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Can't Keep Up? 5 Ways to Simplify Your Social Media Marketing

02/03/2016 03:17 pm ET | Updated Feb 03, 2016
  • Neil Patel is the co-founder of QuickSprout, Crazy Egg, and Hello Bar

Speed and simplicity are important for any social media marketing program.

But speed and simplicity are also the most difficult things to achieve in a social media marketing program.

Social media, like any other form of marketing, can become complex, cumbersome, and confusing, especially for entrepreneurs and small businesses who are trying to do it all themselves.

I've dealt with the confusion of social media myself, and helped other people cope with their frustration.

With some planning and effort you can achieve brilliant simplicity. Try this straightforward process to regain control of your social media marketing.

1. Create a schedule.

Social media works best when you make a schedule. This is especially important if your social media marketing program involves multiple platforms, multiple people, and discrete campaigns.

Here are my tactical tips for making a social media schedule that works:

  • Time. If you have a multi-member social media team, create a shared calendar using something like Google Calendar. Allow each team member to add and edit things, but appoint one person as the chief calendar keeper.
  • Tech. If you are using a social media automation tool with a calendar, use it instead of an external calendar. The more integration between your tools, the simpler your efforts become.
  • Taboo. Don't be a slave to the schedule. Social media is about spontaneity, so feel free to try something unorthodox from time to time.

2. Use a social media automation tool.

If you do nothing else on this list, do this.

This point is worth the entire effort of your reading this article. Embracing this tip could save you years of your life (maybe), tons of frustration, and make you more effective. People will even start to like you more.

Smart people have made slick software to make social media simpler.

Social media automation can take an hour or two to set up and learn, but once you turn it on and let it start purring away, it will make your social media way sexier.

Here are the three most popular automation tools:

Subscription costs are negligible compared to the time you'll save.

Pick a tool, and go!

3. Batch.

Social media can be an absolute monster.

It can take over your day, destroy your productivity, distract you from your work, and derail your well-laid plans.

Much of our frustration with social media revolves around the fact that it is everywhere, all the time, and endless!

A quick scroll through Instagram can turn into hours of mindless swiping. A brief check-in on Twitter might morph into a nightmare of notifications. An innocent glance at Facebook devolves into the click-click-click into the vacation pictures of someone you don't even know.

I would tell you to "Be more disciplined" or "Stop it!" but that would be hypocritical.

Instead, I recommend batching. Batching is as simple as it is effective.

"Batch processing is the grouping of similar tasks that require similar resources in order to streamline their completion."

To make this absolutely clear, you only do social media when you're supposed to do social media.

Here are the tactical steps that I recommend:

  • Assign one (or two or whatever you need) hours for social media activities only.
  • Do all your social media activities within this single block of time.
  • When not on your social media hourlong task, disable notifications and turn off anything that could distract you to enter back into the social media vortex.

That's it!

You can use batching to save time and mental effort on other things, too. The important concept to keep in mind is that you don't have to do social media all day long.

Confine it. Put it in its slot. And let it stay there.

In other words, batch.

4. Find one graphic designer.

If you're aware of social media strategy, I'm sure you know the power of visual content in social media.

How do you simplify your social media visuals?

Hire a single graphic designer who is skilled at social media. Use this individual alone to create all the graphics that you use on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

You may be surprised at how many graphical needs your social media program requires. From Linkedin covers to Facebook posts, the possibilities are endless.

Make sure your designer is skilled in the dark arts of social media image sizes. They change frequently, but are an important component of having stunning visuals in your social media.

5. If your audience isn't on a social media platform, don't waste your time on it.

Pro social media tip: You don't need to be on every social media platform.

Gasp!

Why not?!

For one, your target audience might not be there. For another, you may not be very successful on that platform.

Copyblogger made waves when it decided to pull the plug on its Facebook page. Has it harmed their brand or destroyed their revenue? Apparently not.

Has it allowed them to achieve greater success, more simplicity? Probably so.

This is how they described their move:

"Copyblogger's main focus is serving its audience. And if that audience wasn't engaging on Facebook, then there was no real reason for us to pour energy into it. That's energy we can put into other areas -- ones you appreciate more."

You can achieve simplicity by choosing what not to do as much as you can by choosing how to do.

Maybe it's time to drop a social media channel from your schedule?

Conclusion

Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay.

Your job is to be successful at it. Sometimes, the best way to do that is by helping to simplify it.

How have you chosen to simplify your social media marketing?

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