Focus and routine are a essential for consistent performance. Creating a successful social media routine is no different. No matter what size your business or how many people in your team, unless you create a routine you will struggle to achieve success.

Whilst this blog is a useful guide for any business, it is particularly useful if the social media role has been given to someone specific.

Few companies put enough emphasis on their social media activity to commit to a routine. This is counter intuitive because it actually ends up taking longer and achieving less. In this blog post I am going to highlight the common mistakes around day to day social media activity and then suggest a successful social media routine. Of course, you take this and adapt it for your own business.

The key thing is that any routine, is better than no routine.

Why a social media routine is so important

I’ve heard just about every reason why sticking to a routine is so hard. The theme that runs right through all those excuses is that the social media activity is not prioritised. Or another way of saying it, is that people think there are more important jobs that need doing. Whilst this may true, your online audience  does not know or care. All they see is your company disappearing, popping back up, a flurry of activity, then a drip, disappearing…and so it goes on. Does this look like a company that has got its business in order? Are they dependable? It looks like a ‘no’. Bottom line is that it reflects badly on your business.

In order for social media to get any priority and respect it needs to achieve results. And for that you need a plan, people and systems. It is the work covered in Digital Business Power.

Without appropriate prioritisation the social media activity is given to someone on top of their existing work. They are not asked to do less of their other work. No, instead they must squeeze the social media work into their day on top of it. How much time could you free up in your current week? 5 hours? 2 1/2 hours – only 30 minutes a day? It just doesnt happen. And to make matters worse, when they then reach out to the rest of the company for content and support, they get told “I haven’t got time to do that” or “I’ve got more important things to do”.

Net result is they feel overworked, unappreciated and they too end up hating being responsible for the social media. They often leave.

What is required is a set amount of time each day and week for your social media person – manager if you have one – to get their work done. They have to be given this time and that has to be respected by the rest of the company.

Creating a successful social media routine

Create-A-Successful-Social-Media-RoutineThe most important part of a successful social media routine is realising that even activity which appears spontaneous must be planned in advance. This is particularly important if you want to build in campaign elements like lead generation or embed a live video which has not yet been recorded. The most successful social media activity has the bulk of its activity planned out. This will ensure consistency and free up time for your company to have a live and engaged layer of social media activity on top.

This will help you engage with influencers, be proactive in conversation and, most importantly. differentiate you from competitors.

Your social media activity should be broken down in two distinct ways. Activity you plan and do in advance. Activity you consistently do live.

Your Planned Social Media Routine

  1. Plan Your Content In Advance – there is no reason why you cannot work to a 6, 9 or even 12 month content plan. The last thing you want to do is scrabble around all week trying to create content. Have a plan, make sure others in the company support it and provide their contribution in advance of the publish date. You can then use specialist help to optimise and publish content if you do not have the skill in house. Note; this is not the same as outsourcing all your content creation. Focus on your in-house skills.
  2. Create A Promotional Calendar – the promotional calendar sits alongside your Editorial (or Content) Calendar. If you know what you are going to be talking about then you can create your promotional alerts and related content in advance also. When Live And Social produces content on behalf of clients we create three different social media updates. These can then be used and rotated to promote the content regularly. For any events, competitions, offers and all other brand communication you should also plan and create this in advance. You will start to build up a library of messages and you can plan what you publish at the start of the month.
  3. Create Promotional Themes – have regular themes for your social media updates. If you research or participate in social media conversations you will notice general themes such as #throwbackThursday or #winitWednesday. You may even choose to start your own. Although be sure to include a popular #hashtag alongside if you want to get it noticed. With the themes decided you can create QuotePics, discussion topics or other such regular posts in advance. A good idea for image based updates is to get someone to make three months or so content in one go. Try out DesignHero.uk as they offer a great service.
  4. Curate Content Effectively – whether you curate content on a daily basis or do it in bulk on weekly basis will depend on the nature of your business i.e. a high street fashion store can’t curate fashion news a week late. Either way though you do not want to ‘eat the internet’ each day. Instead subscribe to your favourite websites in a tool like Feedly.com. Create folders based on your content themes and now you can find and share content quickly.
  5. Schedule Social Media Updates – scheduling your social media updates in advance will create consistency, free up time and improve results. Do not believe anyone who tells you scheduling social media activity is bad. It is only bad when you fail to respond to replies or comments and don’t do any proactive live activity around it. Otherwise it is the best thing you can do. Oktopost is a lovely tool if you have the money but a service we value and are helping to grow is ContentCal.io. It covers all your content scheduling needs and they are a great UK team.

Your Day to Day Social Media Routine

Think about what you can achieve in thirty minutes? Even without interruptions it is not a lot of time. What about an hour a day? That is five hours a a week. This is the minimum you should expect to commit to your day to day activity. At a basic level checking your social profiles for comments, likes and shares, and then proactively finding and engaging with content by other people will take up an hour a day.

You can now see how important it is that all other activity is planned out in advance.

  1. Set A Consistent Time – this is a really simply instruction. Ringfence the time that your social media manager will be focused on the social media activity. This will ensure that they can stay focused and other members of your team will not request tasks from them. Your sales team would not appreciate being interrupted every two minutes. Neither would they be very effective if they were. Give your social media manager the time they need to succeed – and make it the same time everyday. Depending on your audience start, middle and end of day. Make the morning 60 minutes and the other two slots can be 15-25.
  2. Responsive Social Media – this is you looking after your audience and brand reputation. It is vital that you respond to comments, likes and shares on your own content. It keeps the wheel spinning – positive or negative – so don’t think of it as a pain. Think of it as propelling your business further, wider and louder. Part of being responsive is being responsible. That means customer service. Be sure to pay attention to people talking directly to you in Private Messages and people talking about you to other people. You may find positive comments that you want to celebrate and promote. Of course there may be some negative ones that need taking care of. Consider in both of these scenarios and positive outcome could lead to sales. KLM the Dutch airline, famously reports how many millions of Euros it generates from its social customer services.
  3. Proactive Social Media – this is you seeking out opportunities to engage with infuencers and conversations that could help your business. A very simple activity here is retweeting and sharing content. If you do just five a day you will get to the end of the month having engaged with 100-150 tweets / social media updates. This is a great way to grow your audience and build your own influence. Beyond this join and participate in Facebook and LinkedIn Groups, watch peoples live video streams and generally network in your industry online.
  4. Connect With People And Company Pages – its an obvious thing to say but if you don’t do it you wont consciously grow your network. And the Golden Tip, that everyone fails to do – when you follow someone or like their page – basically any connection that is not request based – tell them! Let them know who you are and how excited you are to connect with them. This will ensure they notice you.

Do monthly social media reports

Make sure reporting is part of your social media routine. If routine is a pathway to success, then doing monthly social media reports ensures you achieve it month on month. If your company is not measuring and reporting on the results of its digital marketing and social media, then it is clear the activity is not being prioritised. A lack of reporting is often evidence that the company does not really have an idea of what it is supposed to be achieving or how to do it. Whilst that might sound damming, it is just a sad reality and one that any company in that position needs to address. If you want help producing a monthly digital marketing report then book a time in my diary for a short conversation where I will be able to share a template and explain how to do it.

A social media routine is part of the system taught in Digital Business Power. If you are looking for a routine then likely you will benefit from the whole programme. Book yourself onto my next Digital Business Power event here.