How often has this happened to you: you decide to be present on social media, so you jump on Facebook, just to quickly post something…and the next thing you know, you’ve gone down the rabbit hole of crazy cat videos and voicing an opinion on somebody’s sibling drama…checking out some random BuzzFeed article someone linked to, and then a silly quiz to see which Game of Thrones character is your spirit animal…and then you look up and two hours have passed and you’ve got nothing done. AGAIN. So you throw up your hands and swear off social media altogether. But then your engagement suffers. You start to get a creeping feeling that you’re missing out on using it for your business. You think: there has to be a better way.
Or is that just me?
There is no doubt that social media can be a HUGE time suck. But if you’re in business, particularly if you’re trying to run an online business as a health coach, like so many of the women I work with, you can’t really afford to ignore social media altogether. You’re doing your business a huge disservice if you avoid social media…yet you’re doing it an even bigger disservice if you squander all your precious time on it. So how do you strike the balance?
Here are 5 tips:
1. BE STRATEGIC
In other words, do your research. It’s important to figure out which platforms your ideal clients hang out on. But also: when are they there? It’s pointless to post at dinnertime if your ideal clients are most active on the platform in the morning. Nor does it make sense to go all in on Twitter if your target market is all about Instagram. Make sure you’re going where your ideal clients are, and be present at the same time they are.
2. MAKE A PLAN
Before simply diving in, make sure you have a plan of action. Ideally, create a calendar or schedule for your social media posts. And if you’re really organized, flesh out the calendar for the month ahead with all the graphics and images you’ll need, and your calls to action. Set aside one day each week to batch this content and get it all ready ahead of time. If YouTube is your platform of choice, for example, plan and film a handful of videos all on one day, and then schedule them to upload on certain dates.
While I don’t recommend a set-it-and-forget-it approach to social media (which can be dangerous, and make you look spammy), you can use certain tools to help you plan and schedule. Automating certain tasks can help improve your efficiency, which frees you up to actually interact, in live time, with your followers. If you’re looking to automate and/or schedule, check out budget-friendly tools like HootSuite and Buffer. If you’re looking for something more powerful, try Meet Edgar or Tailwind, tools which allow you to collect and share your evergreen posts on a recurrent basis. As long as you don’t become too dependent on automation, as long as you are still PRESENT on social media, these tools can be incredibly helpful.
4. SET A TIMER
Because there are only so many hours in the day, and because I usually have a long to-do list, I use a timer to keep me on track. I jump on social media and set a timer on my phone for however long I can devote to the task, and then engage and connect until the timer goes off. I focus on getting maximum value in a minimum amount of time, and on building relationships. Truth be told, I use this technique for lots of tasks, not just social media. It works like a charm.
5. DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE “SOCIAL” IN SOCIAL MEDIA
Remember, to truly OPTIMIZE your presence on social media, you need to ENGAGE. Don’t play the wait-and-hope game, relying on passive traffic to come to you. And definitely don’t just leave everything up to automated tools or a social media manager. It’s important to get out there and personally engage with your prospective clients, building your tribe. This is where social media, admittedly, becomes a bit of a long game. But if you’re serious about using it to build your business, you need to begin by building relationships and growing your community. Just make sure you’re protecting your time, and being strategic.
But these suggestions are really just the tip of the iceberg. If you found my ideas helpful, you may be interested in the new 30-day ecourse I’ve just launched: Social Media Bootcamp for Health Coaches. The format is simple: every day for 30 days you’ll receive a lesson straight to your email inbox. Each day I’ll walk you step-by-step through the process of developing a smart, cohesive social media strategy to help you grow your health coaching business.
Interested? Check it out here.