Happy Traffic – a social media guide for time-poor people.
TLDR: schedule posts to make social media more fun. This does get somewhat geeky, but everything used here is a simple app.
Social media is free! “Yay,” we all cried back in 2007. We have this new tool, let’s go build a whole new world of customers. And we did.
We skip forward ten years and we have players that have come and gone and platforms that are swallowing up other platforms.
And we have to pay to reach all our hard-fought-for fans. 😭
While it was easy back in 2007/8, there’s nothing that easy about social media today.
With this new reality, how do we deal with it?
Before I dig in, let me just say, this is a sort of “level 1” of a social media plan. I read tonnes of stuff online every day and I get well excited about the fact that I can sell stuff across global markets etc. But in all honesty, half the stuff I read out there is either too complex that you’d need to be a data scientist to understand. Or, it’s too time-consuming for a business owner, in that you’d need a team of social media experts, and data scientists, to help you with it.
That’s why this is called the “level 1” version because it’s the very beginner level of creating a social media presence. A solid foundation on which to build. And it’s something you can do as a small business owner or solo startup founder.
I had the image below designed as a guide for our internal purposes. Keep reading below the image to understand this, but feel free to download it if you like.
I love social media from a business service point of view, it’s easy to try things and see how things go, and you can have real-time interaction with your customers.
HOWEVER, I am rubbish at posting on social media! I have a million things to do as a business owner and these million things seriously get in the way of my social game.
I really want to be good at it, but I rarely have the time on a day-to-day basis.
Below is how I got around that lack of time issue.
We (because it isn’t just me) created our content in a big block of time rather than on a daily basis. We photographed a few dozen images in one day, really simple things like a sticker on a laptop, a sticker in a hand, a sticker on a desk etc. Then spent the rest of day writing simple posts for these images.
That meant that I, or a team member, just scheduled a day into the calendar once a month to do this. Which is way easier than posting ‘live’ daily.
We then used scheduling software to post the images once a day.
This means that rain or shine, something is going out on our social media.
Now you could be cynical and think ‘well that’s not social’ if you’re just posting something you made four weeks ago. And you might have a point, however, unless you have a full-time job doing social media, I’d wager you, something is better than nothing!
The way I see it is that if it was left to me, which it was for many years, it would rarely get done. However, if I schedule a heap of posts, it is going out every day, with or without me!
The fun bit is I then do the personal interaction “live” if people comment on the post. This feels great, you get enquiries or just general banter with your customers and followers.
Also, I can just drop in a post at any point, if I want to post there and then. Two posts are better than one, and one is better than none.
Make it easy for yourself.
If there are barriers in your way to doing your social media, break it down and make it easy. Booking a day a month to create content, and scheduling your posts does this, but you should also take the time to set everything up once. This can then run easily without you having to post on several different platforms… and that just happens to be what’s next.
As you’ll see from the diagram we have lots of arrows, but before I explain them, you see we only really have two content types. Written posts, like this, and image posts.
In reality, a written post has images, and an image post has written elements. But these are our main labels.
We post out images firstly to Instagram, then they go to other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
Or if we’re posting written content we put that on our blog, then post that to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
The scheduling software, mentioned above, differs depending on the type of content we’re posting. So if it’s an image, we’ll use Grum to post it on Instagram. If it’s written content we’ll use Buffer.
We then use a couple of simple tools to link these processes together. Which means I only have to set up my content in one place and it will post to other platforms. Again another time-saving tool when you’re a busy entrepreneur.
IFTTT.com and Zapier are tools that help platforms and apps communicate that maybe wouldn’t ordinarily. No need to panic at this point, these are really quite easy to setup and require no coding. You go to their websites, find the Applets/Zaps that connect your two platforms, like Instagram to LinkedIn, and put in your details.
So once you have these linked up you can just go back to your two schedulers and put in a month’s worth of posts. Then on every social media channel you have, you are broadcasting content daily.
Some people say you have to pick the times you post, some people say you need to pick the number of times you post. Some say you have to pick the type of content you post on a particular platform and some say you have to post directly to the platforms without scheduling.
However, what I am saying is “just get posting”. In any form, anywhere, at any time. If you get to Level 1 people will start to be interested, then you can always move to Level 2 and beyond by fine-tuning your game.
Be social. Maybe not sales-y.
Finally, this is a tiny note on the type of content you post. I struggle with this one, as social media with no call to action can seem like a task that requires time and effort with no return. However, if you go in too pushy on the sales, it becomes antisocial…not in the truest sense of the word, but people just don’t want to see adverts all day long in their feed, so they will just dump you and you lose the opportunity to speak to your audience.
Give people content that will make them smile or interest them, and they will stick around. And maybe they will stick around long enough to want to buy something from you.
Aim to turn followers into friends, as people are not just prospects.
They are people with hopes and dreams, families and friends, people who like the sea or the countryside. The cold weather or the warm sun. They are not just an open wallet or a credit card. True, one day they might need to buy what you’re selling, but make sure you’re front and centre of their minds when that day comes because of the great social presence you have.
I hate this bit as it sounds like bragging but, just so you know, we’re actually walking the walk: last year we shipped our products to America, Australia, Norway, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, France, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Northern Ireland & England! All of which came through social media.