In the day time I work as a social media marketer for an organisation with over 100 social media accounts, and just as many conflicting priorities needing done this instant. As you can imagine with 100 accounts on your tail sometimes it feels like they’re aren’t enough hours in the day! In truth, when you’re feeling this way it’s not more time you need it’s working smarter.
I know a lot of people (writers, bloggers, authors, and publishers alike!) find social media something they feel like they need to be doing but can sometimes struggle to find a balance. I think I can help. Here’s my guide on how to get stuff done working smarter edition:
Step One: Find out WTF working smarter is
Even though it’s kind of a weird phrase you don’t need to be afraid of it. All it means is getting things done either faster but with no more effort than you put in before, or with less effort than you’ve ever put in but at the same pace — basically, guys, it’s about increasing your motherflipping efficiency.
I like to joke about spending half my working days figuring out how to automate things then the other half trying to wildly cover my tracks. The thing is, this is not a lie. It’s not really even a joke.
When it feels like you simply have too much to do, too many platforms to post on, or even too many posts to write, the best thing that helps is automating the $@£! out of your workload. The best thing about automation on social media in particular is there are a tonne of free tools you can use to help you. Scroll down and I’ll tell you about my favourites.
Step Two: Understand Why You’re Working Smarter
When you’re using excel spreadsheets, sometimes people use formula. When you use a folder or program a lot sometimes you’ll shove a shortcut onto your desktop. It makes sense to create shortcuts on social media too that are specific for your needs. You need to understand what these needs are. For me it comes down to a few things but my priority is time.
It might not seem like it but a lot of social media marketing is about analysing data and by fudge you can only do this if you actually have time. I work smarter so I can use my time to analyse trends and data. Just as an aside imho working smarter totally decreases your stress, increases time you can spend reading articles about snapchat trends, and boosts your humming tunes to work time ration.
Step Three: Really Understand the Point of Working Smarter
Being more efficient doesn’t mean cutting corners. It’s really easy to think to be faster you need to sacrifice quality but tbh most of the time you can be fast and have a personal touch to everything you do. That’s why the best automations are seamless (NB this is why I spend so much time trying to cover my automated tracks!). When you get really good at automation it’ll be almost impossible to tell.
Step Four: Know Your Options
The way I see it you have a two options: manual and some form of online automation.
Working smarter can just be about using spreadsheets to plan social media editorial calendars, and posts, and campaigns and what not. If you don’t want to fully automate your life maybe it could be just about writing out templates and topics for posts months in advance instead of on the fly. This is manual mode. Manual mode is invaluable.
Another way to increase efficiency is to let websites do work for you, automating social media posts this way and that. I tend to use a little of both in my job.
Having a plan is fantastic, and having little scheduled things here and there is great too.
Step Five: Know Your Tools
There are a tonne of tools out there specifically designed to help you be more efficient on social media. I’m just going to let you know about two of my favourite right now. Once you get the hang of these have an explore and see what else is out there.
IFTTT: if this then that is based on a principle in coding in which you basically tell a computer “if this happens, then do that” It’s a website that uses recipes to do things. Want to post a tweet whenever you blog? No problem, just sign into your accounts and connect them to IFTTT and away you go. Once you’re more confident you can manually adjust recipes and make your own using basic code.
Buffer: this website is free for up to three social media accounts (paid plans are available) and is most useful for automatically scheduling your posts for you to social media. Buffer has something like over 16 million users at this point, and it uses data to understand when it’s best to post for you. You can set up your own schedule if you like too, or if you feel like you don’t trust the data. For the most part I find letting Buffer schedule posts for me to be pretty great. It seems to hit the spot when people are most online.
Once you have a fiddle, and work out what it is you want to get done, you’ll find yourself automating things you never thought possible! My next big project is, for no real reason, attempting to automate my kettle and streamlining the whole making tea process. V important for me in the mornings.
Obviously imho this shouldn’t stop you interacting with people on social media casually — there’s no way and no reason to automate socialising and having fun — but hopefully if you’re feeling overwhelmed maybe these tools can lend a hand.