to get hold of, or create content at the last minute. It also leaves you free to post real-time, time-sensitive content and engage with your audiences.” - Carly Stringer, Marketing Manager
There are a few social media management tactics that can help you find and plan your content in advance:
- Repurpose/Recycle content
- Reuse evergreen content
- Curate content
- Keep track of your client's assets in a library
Repurposing your content – aka recycling your existing content – gives you the chance to turn one piece of content into many different formats.
As a result, you have the opportunity to reach a new target audience.
“Create a larger piece of content such as a video and turn this into smaller pieces of content for your other platforms. A video of a 1-hour seminar could become a podcast, a YouTube video, and multiple posts for other social media platforms. This allows you to create hundreds of small pieces of content from one event.” - James Anstee, Digital Marketing Consultant
“Don't be afraid to repurpose old and recent posts – if you can see they've performed well in the past, try tweaking them and reposting them. Particularly on Twitter, where things move extremely fast, and content posted just once before might have fallen through the newsfeed cracks!” - Fi Shailes, Social Strategist
Reuse evergreen content
Evergreen content is content that never ages and remains relevant. If you store some evergreen content in your client’s library, you can save time from always having to source and create new material.
“Create a queue of evergreen content so you can share it and re-share it to get more views and drive more traffic to the place you sell your product or service. You won't often actually sell on social media, so you need to push people in the right direction and content is the best way to do that.” - Diana Berryman, Social Media Specialist
Content curation is the process of finding content to share on your client’s social media accounts. You can curate content from influencers, users, and online communities so you get the right mix in your content plan.
“Connect with other industry professionals and don't be afraid to communicate with them. Social media isn't all about me, me, me. If you produce content for your company, then try and get guest quotes from other industry professionals. This way you will expand your audience. Run Polls on Twitter. Put surveys together using Survey Monkey. Look at what your target audience is talking about or are having problems/difficulties with and produce content around that.” - Jason Culleton, Candidate Marketing Manager
Keep track of your client's assets in a library
Storing each of your client’s content assets in one location saves you time when you’re creating content. For example, you could use Google Drive to store all your frequently used docs, images, video, and audio files in one place in clearly labelled folders.
Alternatevily, you could use a feature like Sendible's Queues that is ideal for saving and sharing content, especially evergreen, cornerstone pieces that add value and ease the pain points of your target persona.
4. Batch your tasks
Batching your tasks means doing the same type of task in one block of time. For instance, you might spend two hours creating social media graphics or 30 minutes answering emails.
Batching your tasks saves you time because you’re focused on one thing with all the right tools in front of you, much like a production line in a factory. Here’s how to make it work:
- Focus on one thing
- Minimise your distractions
- Forget multitasking
- Prioritise important tasks
Focus on one thing
Best-selling author Gary Keller emphasized why it’s so important to focus on one thing at a time and illustrated what happens when you get interrupted:
When you lose your focus, it can take you twice as long to get back into the groove. So make sure you eliminate distractions.
“As an agency making posts for a number of clients, we rely heavily on Sendible’s ‘Compose in Bulk’ feature. It allows us to easily upload posts from a CSV file, and generate an easy-to-read HTML link for our clients to review.” - Roberta (Gonzalez) Oyakawa, Principal at DermPro
Minimise your distractions
Getting distracted or interrupted while working on a task can be costly. Research shows that it takes as much time to get back to the task you were supposed to be working on.
If anyone tells you multitasking is the best way to get more tasks completed, then politely ask them to go away.
When you try to do more than one thing at a time, you have the potential to fail miserably.
“According to a Business Insider survey, only 2% of the population can multitask successfully. The rest of us end up confused and cluttered. Instead, write daily short to do lists, which can be covered productively and take breaks in between.” - Cathy Wassel, Digital Marketing Consultant
Prioritise important tasks
Having decided to focus on one thing, it’s important to tackle the important tasks first.
“We work much better if we take quick decisions and act on them. How many times have you been meaning to do something, put it off and then felt too tired or unmotivated to do it? This is what psychologist Roy F. Baumeister calls ‘Decision Fatigue’. When you have spent all day making little decisions you don’t have the willpower to make the big ones. Do the important stuff first.” - Cathy Wassel, Digital Marketing Consultant
Here are three examples of batching social media tasks:
- Visual content creation
- Research news topics for your content plan
- Create posts for social media marketing campaigns (e.g. seasonal, new product launch)
1. Visual content creation
If you want your client’s brand to stand out on social media, then you need to include various rich media formats.
You can dedicate a session, maybe a morning or afternoon, to focus on creating and tailoring your visual content to each platform.
Most social media graphics tools include templates so you only have to adjust a few elements each time you create new content.
“Canva helps me create images fast – and I need great images for every post. I upgraded to their premium plan to create multiple size images (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) with the click of a button. I LOVE IT!” - Lisa Sicard, Social Media Management and Social Media Time Saver
“Our biggest time-saving tip has been switching to Canva for easy and fast graphic design.” - Erica Terranova, Growth Marketing Lead
2. Research news topics for your content plan
Allocate time to research relevant industry news topics and add them to your content schedule.
“Setting aside the proper time to research is one of the best social media management tips I can give.” - Erin Rosario, Owner and Marketing Director of Rose and Gold
Keeping abreast of industry changes better informs you as a social media manager. It prepares you to be more adaptive and reactive when faced with stories that affect your clients business. Plus, there are some fantastic digital marketing blogs out there that you can use as news sources.
3. Create posts for social media marketing campaigns (e.g. seasonal, new product launch)
Creating quality content for social campaigns in one batch is a huge time-saver.
“Create a tonne of content – long-form, short-form, FAQs, podcasts, videos, live streams, social media posts, etc. in advance. With that content, create a CSV file with the title and link so you can upload your content in bulk to save time. If you have the opportunity to do this in advance of your campaign launch/start date, then do that.” - Diana Berryman, Social Media Specialist
5. Automate tasks
Aside from outsourcing tasks, you can embrace automation for repetitive tasks that don’t require human interaction.
For example, you could schedule your social media posts in advance to be published at your desired date/time and then join in the conversation that follows.
“There's no way the average human can manage to post on social media every day without automating and scheduling posts. Organize yourself to spend a couple of hours each week preparing, planning and uploading your posts to be sent out at the times of your choice, giving you the freedom to get on with your daily tasks.” - Diana Berryman, Social Media Specialist
There are certain things you do on a regular basis, perhaps several times a day, depending on your client workload. Therefore it makes sense to have some systems in place to automate the repetitive tasks.
“One tool that saved me time in 2018 was IFTTT. I use it to thank new followers on Twitter. I'm looking for more IFTTT recipes to save me more time in the future.” - Lisa Sicard, Social Media Management and Social Media Time Saver
Consider these time-saving techniques:
- Set up smart keyword monitoring
- Consolidate reporting for clients
- Identify recurring events for clients
- Use templates
- Use keyboard shortcuts
1. Set up smart keyword monitoring
It would be near-on impossible to monitor social media for each of your clients without using some social media monitoring software to automate the process.
Using the right tools and keywords, you can track all the relevant brand mentions in one place. Then, as part of your daily routine, you can review what comments have been captured and respond accordingly.
2. Consolidate reporting for clients
Gathering metrics and insights from the native social media networks and Google Analytics for each of your clients take time.
That’s why most agencies prefer to consolidate and streamline their client’s reporting requirements in one tool. You can tailor the reports to each client and generate automatic reports on a weekly or monthly basis.
“Find apps for your phone which help you maintain your accounts. For example, instead of manually trying to work out who has unfollowed you or engaged most with posts, find an app to help you do this guesswork in seconds.” - Fi Shailes, Social Strategist
3. Identify recurring events for clients
Any recurring event is ripe for automation. For example, you can
Set up recurring invoices in your invoicing/accounting software for those clients you bill the same amount each month.
Set up recurring client meetings in your calendar.
4. Use templates
You can use templates to save time with social media and business admin tasks. For example:
Save a set of graphics templates in Canva or Adobe for each social network.
“I create my own image template so that all of my images have the same dimensions and the same look and feel.” - Josh Espirian, LinkedIn consultant & Espresso+ community leader
“I prefer to check for relevant hashtags before posting for my clients. This enables me to survey the content landscape and ensure that my posts will achieve the best exposure.” - Joseph Quadara, Digital Marketing Manager
5. Use keyboard shortcuts
Access emojis for your client’s social media posts quickly by either using Google Chrome and right-clicking on any website page OR opening the emoji picker on a Mac with the shortcut “Cmd-Ctrl-Space”.
6. Outsource some of your tasks
When you’re running an agency, it’s impossible to do everything yourself.
- You might not have the skills
- You might not have enough time
For example, if graphic design isn’t your thing, then hire a freelance graphic designer to create some stunning visuals and spend your saved time on something more profitable.
“Outsource any work you can. To save you time, energy and stress you should bring in some experts to create or manage your social posts and content which frees you up to create, sell, and manage your product or service which is YOUR field of expertise.” - Diana Berryman, Social Media Specialist
When you do the math, it can often work out more cost-effective than you first thought.
7. Invest a little time every month to experiment and do more
With all the time you will save, you could take your social media marketing strategy up a notch. You could try some social media experiments or some of these activities:
- Improve engagement on Instagram using any of the new features
- Kickstart a user-generated content campaign for your client
- Up your outreach and networking game for you or your client with Twitter lists
- Increase your client’s reach on LinkedIn by using hashtags
Ultimately, every social media manager works differently and it’s important to find your own unique groove.
Thanks to our experts for sharing their time-saving social media management tips.
Tell us which ones you’re using.