Running your own social media marketing agency is tough, especially if you're a new startup. You need to balance your time so you can serve existing clients and pitch to new ones.
How do you prioritize your time, and, if you’re managing a team, make sure they’re working as effectively as possible?
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.
#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 organize - 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.”
Set times for monitoring and engagement
It’s important to distinguish when you’re engaging with customers on social media 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.”
Have set days for when you schedule and for how long
Another example is to block time for creating and scheduling 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.
(More on batching tasks later…)
Social Media Strategist Carly Stringer advises:
“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.”
“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 months 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.”
Check out Olive & Milo’s success story on our website.
#2 Focus on the best platforms for your client’s business
Do more with less - it’s pointless to post on the platform that doesn’t suit the 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.”
If you’re unsure what platforms are best for your client, try running an audit with this social media checklist.
#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 audience.
Use a social media editorial calendar to plan your content in advance. It'll help you and your team plan, create, execute, and review each client's content in an orderly fashion.
It’s how social media strategist Ayesha Ambreen saves time in the long run:
“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.”
Planning 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.
Pro Tip: Be sure to download our Social Media Holiday Calendar that includes 190+ events with trending #hashtags to increase your reach on social media.
“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.”
Whereas Carly Stringer plans further in advance for some of her clients:
“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.”
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 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.”
“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!”
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.”
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.
Jason Culleton says:
“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.”
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, plus video and audio files in one place in clearly labeled folders.
#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
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.”
Minimize 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.
“Each person has one attention span and if you have two tasks to complete, here is the math. When 1 (attention span) is divided by 2 (tasks), it equals 1/2 (your attention on each task).”
It’s a view echoed by Cathy Wassell:
“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.”
Prioritize important tasks
Having decided to focus on one thing, it’s important to tackle the important tasks first.
Cathy also explains:
“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.”
Here are three examples of batching social media tasks.
Visual content creation
If you want your client’s brand to stand out on social media, then you need to include images, animated GIFs, or videos in your content. 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!”
“Our biggest time-saving tip has been switching to Canva for easy and fast graphic design.”
Research news topics for your content plan
Allocate time to research relevant industry news topics and add them to your content schedule.
For Erin Rosario, the Owner and Marketing Director of Rose and Gold (digital marketing agency) "setting aside the proper time to research" is one of the best social media management tips she can give.
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.
Create posts for marketing campaigns (e.g. seasonal, new product launch)
Creating content for a marketing campaign in one batch is a huge time-saver as Diana Berryman recommends:
“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.”
#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.
As Diana Berryman explains:
“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.”
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.”
Consider these time-saving techniques:
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.
This is the preferred method of Joel Blesson, the Marketing Director at WebSamba MC. Joel says that he favors monitoring keywords because they help him to quickly find and select the most “attention-grabbing news” to post to his selected audience.
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.
Fi Shailes also recommends using mobile phone apps to monitor client accounts:
“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.”
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.
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.
John Espirian says:
“I create my own image template so that all of my images have the same dimensions and the same look and feel.”
Joseph Quadara, the social media manager of The Von Agency, prefers to “check for relevant hashtags before posting” for his clients. This enables him to survey the content landscape and ensure that his posts will achieve the best exposure.
Create templates for Quotes, Proposals, Terms and Conditions, Invoices, etc.
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.
As Diana Berryman advises:
“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, manage your product or service which is YOUR field of expertise.”
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 game 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.