Managing your social media can seem like a fairly straightforward task, in theory at least. But as a small business owner with a lot on your plate, it’s easy to get lost amidst the chaos and lose steam. The last thing your users want to see is a social media profile that’s sparse with posts and collecting dust.

These social media productivity hacks will help you get your engagements active, regular and working to benefit your business – but most importantly, make your efforts more efficient and focused.

Build a plan and set some goals

Think of a social media business profile you personally like and engage with, does it look like they have specific goals and objectives set? Are they posting varied but targeted content on a regular basis? If you’ve answered yes to both of those questions, chances are that they have built a detailed social media strategy, and have a good plan of action in place.

Even though this first step may seem like a daunting task, it is crucial to making sure you hit the ground running. In fact, the hours you’ll put into building a good plan will pay back for themselves, and you’ll have the foundation you’ll need to keep yourself efficient and focused.

The best way to think of a social media plan is as a list of the things you want to achieve that include how you plan to achieve them. There are many different ways of growing and engaging your users on social media, and you’ll need to do some research to see what would work best for you. If you’ve already active on social media, take a look at your post history and find out what sort of posts got the most traction. Also, don’t forget to check out your competitors and see what sort of content they’re using, and identify what’s working well.

Remember that your plan should include a wide variety of approaches. For example, if you want to grow your audience on Twitter, you might want to start by first becoming active within your market niche – you can do this by favouriting, retweeting and following related users and content they post – before focusing on your own content creation as a means of gaining engagement.

Break your tasks down

Since your plan is more like a general broad-stroke overview, you’ll benefit from simplifying each part into single, granular processes. For example, your plan may include regular posting of third-party content that’s related to your business, such as videos, articles or photos. This alone is composed of multiple steps, such as discovering related content, writing unique copy with related hashtags for it and posting it to your social media page at the right time.

Individually, each of the steps is much easier to accomplish than the entire task from start to finish. And even more importantly, certain steps can be combined together in bulk and be done in one sitting, ahead of time. You can use the breakdown to create goals, and organize your workflow into blocks of work sections that are easier to handle.

Make a schedule, and stick to it

This is probably the single most powerful productivity hack you can take advantage of. It may seem simple and obvious, but a schedule with deadlines and reminders is the best way to keep yourself on track and motivated. In our experience, this is usually one of the most overlooked ways of keeping on top of what needs to be done.

We recommend using Google Calendar as your platform – it’s free to use, cloud-based and connects across multiple devices. You can separate your schedule into separate calendars to keep things clutter-free, like days and times for posts to go up, and task goal completion deadlines.

Of course, you’ll need to stick to your calendar in order to make sure you’re on track with your plan and goals. Be sure to leave time available through your week in case you need to catch up – and keep your time commitment at a comfortable level that’s manageable. Just 30 minutes a day in the early morning will add up to 2 1/2 hours a week – which is more than enough time to maintain a good social media presence for a small business.

Track and adapt your strategy as you go

It’s unreasonable to assume that your plan and strategy will work exactly as intended from the start. Trial and error is a big part of social media, and you should expect to have to change your strategy and approach on an ongoing basis. In fact, if you’re not changing things up regularly, you are more than likely missing out on added growth and success. Most social media platforms today offer detailed analytics reports that give you a clear picture of how your efforts are performing. Make it a habit to check these insights regularly. You will be able to see what works and what doesn’t, and shift your focus to gain the most out of your efforts.

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Photo Credit: Flickr user mkhmarketing – The Art of Social Media CC BY 2.0