Are you feeling overwhelmed with all the hats an entrepreneur wears? Are you thinking there just isn't enough time in the day (or evening/weekends if you're part time like me) to keep your customers happy and communicate with them, create beautiful things and post them to your online or physical store, etc.? Let me tell you a little secret I learned over the last month or so: it's not going to kill your business if you're not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, #EveryNewAndSpecialSocialMediaSiteEver 24 hours a day, 7 days a week...
It's almost time to ring in the New Year and I'm officially 36 days into a media fast I started on Thanksgiving Day (original post). Feeling so strongly convicted about reducing time on social media, I decided to completely ignore all the advice claiming the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season is the time to step up marketing efforts. It was completely crazy not to market like crazy during the holiday season, but I did. And guess what: I sold more beautiful jewelry this season than I have year over year. I was able to focus on customers who purchased from me, keep up with inventory and even had some time to sketch up a few designs for a new line I'm planning to launch in the spring. But the most important thing for me personally? Reducing the time I spent on social media has helped me reconnect with God in a more meaningful way which in turn sparked an unexpected wave of creativity and vision for the upcoming year.
How did I do it? The key is creating content that matters and sharing it at the most appropriate time and channel to reach our best customers. Here are five tips to reduce social media marketing stress:
- Write one post per channel per week (or at a pace that makes sense for your business): By deciding to post only one time per week, I quit stressing out over the perceived need to post on multiple channels, multiple times daily and share every nugget I thought people might like. The first couple of weeks were tough - I knew I had an issue, but I didn't realize I was a total social media junkie!!! I made the decision to limit myself to one post per week on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram because I run Vintage Cravens in the evenings/on the weekends and have a tight schedule for creating, shipping, listing, local events, etc. If I ran Vintage Cravens full time, my schedule might look a little different and I would likely decide to post a few more times per week. What about your business? Is there a rhythm you can establish that will resonate with your customers yet still allow you time for other aspects of running the show?
- Create a plan for posts: By reducing the number of touch points on social media, I had to think more like my customers - what would they be interested in and when? I also had to think more like a marketing maven - what would lead to website views to increase SEO and drive sales? By thinking through these things and strategically selecting topics for my posts, I ended up with more views and shares and, ultimately, sales from the time I spent on social media. I decided to put my efforts towards writing blog posts about the topic I chose each week, then used social media channels to promote the posts and share them. What information would your customers be interested in and how can you tie those topics in with seasonal interests that are likely to rank higher for SEO?
- Create (or curate) content that matters: By having a plan, I was able to focus on writing quality blog posts and taking beautiful photographs (or pulling some from years of archives my husband and I have saved up - that was a lot of fun for both of us!). In some cases, I curated some really cool ideas from other creative people and gave them lots of credit. To streamline the social part of sharing my blog posts, I built graphics in different shareable formats using online tools like Canva and PicMonkey rather than Photoshop. They have nice templates and filters built right in making editing a breeze. What ways can you think of to speed up your content management processes?
- Use social media scheduling tools: I have used services like Facebook's scheduling option, Later for Instagram and Tailwind for Pinterest in addition to spontaneous sharing on all channels for quite some time, but I didn't realize how much time planning and scheduling was taking. I also didn't realize how much I was interrupting myself by snapping photos with my phone to share spontaneously (and then checking for comments, etc.). By having a reduced and focused content 'theme' for a week, I found I spent much less time planning and scheduling. By removing the spontaneous share, I was also able to redeem time I didn't know I had. When I felt an overwhelming desire to share, I would make myself wait one day. If I still felt like what I wanted to show or say was valuable to my customers and went along with my plan, then I did share (but, honestly, this was RARE). Are there ways you can create themes for your social media posts and automate the process of sharing? Have you considered looking at how much time 'instant' posts may be actually taking?
- Make a decision to focus: Your customers may differ, but mine like Facebook and Pinterest. Some of them are on Instagram, too, and even on Snapchat, but they repeatedly come back to Facebook and Pinterest. With this in mind, I had to think about my marketing plan and what kind of content would be interesting in those two channels. This also helped me decide what kinds of photographs and video content to include for social sharing. Where do your best customers hang out? Are there opportunities to focus on specific channels to reduce your time spent on social media?
As the new year approaches, I'm looking forward to some great opportunities on the horizon for Vintage Cravens and continuing a 'slow post' approach to marketing for my business. Have you found some good ideas or ways to reduce stress in your marketing efforts? I would love to hear about them!
God bless and Happy New Year!