Social media is a time suck! But there are ways to be more efficient and minimize the distraction.
One of the major issues about social media for healthcare marketers is the time it requires. Social media may be comparatively inexpensive but it requires a major investment of time to do it well. And what healthcare marketer has time?
But Corey Eridon posted on HubSpot ways to make social media more efficient. Things to do to keep the demands of social media from paralyzing you. Here’s a summary of some of the suggestions he posted.
1) Compose your updates in advance. It’s time to update your social media posts…Facebook and Twitter. Do you click around trying to find content to power those updates? If you do, you will spend an inordinate amount of time researching and posting. It’s better to bookmark information as you stumble across it. Or if you need to do research, do it in advance and bookmark the information.
Use a social media publishing schedule– an Excel template (or something similar) that lets you input all of your social media status updates for each social network, organized by the date and time you’d like to publish them.
You can set aside an hour and input all of your social media updates for the following work week. That way you’re not left scrambling to find enough compelling content for all of the social networks you need to manage.
2) Maintain a content repository. To craft a week’s worth of social media updates you should use a content repository. Here’s what it looks like:
Basically, this is the place that you can keep all the content you’d like to promote and resurface in social media — because the more content you create, the harder it will be for you to keep track of all of it. So put in your ebooks, your blog posts, your infographics, everything you will want to re-promote at a later date in social media. Then you’ll be able to jump over to this tab and quickly find content to promote! Just be sure to include an expiration date so you don’t accidentally promote something that has already taken place. And you will be less likely to let things fall between the cracks.
No more pulling content out of thin air, marketers!
3) Use a collaborative tool to share your schedule. Social media content can come from more than just you! Take the burden off of yourself and make your social media presence richer by including other people in crafting social updates. You can share the days and times when you’ll be publishing updates and it makes it easy for everyone to see what slots are available for promotion. You can even block off certain slots as “Reserved” for your own updates to ensure the content you need to promote doesn’t get swallowed up by other people’s updates.
Just make sure you communicate three notes about this collaborative approach to social media content creation: Establish a deadline for content for the following week; communicate that the spreadsheet is first come, first serve; and make it clear that the social media manager has authority to veto updates that aren’t appropriate or not consisitent with the brand.
4) Schedule your updates to auto-publish. With content ready, use automation to make your life easier.
Now, not every social network makes it easy to auto-publish, so you’ll have to do some manual updating (on LinkedIn, for example). But you can still automate a good chunk of your publishing using a tool like HootSuite.
5) Set up social media monitoring. While creating your content in advance is a serious boon to productivity, healthcare marketers should still be leaving room for timely updates, too. What if a news story breaks? Or someone covers your company in their publication? Or someone publishes an excellent blog post you’d like to share with your network? That real-time content is critical, and you can set up monitoring to ensure you see it coming through. Use Google Alerts to keep up to date on information you can use.
6) Establish your company’s social media policy. If you know exactly what you should and should not do on social media, it becomes much more natural to create content and respond to fans and followers. If your company has a social media policy that details exactly what you should and should not say in social media and the tone you want your company to convey, it’s way easier to quickly create content and interact with your fans … because that kind of detail and forethought gives your company an actual personality. It’s much easier to be social when you have a personality.
7) Leverage networks’ admin features. Sometimes, more hands are better than one… Sometimes.
It can get a little scary for marketing managers, though, when too many people are involved in social media marketing. Specifically, if they all have administrative access to the accounts. Because while you know the nooks and crannies of each network, not everyone is as knowledgeable as you. So how do you leverage the help of your fellow co-workers without having them have a free-for-all?
Make use of the admin features on social networks. On Facebook, for example, you can now assign specific roles for users that limit their ability to do things like create posts, respond as the brand in comments, or create ads:
LinkedIn and Google+ let you assign admin roles, too, but you’re out of luck with Twitter. So either keep your brand’s Twitter login credentials under wraps, or give some serious training to anyone you give those credentials to!
8) Pre-schedule your checkins throughout the day. Even with a monitoring tool set up, you’ll have to check in to each of your social networks throughout the day to respond to comments and interact with fans and followers. Some marketers feel like they need to respond to everyone on social media immediately. While immediacy is great, your network also understands that you aren’t glued to your computer screen at all times. It’s alright (and important for your productivity if you don’t have an employee dedicated only to social media monitoring) to set aside specific times during the day for social media monitoring.
10) Use tools to create visual content. You know you should be creating visual content to share on social media, but you’re not a graphic designer. What do you do? Leverage some of the visual content creation tools that make the task easy. If you have a Smartphone, you should have no trouble finding apps that make you look like a visual content creation genius. There is, of course, the much-loved Instagram to take your photos from blah to beautiful. And there’s a new favorite of many marketers, Over , that lets you overlay text over photos for that kind of content that will get you seriously high engagement.
10) Eliminate the clutter in your analytics. Social media is one of those channels that marketers have simultaneously too much data to analyze, and not enough. Don’t get bogged down in the abundance of data! Spend less time looking at the fluffy metrics that really mean nothing to your overall marketing success, and just focus on a few core metrics.
Utilize these time saving techniques to relieve the burden of social media and to improve efficiency. It will make social media more effective, less of a time suck and it will give you more control over the process. Don’t let social media control you. Instead, you control it.