The last thing anyone wants is to waste time on tasks that don’t provide any value. This is particularly the case if you are unsure which of those tasks actually produces results. After all, time is too precious to waste on useless tasks.
And, this is especially true when it comes to social media. After all, the average daily social media usage is 2 hours and 27 minutes.
Like most of you, I have limited time to spend on social media each day. As a result, I’ve got to use that time wisely. This means figuring out which social media tasks produce results and how to do them most efficiently.
Although it sounds easy, being more productive on social media has taken a lot of trial and error. The best thing I’ve found is to sharpen your calendar skills.
Set goals and understand why you use social media.
How can you become more productive on social media? First, understand why you’re using those channels.
In other words, you shouldn’t just scroll through a feed of updates when you log into Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Instead, it should serve a single purpose. If you’re unsure, you could ask the following questions:
- Would you like to gain followers?
- Do you wish to increase brand awareness?
- Are you seeking referrals or connections?
- Are you interested in sharing resources with your followers?
- Do you want to drive traffic and leads?
To reach your own social media success, you may find that you need a mix of platforms and goals. Having multiple channels might serve different purposes. First, make sure you are clear about the results you want.
There are so many ways to break down a business goal once it’s clarified, such as:
- Decide on an overall goal. Maybe it’s to reach more ideal clients and to increase sales.
- Assess how you’ll measure the result. Then, find out how you will know if you have met your goal. For instance, grow your Instagram followers by 10% by the end of the quarter.
- Break down your specific goals into action steps. Then, you need to do what it takes to achieve it. Maybe it’s posting five days a week or running a poll.
Make sure your actions match up with your goals. Taking time-sensitive approaches will also keep you from getting overwhelmed.
And most importantly? Add your social media goals to your calendar. You’ll be less likely to give up on them when you do.
“Task batching allows you to take all of your tasks for the day and very carefully and methodically determine similar and repetitive actions performed within each task,” explains Calendar’s Angela Ruth. “In short, you’ll be ‘reverse-engineering’ each task you have on your list and coming up with the most efficient combinations of activities.”
It might take a while to get started. But it’s worth it. After all, batching will save you brainpower throughout the day. And, when your mind is sharper, you’ll get more done.
Yet, that is only scratching the surface. Batching also simplifies tasks and reduces transition time. Instead of multitasking, you concentrate on just one task at a time. As a result, there is no time wasted in transitions.
Using batching will help you avoid forgetting important tasks. This can include social media postings or blog posts.
I should add that there are a variety of ways you can save time when it comes to social media by batching.
- Think of post ideas all at once. The goal is to accumulate a wealth of social media post ideas you can refer to as needed.
- Regularly schedule posts. You’ll save a lot of time if you schedule all your posts at the beginning of each week or month. Then, you can adjust your schedule throughout the week or month if something special arises.
- Engage in social media only during designated times. Check and respond to critical social media posts and messages once or twice a day. If you don’t want to get sucked in, set a timer for 10-15 minutes. It’s amazing what you can do when you set strict limits.
Choose your distractions.
Social media is inherently distracting. Staying connected and being available are some reasons, according to one study. Also, avoiding a task can play a role.
Social media was ranked fourth on Atlassian’s list of main workplace distractions. You will inevitably be distracted by social media tasks, so you must learn how to manage social media.
As a result of distractions taking over our day, we are less productive. But, at the same time, navigating distractions can be a challenge. So, what can you do?
Well, utilize your calendar.
Put social media batching on your schedule, for example. That’s what I do every Monday. From 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., I schedule all my posts for the week. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I turn off social media notifications until I’m scheduled to check them. Do this after lunch and right before I’m done work for the day.
Also, plan for distractions as well. Unfortunately, there is no way to prepare for every distraction. However, you can schedule a buffer time to accommodate them.
Create a content calendar.
“A content calendar is simply a planner, spreadsheet, or calendar that details the content you’ll be publishing for weeks or months in advance,” Abby Miller writes in a previous Calendar article. “This not only gives you a quick overview of your content schedule, it can also be shared with your team so that they’re aware of deadlines and project details.”
Content calendars will help you stay on top of content creation schedules, generate new ideas, and encourage team collaboration,” Abby adds. Furthermore, a content calendar helps ensure accountability, utilize different formats, and identify the type of content your target audience responds to the most.
Don’t worry if you haven’t created a content calendar before. Here’s how to get started:
- Brainstorm content ideas. Topics should fit your brand persona, address concerns or questions your audience has and establish your authority in the industry.
- Determine your publication channels and frequency. You can use social media channels to promote content, build brand awareness, and engage with your audience. “The frequency changes between channels as such; Facebook no more than twice a day, Twitter 3 times daily, LinkedIn once per day, Instagram 1.5 times daily, and Pinterest 5 times daily,” she adds.
- Use a spreadsheet and calendar to map everything out. You should include details like publication date, title, content description, and where it’s going.
- Define the workflow. As a part of your content strategy, this should include overall goals, editorial guide, best practices, and assigned responsibilities.
- Schedule, publish, promote, track, and tweak your content. Review your analytics so that you can make proper adjustments.
Put the right tools to work.
One of the best ways to increase your productivity? You’ve got to use the right tools. For example, you can use a digital calendar to manage your time. It’s also handy if you want to track your time and plan meetings.
Moreover, you can take your productivity to new heights when paired with project management software, video conferencing apps, and social media.
As far as social media goes, specific tools can help you get more done. It’s all about choosing the right tools for the job, though.
There are several tools available to you that can help you accomplish the following:
- Schedule your social media posts ahead of time.
- Become a better listener and responder.
- Keep track of the metrics you chose when selecting your goals for social media.
- Analyze your social media metrics to improve productivity and results.
However, it’s important not to get distracted by every new shiny tool you see. Instead, find out what works best for you, your goals, and your process by reading reviews, using free trials, and testing tools.
Stress can cause shallow breathing, whether at work or elsewhere. Therefore, the brain receives less oxygen, making you even more stressed and unable to think clearly.
Feeling stressed and overwhelmed on social media will make you less productive. According to the American Institute of Stress, an estimated $300 billion is spent annually by U.S. industries due to stress.
Develop a daily checklist of your social media activities to reduce stress and overwhelm. Plan it based on your social media goals and the tasks you need to accomplish daily or weekly.
Also, you may want to add activities that can help you de-stress to your calendar as well. For example, you could go for a walk after lunch before diving back into your social channels. You could also carve out time for self-care and pursuits that you enjoy doing.
Efficiency is built on templates.
It is unquestionably true that templates are incredibly useful today. An example is calendar templates. Why? Because they’re real-time-savers.
Make it easier on yourself by using a pre-made calendar instead of making a new one every time. Just fill in the blanks, and you’re set. Calendar template examples include tracking the progress of goals, a to-do-list checklist, or a social media content calendar.
Moreover, you can create templates specifically for your social media efforts. For example, you can use successful headline templates rather than coming up with new headlines each time you create a new social media post idea. For example, “X Ways To Do X.”
Another idea? Take advantage of Canva’s social media templates. You can even use templates for social media posts. Again, I’d head over to Buffer for more info on how to create a social media report.
Block out time to check your metrics.
Determining how you’ll measure your success with social media is essential.
Consider scheduling a weekly or twice-weekly review and recording your key metrics on your calendar. These might be follower counts, views, comments, likes, and shares.
The reason? Monitoring your metrics regularly will help you see patterns emerge. Additionally, you’ll be able to make better decisions about what to post, when to post, and how to engage with your followers. For example, let’s say you’ve been posting daily at 7:30 every morning. After a month, however, you discover that your posts have more engagement at 4:30 p.m. As a consequence, you begin scheduling content at that time.
Whatever metrics or feedback you choose to use, tracking your progress will allow you to see progress in your channels over time. As a result, you will be able to adjust as required to become productive on social media.
Image Credit: cottonbro; Pexels; Thank you!
John Hall is the co-founder of Calendar a scheduling and time management app. He’s also a keynote speaker that you can book at http://www.johnhallspeaking.com.