Don’t Waste Your Time: 6 Ways to Be More Efficient on Social Media

social media

Most marketing strategies begin with a few things: content, products… and social media.

While using social media isn’t required to grow a business, it can certainly help in most cases. An overwhelming 92% of marketers in 2014 reported that they place high value on social media.

In the modern marketing landscape, social media allows you to reach almost anyone, no matter what niche your business is in.

But just because marketers recognize the importance of social media doesn’t mean they know how to use it effectively.

Download this cheat sheet of 6 ways to be more efficient on social media.

Many spend several hours a week on it to get just a little return on investment (ROI). 

Statista sent out a survey to find out how much time per week marketers spend on social media:

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As you can see, more and more marketers are spending large amounts of time on social media (16+ hours per week) each year.

It’s not just marketers either—CEOs do it as well. Another survey found that 43% of CEOs spend more than 6 hours per week on social media.

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CEOs and marketers wouldn’t spend this much time on social media, week after week, year after year, unless it produced results.

And it does.

But… don’t you think that a CEO might have better things to do than send out Tweets and “like” posts on Facebook? I do.

I can’t justify spending more than 6 hours a week on social media—the ROI just isn’t good enough.

And yet, I still utilize social media to drive traffic to my blog posts and guest posts. I just don’t spend more time than necessary.

In this post, I’m going to share with you 6 different ways you can save time on social media so that you can focus on more important parts of your business.

Here we go…

1. Batching always wins

The best marketers, SEOs, entrepreneurs, and writers that I know all work in batches.

Batching is a “productivity hack” that has been used for many years by businesses to improve efficiency in a variety of ways.

The premise is simple:

Instead of doing a task at frequent regular or sporadic intervals, do it all at once over a longer period of time (e.g., a week or a month). The longer the time period, the more of a boost in productivity you’ll get.

It helps because of these 3 main reasons:

  1. It reduces transition time – Whenever you begin a task, it takes you a few seconds or minutes to figure out where you stand, what you need to do, and how you’ll start. When batching, you only focus on doing one task, so you eliminate all subsequent transition time wastage.
  2. It simplifies things – Switching among many tasks throughout the day is exhausting. When you know you only have a few main tasks to do in a day (in larger batches, of course), it’s less intimidating.
  3. You can work faster – Switching among many tasks means you have to change your focus multiple times. Every time you switch your focus, you lose any momentum you’ve built up. You can never get “in the zone.”

The one final benefit of batching is that it makes it more difficult to miss things. Batching allows you to schedule ahead so that you won’t forget to do something important. In this case, it’s a social media or blog post.

There are a few ways that you can use batching to save time when it comes to social media.

Way #1 – Come up with post ideas all at once: I recommend coming up with as many social media post ideas as you can (same goes for blog post ideas as well).

Your goal is to build a massive reservoir of social media post ideas that you can draw from as necessary.

How do you come up with ideas?

Well, it will depend on which social networks you want to focus your time on (more on that shortly).

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Your blog posts are an obvious source of content—that’s how you’re going to drive traffic back to your blog.

Besides your own material, you want to share other things that your readers would be interested in.

Here are some detailed guides on how to come up with post ideas:

Way #2 – Schedule posts on a regular basis: One of the biggest ways that marketers waste time on social media is logging into each network and posting an update one at a time.

You can save a ton of time by designating one time at the start of the week or month to schedule all your posts. Of course, if something special comes up, you can make small adjustments throughout the week or month.

You should plan to share each blog post you publish at least once:

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When you’re scheduling shares for the upcoming week or month, prepare and incorporate posts for any new blog post you will be publishing.

I really like CoSchedule’s basic sharing template for blog posts:

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Way #3 – Only work on social media at specified times: Another trap that marketers often fall into is constantly checking their social media accounts for updates. You can waste a ton of time doing this and produce very little in the way of tangible results.

Social media is a lot like email. It’s tempting to check it often to see if you got anything new. But you need to approach it in a disciplined way.

Dedicate one or two periods of the day, 10-15 minutes each, to checking and replying to important posts and messages on social media. You’d be surprised to see what you can accomplish when you put strict limits in place.

Some of you might counter by saying that 42% of people expect a response on social media within 60 minutes of them contacting customer support.

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If you’re at the point where you’re constantly getting support requests on social media, you should be able to hire someone to take care of it for you. Don’t waste your valuable time on a simple activity that could be done by almost anyone. Have them alert you if there is something you need to respond to personally.

2. Understand what you’re trying to accomplish

Social media is a time killer for the general population, but when you’re using it for business, it shouldn’t be.

When you log into Twitter, Facebook, or whichever network(s) you use, you shouldn’t be scrolling through a feed of updates just to see what’s new. Your social media activity should be for one purpose.

What is the purpose of your social media presence?

Are you trying to gain followers? While it depends on the specific network, the general rule for gaining followers on social media is to follow people first (a portion will follow back) and post interesting content so that they don’t unfollow you later.

This is typically the main goal of any company that has brand new social media accounts.

While it sounds a bit cynical, you can accomplish this goal without paying any attention to your “feed” or followers for now.

Furthermore, if you batch your post ideas once per week or month and use tools to help you follow people quickly, you can accomplish your task in under 10 minutes a day.

Here are the guides I’ve shared before that will help you get more followers on different networks, starting with Facebook:

Get more followers on LinkedIn:

Get more followers on Pinterest:

Get more followers on Google+:

Get more followers on Instagram:

Are you trying to drive traffic and leads? Probably the most common reason to use social media for a business is to drive traffic to your website in hopes of converting that traffic into leads.

This is a perfectly acceptable goal.

Getting followers is a prerequisite to this. Once you have a few thousand, you can start driving decent traffic back to your website.

You will drive most of your traffic by posting occasional links to your blog posts (or other content).

Again, you can do this in 10 minutes or less per day.

In addition, you can also respond to individual posts by other users or share content within groups to drive more traffic.

Sharing content within groups can drive a good amount of traffic, but it can’t be scheduled. The upside is it can be done whenever you want, so just include it in the one or two periods per day dedicated to social media.

Commenting on individual posts to drive traffic is a whole different strategy. While it can produce some results, it’s largely a waste of time.

The tactic is basically this: search for keywords and questions in your niche, and then post an answer with a link to your site.

For example, if I wanted to promote my article on the 22 best Gmail plugins, I would search for “what is the best Gmail plugin” on different social networks:

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I could then post a reply with a link to my article (and an answer).

While this seems like a good idea at first, the reality is that you’ll spend 5 minutes just to find 1-3 good (relevant) questions to answer. Each answer will only drive a visitor or two.

This might be okay when you’re just starting a website, but it’s a waste of time for most because of its poor ROI.

Are you trying to build relationships? Another very useful feature of social media is the ability to communicate with almost anyone.

Until social media became popular, it was hard to get in touch with influencers.

Now, you can send them public messages, share their content, and interact with them through social media.

Interaction can be good if it is done with a purpose. The problem is that most marketers just follow a bunch of influencers and randomly interact with them.

Your strategy should be much more defined.

Pick a small group of influencers with whom you would like to build a relationship. Create, as Brian Dean calls it, a “hit list” of influencers.

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Then, purposely seek out their updates during your scheduled social media time and interact with them.

3. Narrow your focus and save time

Marketers and entrepreneurs see opportunity everywhere.

If you see the potential in everything, that’s a great trait to have.

The problem that most of these people face (possibly you) is that they bite off more than they can chew.

They try to tackle every problem and take advantage of every opportunity but soon find they are burnt out and making no real progress.

If you spread yourself too thin, you can’t fully take advantage of any single opportunity.

When it comes to something like social media, consistency is everything. If you’re trying to be active on 5 or 6 different networks, you won’t be effective on any.

Start with one network, maybe two, and then add another after a few months if all is well.

You’ll notice that on all my blogs, I focus on no more than three social networks:

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If you’ve been following my nutrition case study site, I (and Mike) am only focusing on one single network—Facebook.

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If you’ve been following along, you know that almost all our initial traffic came from Facebook. Clearly, social media can drive massive traffic if you apply the right strategy to leverage it.

So, how do you pick the right network(s) to focus on?

You can use a few different methods to figure that out.

Option 1 – Spy on your competition: In 99.9% of niches, you’ll have some sort of competition already established.

Pick one (or a few) of your competitors, and plug their domain into Buzzsumo’s top content tool:

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Even with a free account, this will bring up five or so results of the most shared content on your competitor’s site.

It should be sorted by “total shares” by default (see the down arrow under the heading), but click that heading if it isn’t.

Now, look at the top results, and see which networks are responsible for most of the shares.

In the above case, over 90% of the shares came from Facebook. When a network is that dominant, you can focus on that single network.

As a general rule, if a network is contributing 25%+ of the shares, it’s probably worth focusing on.

Since there can be anomalies when you’re only looking at one site, you can enter other competitors to double-check.

Alternatively, type a relevant keyword into the tool. In this case, I typed in “healthy eating”:

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As expected, I saw the same results. Facebook shares dwarfed other networks for all top results.

Option 2 – Pick a channel based on demographics: Another method to determine which social network you should utilize is to look at the demographics of your audience such as:

  • age
  • gender
  • income
  • education
  • location

Here’s a guide to finding the demographics of your audience.

Since we know what the demographics of each social channel are, you can find a network that matches your audience:

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Obviously, you can always play it safe by sticking with Facebook, but if you have a business that’s focused on highly educated high income individuals, you might want to consider LinkedIn as a better choice.

Option 3 – Pick a channel based on content type: Finally, you can pick the right social network to focus on depending on the content you plan to produce.

If you’re an artist or decorator working within a predominantly visual niche, you want to use a platform that is also mostly visual.

Different networks support different content types:

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Depending on your niche, the network that’s best for you might be different from that of your competitors. That’s why, if you’re using method #1, you need to pick a close competitor.

For example, a nutrition site might focus on recipes—highly visual. Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook are all good choices.

Another nutrition site, such as the case study site, might use a combination of text and images. Networks such as Facebook and Google+ are best for it.

Finally, another nutrition site might focus on featuring step-by-step cooking videos. YouTube would be the obvious candidate for that.

4. Create a calendar or face the consequences

Social media is incredibly easy to ignore.

If you miss a few posts here and there, there won’t be any immediate consequence.

But as I said before, consistency is the most important factor when it comes to social media success.

A social media calendar (or schedule) is a necessity if you want to use social media to grow your business.

The calendar will allow you to be consistent, keep on track, and track your results. Tracking your results is needed if you want to determine your progress and ROI.

A social media calendar/schedule can be set up in any way you wish—it’s up to you. But I’ll show you a few different options to help you decide what you want yours to look like.

Option #1 – Use a spreadsheet: Spreadsheets are incredibly versatile, which is why they can work for just about any business.

I’ve seen some incredibly complicated social media calendar spreadsheets

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as well as some simple spreadsheets

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Either one can work well—it depends on how much you utilize social media and how much detail you want to put into it.

With a spreadsheet calendar, you plan everything all at once (batch it!), and then schedule it all at once when you’re done.

Option #2 – Use Buffer: Buffer is an extremely popular social media tool that allows you to schedule posts with minimal effort.

Once you’ve set up an account and are logged in, click on “Schedule.”

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Then, click on the main “content” tab. This will allow you to pick a network (on the left). Then, you can type in your share.

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Once you’re done, you can add it to your queue of posts.

You can view your queue at any time and rearrange or edit posts as you like.

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The great thing about Buffer is that once you set those initial posting times, you never have to worry about inputting or missing a date again.

In addition, Buffer works with all the major networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

Option #3 – Use Hootsuite: Another option is to use Hootsuite, which used to be the leader in social media tools until Buffer came along.

For the purposes of scheduling, you’ll want to use the bulk schedule option inside Hootsuite:

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Once you click the “bulk message uploader,” it will ask you to upload a CSV file (a type of spreadsheet).

You will need to create this spreadsheet beforehand.

The spreadsheet must be done in this order: date, message, link. One for each column.

The first column is the trickiest since the date must be written in one of two formats:

dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm OR

mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm

Your default settings for dates will likely be different from the required ones, so you will need to change them.

If you’re using Google Docs, you need to highlight the first column and then navigate to:

“Format > Number > More Formats > More date and time formats”

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That will bring up a pop-up.

Use the small dropdown arrow (in the picture below) to pick each date element (day, month, etc.) in the correct order:

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You will need to add a single “/” between the day, month, and year, and a single space between the year and the hour. Finally, put a colon between the hour and the minute fields.

When you’re done, click apply, and the changes will be made.

From here, it gets much easier. Enter your message (complete with hashtags) into the next column.

Finally, enter the corresponding links in the last column. It could be a full URL or a shortened one:

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The main downside of this tool is that you can’t add pictures to the posts in the bulk uploader. Posts with pictures on Facebook get 53% more likes than those without. It varies based on the network, but in genearal, images help boost engagement by a significant amount.

Option #4 – Use CoSchedule: A final tool you can use is CoSchedule, which integrates perfectly with WordPress and is simple to use.

Click on the “Calendar” menu option in your admin dashboard once you’ve installed it:

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It shows you a typical calendar, but on top of that, it lets you see when you have social media shares scheduled (which will happen automatically).

You can click on a day to enter a status update and move it to a different day by clicking and dragging if needed:

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5. Monitor mentions with tools

Instead of messing around with each individual network, you can use tools to find when a reader or customer mentions you.

Usually, these are important messages to reply to, so it’s a good idea to monitor them and then address them all in your scheduled sessions for social media.

Option #1 – Search your brand with Mention.com: This tool is similar to Google Alerts but focuses on social media.

Once you create an account, you enter a keyword (such as your brand name), and it will automatically monitor social media sites for any mentions.

You can set it to send you a daily email of the results:

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Option #2 – Have mentions monitored automatically with Hootsuite: One thing that Hootsuite is still well known for is monitoring mentions.

You can add keywords to any individual network, and it will monitor your mentions:

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You can then see a live stream of all your mentions for keywords or your username in your main Hootsuite dashboard:

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Bonus – get email alerts of Reddit mentions: Reddit isn’t always considered a social media site, but more and more marketers are recognizing its potential. If you’re not familiar with Reddit, refer to my guide to marketing on Reddit.

Most social media tools don’t work with Reddit. But there is a way for you to get an email any time someone mentions a keyword on the site (your brand name or a keyword).

This requires the use of a free tool called IFTTT, which stands for “If This, Then That.”

On IFTTT, you get to specify the event that occurs (the “this) as well as the action (the “that). It can be used to automate processes.

In this case, we will have it send you an email (the “that”) whenever a certain word is mentioned (the “this”).

Luckily, you can use this pre-made recipe to set it up quickly.

Once logged into IFTTT, visit that link and click “connect”:

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This will open a small window asking for your permission to use information from your Reddit account. Allow this request:

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Back on the recipe page, type in your trigger word. In my example below, I want to be alerted any time someone mentions “quicksprout.com”. There’s a link right below that text field that will help you search for other things other than site names.

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Finally, click “add” at the very bottom to activate the recipe.

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And you’re done!

6. Templates are the cornerstone of efficiency

A lot of social media work is repetitive.

You’ll start to see that most top posts look the same and that most of your posts fall under only a few categories.

A lot of tedious work can be avoided by using templates.

Automate reports with a social media report template: If you have a boss to report to or regular meetings where you examine social media results, it’s a good idea to create a social media report template.

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This template should summarize your activity on social media as well as the results for a certain time period. If you like the one above, Buffer has generously shared it free.

Use headline formulas to compose posts faster: I’ve written several times on the topic of creating powerful headlines.

While headlines are usually most important for blog posts, you also need to write enticing headlines so that your other social media posts get a good level of engagement.

Instead of trying to come up with magical headlines every time you work on your social media post ideas, you can reuse successful headline templates.

Here are a few examples of what I mean by headline formulas:

  • The secret of _____
  • What you need to know about ______
  • How to do _____
  • ___ ways to do _____

Once you have a good list of formulas, you can easily write 10-20 social media post headlines in a minute.

Here are a few good sources for headline formulas:

Create visual templates in Canva: You need to use images on almost every social network if you want to get a high level of engagement.

But instead of hiring a designer or creating a picture from scratch, you can use templates specifically made for social media already in Canva.

When you log in, you’ll see many different template options. While you can create a picture from scratch (“use custom dimensions”), it’s easier to pick a template for your social network of choice.

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Once you click the type of picture you want to make, a new canvas will be made that’s the right size for your network:

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The layouts window on the left will be selected by default.

Pick any template you want, and it will load on the canvas on the right.

From there, you can click on any of the picture elements (background, text, symbols, etc.) and edit them as you like:

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Once you’re done, click “download” from the top menu bar.

Once you’re used to this, you can create great looking pictures in under 2 minutes. If you batch your image creation (highly recommended), you can finish all your pictures for the month in under a few hours.

Conclusion

A strong social media presence can be a valuable asset for almost any business.

However, just like with any other part of your business, you need to make sure that it delivers a reasonable ROI on your time and resources.

If you’re wasting many hours a week aimlessly wandering in the jungle of social media, you will not be able to achieve a sustainable ROI.

Use the different methods I’ve shown you in this article to streamline your social media activities, and you’ll find that you only need a few hours per week to manage your social media accounts.

On top of that, you’ll probably start seeing better results once you’re crystal clear on your goals and purpose.

Let me know how much time you typically spend on social media—and what kind of results you’ve achieved so far—by leaving me a comment below.

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Comments

  1. Lewis - TweetPilot :

    Buffer has got to be my #1 scheduling and time saving tool for social media. There’s a few accounts I have where the content is evergreen so it’s a case of loading up Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest with 100s of posts and then forgetting about it.

    Of course, I post occasionally with news-worthy stuff and blog posts but knowing these accounts can run on auto is a huge relief.

    • Lewis, it’s a big time saver and many big brands and entities utilize Buffer.

      • Lewis - TweetPilot :

        I remember when Buffer first launched as part of a WordPress plugin and I thought it was useless if I’m honest. How wrong was I!

        PS Thanks so much for following on Twitter!!

  2. Wow,This is really amazing….I was actually searching for a thread to get more followers on social media and how to become active on it.I can’t believe that Quicksprout posted the very same topic.Thanks to this awesome blog.

  3. As I earlier said if you have something different/unique to show your facebook audience then nothing else can beat you.
    It’s important to be on social medias as It can give you a lot of leads within few monthsThanks for the article would like to apply it for my blog http://www.shouterbuzz.com social medias profile.

  4. Christopher Pontine :

    Hey Neil,

    Great post:

    I have had huge success with Canva, a very great piece of ammo when creating picture.

    Thanks,

    Christopher Pontine

    • Christopher, glad you found it helpful. Thanks for sharing!

      • Christopher Pontine :

        Hey Neil,

        Yes Sir!!!

        It turns a basic person into a pretty artsy person.

        Listen Up Everyone:

        Make sure to check it out.

        Thanks,

        Christopher Pontine

  5. Awesome tips Neil! I am a huge fan of batching and have been doing so for years. In fact, I am just about to beta launch a site that makes it simple to do with Buffer (http://bulk.ly).

    If you have evergreen content (like you do), it is a no brainer to use this content for tweets again and again.

    The key is to continually mix in new/fresh content from your site and other related websites that your audience will find useful.

    • Chris, glad you found it helpful. Evergreen content is always great because it provides value for years and years.

  6. Wow, what a great comprehensive post. I write funny top 10 lists and I have found that instead of creating an extra graphic for my post and using that in social media it is better to give a sample of the content.

    Thanks for sharing Neil.

  7. hey Neil,
    Again great tips as usual & no doubt canva is the best platform to do little blogging related graphical work.
    off-topic
    Your yesterday post(9 operators) was amazing.

  8. This post is almost too full. Lots of great stuff here, but most of it applies to those in social media, not necessarily the executives.

    From my perspective most of the time a C-level exec spends on social media could best be spent elsewhere. In fact, most CEOs should be outsourcing their own social media functions and communications. Social media for most CEOs is not the greatest and best use of their time.

    • Nate, great point — it’s all about focusing on what matters and automating everything else.

    • lol. I had to chuckle at your comment about the post being too full of information

      That is what makes Neil the fantastic resource that he is.

      When he shares, he shares ABUNDANTLY.

      He is one of the most knowledgeable, generous people in the digital media space that I have seen and I recommend him to everyone I can. (well, to those I like and want to help succeed 😛 )

  9. Canva works great for me too. I think unique images is the way to go.

    Also on Buffer and CoSchedule currently. The perfect combination

  10. Just in time Neil. I needed some diverse social media skills lately. I really appreciate every detail in this post. I like Facebook and I entirely used in creating a good impression towards my fans. My Facebook fan page is where I engage with my blog readers and offer some short inspiring phrases. This article really helped me, I hope all the best towards my social media journey.

  11. Stephen Fiser :

    Thanks for the writeup. I’ve avoided a lot of social media stuff because I always feel like I’m running around trying to frantically do it all when I try it. This is super helpful.

  12. Rodney Lacambra :

    Great post. Thanks Sir Neil. This is worth testing.

  13. Hey Neil,

    Great post! Just one question-
    Will spending time on forums like quota has a nice ROI for new websites?

    Thanks,
    Mayank

  14. HI Neil,
    You’ve given me some great time-saving ideas. May I contribute one? I just discovered Portent. Also, a type of template that expedites formulating post ideas. Thanks for the article.
    Janice

  15. Peter Nicholls :

    I’m really gonna have to bite the bullet and start using a social calendar. I ‘batch’ via buffer but I recon I can shave some time off if I plan everything out ahead of time in excel. I suppose I could plan it out and delegate the ‘batching’ to someone else…
    Great post – we all need to claw back as much time as we can from these tasks.

  16. Neil,
    Thanks for this awesome post! I just found out about a site that lets you schedule posts to Facebook Groups. I am using it and it is pretty awesome. Check it out at http://SlackSocial.com/?ref=32407 let me know what you think!

  17. Hey Neil great article I wish I had more time to follow-up, very useful info

  18. Hello Neil,

    I think I needed this guide the most. I’m being diverted by social media the most, Neither making much out of It. Thanks for this comprehensive guide. It opened up my eyes. I have habit of using socials in the sporadic intervals. Hence I end up wasting a lot of my time. I feel like the guide is written for me only. Thanks allot for such a great write-up! 🙂

  19. An awesome article.Just a question,how to embed a infographic made at canva on wordpress blog?Had made an infographic having a link at the end.Tried one or two recommended plugins but didn’t succeed.Do share some gyan on this.

    Thanks & Regards

    Ajay

  20. Jackie De Burca :

    The devil is so in the detail, Neil, isn’t it? 🙂 You’ve done it again, another superb packed post. I have one to add to the mix that I have been starting to use recently, which is http://www.tweetdukebox.com

    Sorry if you’ve covered elsewhere already, but for those who don’t know of it yet –
    – It is for Twitter only
    – It is a scheduling and mention tool

    What I love about it is that you can put in your tweets according to Jukebox. So let’s say in your case you may have –

    – Content marketing
    – Social media
    etc

    Each of these can be a separate Jukebox. The big advantage is that unlike many other tools that I have tried, you don’t have to schedule as such, although you can if you wish. You can choose for tweets to go out once a day, or once every 3 days and so on. These tweets are in the system until you decide to stop them.

  21. Shella Gardezi :

    Thanks for the tips. I frequently find myself having to take a break from social media altogether. Batching processing should help the accounts I manage stay on track.

  22. Great post, and I most say, I admire the time you spend on a single blog post.

  23. I might be in the minority but I’ll say it anyway — your posts are so long, I can’t see how anyone has the time to digest what you write every few days. You seem to have very good info but geez, who has the time to read and comprehend all of this? I would think you would get better results with posts 1/10th as long. But, what do I know. I know I am tempted to tune you out, they are so long! Best of luck to you.

    • Bill, I like to provide value and that’s an honest assessment.

    • Sanskruti Mehta :

      Hi Bill,

      I just wanted to say that although Neil’s posts are long, they are incredibly helpful and informative. I have started to take notes on each post that I find interesting, and divided up my notebook into sections – one for notes and one for websites. I hope this helps you!! Thanks again for all this great info Neil!

  24. Neil,

    Never knew about Canva but it’s exactly what I needed at the moment.

    My social media accounts are relatively new but I started first with twitter which I currently use to share content that my niche is interested in. This gets me social shares, mentions and followers. I think after a year my engaged followers will really pick up.

    Also, Pinterest is suppose to be great if you’re targeting women especially. But I haven’t had much success yet, even with promoted pins.

    Thanks,
    Baig

  25. carti de vizita :

    Wow!!! This is one of my favorite article!!! I used HootSuite but now i like Buffer. Thx for sharing the information!

  26. Harshit Bhootra :

    How come you never go out of content ideas !!
    the creativity, simplicity and the arrangement of you posts are incredible!! Some times i even don’t read but just scroll and get inspired by your work man 🙂

  27. Personally, I find many people end up harming their “efficiency” by “saving time”.

    No offence, but you can even see it to a degree here in the comment stream.
    Neil’s so busy, he seldom manages more than a few lines to commenters, regardless of the scope/depth of the comment.

    Now, he’s right, few people can afford to respond to 300+ commenters (social, blogs, guest-posts, forums etc.).
    Then again, few people can afford to fail to respond to 300+ commenters!
    (Esp. those starting out, or that aren’t names.)

    Remember – one of the fundamentals of Social Media is Interaction (engagement).
    Its not a one-way street.
    You aren’t going to the party, telling a joke and leaving.
    You aren’t giving a presentation then ignoring the questions.
    You are there to promote, and to further that promotion through interaction.
    Failing to do so may harm your potential, lessen your influence, reduce your audience etc.

    So you are not only faced with trying to streamline your posting process,
    but you also need to streamline your responding process, without increasing the chances of harming yourself.

    Persons and Profiles of Interest:
    * prominent profiles/people and keep an eye out for them in your comment stream.
    * frequent sharers/linkers in your audience.
    * engaging commenters (those that interact with other commenters).
    * “early-bird” commenters.
    * interesting/useful commenters.
    These are often worth cultivating – and can result in productive “relationships”. They may provide more shares/links, increase your audience/reach/influence, breach into new audience bases, provide content ideas etc.
    A little more investment here can pay off.

    Comments, Questions and Discussions of note:
    * pertinent/relevant questions not covered in your post
    * detailed/in-depth questions your post was insufficient for
    * discussions of worth and quality
    * comments that contribute, expand, point to resources etc.
    These show an investment in someone’s time/effort. It’s only fair to offer a little reward in return. Quite often, you may find that those that provide these sorts of comments are in the previous group, or will be in the future.
    Again, a little investment here can be of use latter.

    The generic and generally useless fluff:
    * “loved-it’s”
    * “me-too’s”
    * “how are you’s”
    * “thank-you’s”
    These are the most common, and take up a fair bit of time – with little given other than ego-fuel.
    They should not be ignored – but can usually be dealt with quickly – esp. if you have a little document filled with template responses (you can generate this by quickly looking at the most common comment types you get, and create generic responses you can just Cut & Paste).

    Being able to rapidly identify and respond appropriately to the various comment/commenter types can speed things up without harming end results – so it’s more than worth developing the process.

    Other things you can do?

    Schedule your interactions.
    The main focus above (mine and Neil’s) was on creating, posting and responding to your own content.
    That’s only part of the process!
    There are other people out there, making their own posts – you should be paying attention to at least some of them.
    1) This is a great way to “reward” some of your commenters.
    2) This is a good way to promote yourself.
    3) This is a good way to prove and expand your influence/knowledge.
    Remember those comment/commenter groupings I did above? Try to make sure you fall within group (1) or (2) (if not 1+”), and never (3). If you’re seen making flakey/redundant posts, it may not go down as well as you might think.
    No, you don’t always have to spend 10 minutes commenting – but try to mix it up a little so it’s not always “hey, great piece”. You at least need to show you read it!
    As well as figuring who to respond to and how, you need to figure when.
    That means you need to know some of your audiences timescales, and some of your peers/betters.

    Template your posts.
    It’s not just Titles – but general structure and images too.
    By finding a pattern (or several) that you are happy with and that your audience responds to, you reduce wasted time/effort.
    Look at some popular posts (your’s and competitors), and see if you can see a certain format or structure pattern. Copy that down and reduce it to keywords/sections.
    Then use that to generate future posts.
    Generate some standard image backgrounds/borders as well, and use these. Not only does it save time faffing with edging/shadows/text – it helps with branding/consistency (which aids in audience identification/can increase their response rate).

    Template your comments/responses.
    You can also partially template your own comments either in response to commenters on your own posts, or as a comment on other peoples posts. You shouldn’t use them all the time, and there should be more than a few [Blanks] to fill in – but it can save you more than a little time/effort.

    Trial, Test and Adapt.
    There are multiple “best time” and “best platform” pieces out there (Neil provided some good ones) – but be warned – they are GENERIC!
    You must test them out!
    You may find that your audience is an hour ahead, or responder later than the “norm”.
    You may find that your competitors are getting in slightly ahead of you.
    You may find that your location, trade, age group etc. influences the various factors too.
    So test it and log it and see if you can find the real sweet spot – rather than missing the boat by 1 1/2 hours, or by being on the wrong platform.
    A similar sentiment for your posts. You may find that a certain structure or title works on Platform1, but not too well on Platform2. So you will need to test it out as you go. Yes, you may need to generate slightly different posts for each platform. Chances are, its minor modifications, but they can create big differences.

  28. Brittany Berger :

    Hey Neil, thanks so much for showing your readers Mention! And actually, we don’t just focus on social media. You monitor keywords, so if you set up your name or handle as part of an alert, you’ll know when someone’s mentioned you anywhere online, not just social. 🙂

    Awesome post in general, as always. I’m a big fan of batching as much of my tasks as possible, but it’s especially helpful on social. I even separate it into scheduling batches and engagement batches, so I can just pull up Buffer (for scheduling) or Mention (for engagement) and focus on the one app.

    – Brittany, Mention Content & PR

  29. Nice post Neil. When we are working for the brand like Automotive, Banks etc where we do not have scope to publish blogs and all, so for such brands what would be our social media approach?

  30. Carson Sharein :

    I really appreciated this post. I almost signed up for Hootsuite so it was great to learn about Buffer. I like the infographics you used and posting schedules too. Someone could start up a social media management business based on this post alone!

  31. Elizabeth @SavvySandwicher :

    i definitely need to create a schedule and start using a scheduler! Thanks for the great details!!!

  32. Alecia Stringer :

    Great tools shared. I use and keep testing all of these. Thanks!

  33. Hi Neil,

    It is a really amazing article on social media. You give the best ways to improve social media promotion. Thanks for sharing this wonderful article with us.

    Cheers!

  34. Hi Neil,
    The post is great, but the tools that you suggest mostly include a monthly or yearly plan. For a start up blog this is too much, as there are several other investments that need doing first on a priority basis. So for such bloggers who are just setting up the process, are there any tools offering similar assistance.

  35. Amazing Post Neil, and I would love to say, I enjoyed the time spend on a single and complete blog post.

  36. It’s always a pleasure reading your articles

  37. venkatesh khajjidoni :

    Hey Neil,

    Great post Neil. I use these strategies to save my on social media. Now, i’m scheduling my posts to social media through Buffer. It’s a great tool.

    Thank you Neil for your informative post.

  38. Theodore Nwangene :

    Yet another brilliant article Neil,
    Social media is one of the most effective means of marketing any type of business but just like every other form of marketing, you must know exactly what you’re looking to get from it before diving into it else, you’ll always be wasting a bunch of time.

    This is why I agree with your point about having a goal. If what you want is followers then, all your efforts should be geared towards that and nothing else, but our problem is that we always want to use a single stone to kill 2 birds and in the process, we usually miss the two birds so, it’s important to always know what you want to get out of your efforts and then, focus on that alone.

    Further more, I hugely agree with the point about narrowing your focus too. If you use the time and efforts you puts into marketing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, etc into that particular social media that is more relevant to your business, I bet you’ll get more awesome outcome than when you’re targeting all of these sites at once so, it’s better to find out which one is good for your niche and then, focus more on it.

    Thanks for sharing Neil.

    • Theodore, always a pleasure reading your comments as they are insightful and full of great gems. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  39. I’ve learnt so much from your posts Neil. Thanks so much. I’ve gone from knowing nothing, to knowing…..something!
    So much further to go though, I’ll keep following along.
    Hootsuite is next on my to-do list, something else to get to grips with. Cheers!

  40. Social media a never ending on going process

  41. Great post! Thanks for sharing. I am definitely utilize the information shared here.
    Regards,
    Neha

  42. I use latergramme and buffer to make my social media super efficient. I have also grown my social followings by offer 4000 the past two weeks by being efficient, providing value and getting users to engage.

  43. Jake at Spy-Tronix :

    Neil…. What an incredible and informative post! It’s absolutely amazing the amount of time and effort that you put into your work. Thank you so much!

    Since starting to read your blog and being on your list – we have cut out about 2/3rds of the other “bloggers” that we used to follow.

    Your site has enough information to where we don’t want to WASTE our time reading 2nd rate blog sites these days!

    In fact, we used some of your techniques and approaches to write this blog post:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=who's+that+serial+killer+living+next+door

    and it has really brought in a lot of traffic for us. You’ll see from the Google Search above that we are #1 – and higher than many news stations or documentaries for other related searches.

    All the best – and thank you again for your time to publish quality information.

    Jake!

  44. Excellent, thorough advice, Neil. To go along with the Pinterest post from my blog that you mentioned (thank you kindly!), I highly, highly recommend using a Pinterest scheduling app. Buffer is a good option, though I personally use Tailwind and have seen outstanding results. It makes life so much easier. 🙂

  45. Wow! Very good! can’t wait to use these social method to improve. thank you! 😉

  46. Very nice post on social media. The information you share with us is very helful for schedule and manage our social media.Thanks again.

  47. Kamal Khanzada :

    Neil,

    You just nailed it once again !

  48. I realized that I am wasting a lot of time on social media.

    Thank you very much for your great post. It is really worth to spend time on reading all your posts here and other sites of yours.

  49. Rajkaran Singh :

    Hi Neil,
    What a great and exhaustive article. I always make improvements following your suggestions. You are truly amazing.
    I love Facebook and share on that. Your tips are going to improve my productivity many times(AND SAVE MY TIME TOO). Thanks for the awesome info.
    Can you please guide me? At present I am active on Facebook only.When should I switch to other social media?

  50. Indeed, Neil your such a blessing for me. Thanks for other helpful tips for us in the seo world. More power!

  51. Hi Neil, it’s a great post as usual…nothing new for your constant readers. It’s partially off-topic, but I am wondering how many words per day are you writing? You write here and on neilpatel only top quality posts…I guess that your average day is 48 hours! Honestly I think!

  52. Another great post Neil! Thank you.

    Ben.

  53. Another helpful and resource-rich article from you — thank you! More great reminders on how I can do more, better.
    Do you have a fan club?
    Are there t-shirts?
    🙂

  54. Hi!
    This is a great article, some of us get a lot of information but when i get understanded rapidly it changes, definitly the seo is a great activity and is clear that we have to be updated everyday to have chances of getting a good rank.

    Thanks for the information, !

  55. I’m just about to start making a conscious effort to implement a social media strategy with my blog. Thanks for the good info. I’m going to research more regarding paid advertising on the likes of Facebook, to give my page a kick start, as most of,y traffic comes from a single forum I frequent regularly, therefore I have next to no followers on social media at the moment.

    Thanks for the useful info.

  56. Hi Neil,

    Another great post. People are now talking about using Edgar instead of Buffer. Have you used Edgar?

    Thanks,

    Phil

  57. Hi neil it was very informative post.

  58. Christina Rebuffet :

    Yet another FANTASTICALLY helpful article, Neil! You totally rock!

    Just a few questions regarding Buffer and CoSchedule. Is one better than the other?

    I saw that someone else was using both, but do you need both? I have a WP blog, publish every Tuesday (I do videos, so once a week is as quick as I can get’em out!) and am now looking to actually put a strategy to my social media presence.

    So, Buffer vs. Coschedule. Is one better for scheduling and batching?

    Also, LOVED your article on 11 Things To Do The Day After You Publish A Blog Post. I printed it out, highlighted the key action points and have been implementing your tips. I’ve already gotten 2 solid partnership offers after following your advice. Thanks a TON, Neil!!

    • Christina, I prefer buffer because it’s easier to use and has great overall look and feel. Coschedule is good as well.

  59. Scott Robinson :

    Great article. I think “Understand what you’re trying to accomplish” is the best advice you can give for social media. It’s so easy to lose sight of what you’re doing on Twitter especially. I have to remind myself of this every day

  60. Thanks for the tips. It’s so important to know how to maximize time and not jump through unnecessary hoops. A person could be lost on social media all day and not get that much accomplished but this lays it out nicely

  61. Post an attractive graphical posts on your social media accounts to inspire your audience.

  62. Transport George :

    I agree that we should use scheduling on our social media campaigns and I can say that you have listed the best information right here.

    This is awesome article Neil! I am a fan! Keep it up!

  63. Great advices for social media ! Thanks

  64. Hi Neil,
    I found this very insightful. Much of the time businesses invest a lot of time in social media and almost totally forget about return-on-time. I might pass this article onto a few people.
    Thanks

  65. growthandprosperity :

    This article going to help me a lot. I am going to setup a new business, I will follow are these steps to bring my website rating up and increasing traffic for my online business. Thanks Neil for updating such a great and useful article 🙂

  66. Was actually looking for something like this. Thank’s for the cheat sheet Neil.

  67. Wow i love this article, planning ideas for you different social platforms is key, thats exactly what i do, gather a Google spreadsheet of content ideas and put them all in categories and so if a light bulb goes off in head i can just then go to my phone and add the idea so i don’t forget. I also love buffer, saves so much time posting throughout the week and also posting at optimal times. Love your work Neil

  68. Such a great post Neil, we have stayed pretty clear of social meeting at our agency in the past. It’s funny how much we struggle to implement a solid social strategy for our own brand despite being a digital agency. I think we spend to much time in the business and not on the business so this should really help us get on top of it thanks.

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