How can you make time for social media

I like coffee in the morning. It helps focus my mind and while I drink it I'll read emails, check my schedule and figure out what I need to do during the day. And that's just the business side of things.

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On top of that there's the personal appointments, the travelling, trying to fit in a bite to eat, and so on. Oh, and I forgot, at some point in the day I need to market my business to ensure it continues to grow so I've got a steady stream of clients.

Inmy previous blog post about social media marketing, I finished by asking 'how can you make time for social media?' Well, there's no doubting that it's become increasingly important to use the online tools available to businesses - especially the ones that don't cost much (if anything at all).

And that's where social media offers a fantastic solution. But, it's time consuming and busy people like you and I need all the time we can get! That's whyI'm a fan of time management hacks, and when it comes to social media - there are plenty of tricks I've learned along the way.

I've found tons of great tools that can make it easier and save valuable time. I won't list them all as there are hundreds out there, but here are some I've found particularly helpful. It's worth taking sometime exploring your options and finding the ones that work for you. After all, they've even given me back enough time for an extra cup of coffee in the morning.

Scheduling

Scheduling is where you'll save the most time. Once you've collected enough content (more about that later) there's the laborious task of posting. This will often be several times a day, probably during the hours you'll be at your busiest trying to run your business. Here's where I found a scheduling tool to be a great time-saver.

There are plenty of free options, likeBuffer, which allow you to schedule up to 10 posts at a time across numerous social media channels. You can get all your content loaded up at once to go out at the time you choose - just upload your posts and you're good to go.

Aside from scheduling content, you'll also need to plan a little time each day for your social media efforts. Personally, I like to take around half-an-hour in the evening to catch up on what's been happening online, reply to comments, questions, and prepare content for the next day. Of course, if the last thing you want to do is log-in to Facebook at 9:00 p.m. you could figure out a time that works for you.

Content

Creating content, such as blog posts, is time-consuming, but you'll need to have some type of content to share with your followers. Online content tools such asRight Relevanceare great for finding content relevant to your business and interests. I tried a number of different tools but when I discovered that Right Relevance allowed me to post the content straight into Buffer I was sold.

Analytics

Ok, so this one isn't an immediate time-saver, but if you get a handle on how well your content is doing then you'll know exactly the kind of stuff that your followers like to read and engage with. This will save you time when you're on the lookout for new content. Twitter and Facebook both have great free analytics, with Facebook including information on demographics such as follower gender, location, actions taken on your page, page views and more.

Tools for those with a budget

The free tools I've mentioned come with additional paid-for options if you want even more features, but if you do have a budget for online marketing then there are more tools to help save time. Most offer trials, so check them out first to see whether it's worth spending the money. Here are just a few I've taken a look at and some takeaways to help you manage your time online:

  • PostPlanner- Like RightRelevance, is a content creation tool, but with the added bonus of an integrated scheduling tool. PostPlanner also offers content ideas, such as images and status updates.
  • Social Quant - Is a platform for building targeted Twitter followers. It works by following accounts based on the keywords your audience will be using to search online to find the service you offer. Social Quant will then grow your follower base with the right followers for your business.
  • Canva- A visual content channel that helps the user create great images for social media posts.

Top tips

Make time- whether it's at 5:00 a.m., lunchtime or midnight, find a time to devote to your social media. I was surprised how quickly it became part of my routine.

Curate- if you don't have time to write or create your own content, find a curation tool online and use it to build a collection of relevant stories to share with your followers. It's much faster than scouring Google and news sites.

Schedule- Set up a scheduling tool, like Buffer, and get scheduling. This will save loads of time and ensure you don't have to take precious time to manually post. It will also get content out when you can't be online yourself.

Hopefully there's enough here to help you start managing your time when marketing on social media. You can probably tell I've barely scratched the surface of the tools that are out there. I've found what works for me, but I'd love to hear about any tools that you can't live without, so let me know what works for you in the comments section below.