Social media and productivity

Let’s face it; social media can be a total time waster. It is so easy to get caught up in the posts that are flooding your social media feed instead of working.

Many of us waste time by watching insights into the world of other people who appear to be having a much more exciting life than way are. I’ll save that topic for another post.

We also waste time by commenting and liking posts that are not related to our business.

There are ways, however, to use some tools and tactics to make sure that you don’t waste time on social media and use time allocated to this task to be more productive and drive the appropriate traffic and engagement to your business.

Through my training experience, I have found many people are so overwhelmed with the different social media channels and how to use them. Social media moves quite fast, and there is a lot of noise to filter through on so many channels which make keeping on top of things challenging.

So how much time should you be spending on managing your social media channels? Also, what channels should you be focussing on? These are the questions you need to ask yourself, and depending on your business the answer to this might be different to other businesses.

Following are my five steps to help you keep on top of your social media efforts so that you spend this time more productively.

1. Define exactly what your purpose is with social media. Think about why you are there and what exactly you plan to get out of each social media channel that you are using.

2. Set up some automated systems between the different social media channels that you use. For example, with Instagram, with each post, you can instantly push it out to Twitter as well as Facebook. This is great for general posts but if you have the time it is always best to tailor your message on each social media channel to the audience.

3. Write a monthly, weekly and daily checklist of your social media channels and posts. I write a monthly plan around a particular theme. I then break it down into weekly sub-themes and plan out the posts for each channel.

It takes a few hours to come up with the overall plan and then you can sit down and schedule the weekly posts at the beginning of the week in about an hour. This way you have a plan in advance and are not just putting up posts just because you need to post something that day.

4. For each channel, create a daily checklist of how many times you plan to post to each and then check this list off as you create each post. I have a weekly checklist which contains the types and amount of posts for each channel that you can download for free from my website.

5. Review your analytics at the end of the week to gauge engagement and see which posts were more popular. Then adjust your content and posting schedule as required.

Social media is an incredibly valuable business asset and when it is used consistently and in the right way you will see results.

Have any other tips you would like to share? Post them in the comments below.

Liza is the content manager and founder of The Content Hub. As a technology specialist she loves passing on her knowledge about the latest technology and best practices to her readers.

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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a term that is tossed around in any discussion about internet marketing, but few people really understand what it means and what it involves.

The purpose of SEO is to rank higher in search engines so that people can find your website and its content. Effective use of SEO requires you to use specific words within your posts so that when users are searching these words, they find your site.

Relevant Content

Not only do search engines look for these keywords they also look for relevant content. Writing gibberish in keywords will not help your SEO. Original content that is in keeping with your website is the best choice to drive visitors to you. When creating original content, do not forget that it needs to be relevant, well written, and customer focused if you want people to visit your site.

Tips for writing content:

  • Proofread: Numerous spelling and grammar mistakes will distract customers, and can make it difficult for search engines to analyse your content.
  • Use titles and headings: Break up your content so that it makes it easier for people to skim read. Keywords are more effective in titles and headings, so make sure to give yourself opportunities to use them.
  • Use short sentences: Online content is not a book. Use short sentences that your audience can read quickly.

Keywords

Keywords are words or phrases that people search online. Integrating these keywords into your content will improve your search engine rankings. An effective SEO campaign, however, relies on choosing the correct keywords.

For example, keywords that match websites will rank higher in search engines. Additionally, popular searches change, so it is necessary to research the best keywords for your content.

There are tools such as moz.com and keywordspy.com to help you discover what best keywords to use in your content.

Once you choose your keywords, use them to guide your original content. Variation of keywords should be in the title and headings and repeated throughout the content.

A tool to help you with this is Yoast SEO, so make sure you download this and install it to your WordPress site.

Linking

Another important aspect of the SEO process is linking. Every external link is a vote of confidence in the relevance of your website. The goal of SEO is to gain inbound links to your website. The more inbound links, the better your SEO rankings will be.

Following are a few ideas to improve the number of inbound links on your site:

  • Write: Writing and publishing articles online in other forums will provide a link back to your site. So if you publish content elsewhere, insist that it links back to your website.
  • Contact bloggers: Ask bloggers to review products or share information that will lead back to your site.
  • Social media links: Include links to your site in all social media activity. This will result in links being clicked and drive up traffic.

Lastly, if you are willing to spend some time and money, there are pay per click ads and affiliate sites. These can generate clicks to your site, but they are in the grey area ethically, and you are better off making an effort to put in place the best practices of SEO to achieve growth in your website traffic.

Liza is the content manager and founder of The Content Hub. As a technology specialist she loves passing on her knowledge about the latest technology and best practices to her readers.

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Important elements of a social media message

There are 4 important elements of a social media message.

Two-way communication

Listening to what others are saying is the single most important aspect of engaging in social media. This will help you find out:
•what customers are interested in
•what customers are saying about your brand
•what customers are saying about your competition

Without this information, it is far more difficult to create a message that will engage your customers.

Successful messages take communication the other way too by encouraging your followers to do something when they read your message. This might be that they read your blog post, share it with others, or like your Facebook page or Instagram post.

Your goal is to engage with your audience, build a relationship and then when they need your product or service; it is you that they will contact.

Storytelling

Nothing engages people more than a story. Stories will tell people about your brand and how it can make their lives better.

Social media storytelling isn’t telling some stories about a brand. It’s unearthing the core story at the heart of your brand and telling it in meaningful ways that people enjoy, appreciate and share.

For further information on using storytelling in social media, check out Buffer’s post on 11 storytelling formulas to supercharge your social media.

Transparency, Honesty and Authenticity

Make sure that your brand’s message is genuine. Social media is all about interaction.

If your messages sound automated or programmed, your customers will be turned off and won’t engage with your brand. Make sure your messages are crafted individually with those you want to engage with.

There are programs out there that you can use to post messages automatically. Don’t be tempted to do this. These messages are easy to spot and are so transparent in an attempt to gain more followers without actually engaging with them.

Do what you can to make your messages feel real.

Consistency

Another big element of building trust is consistency. Your message should be consistent across all of your social media channels.

You may approach each channel differently due to the demographics of the audience, however your messages need to be consistent.

To build brand awareness make sure each social media channel has consistent handles. This will help with identifying your brand and with search engine rankings.

Now I would recommend spending some time looking at all your social media channels to ensure consistency and try to follow the four best practices with each channel and every time you post.

Liza is the content manager and founder of The Content Hub. As a technology specialist she loves passing on her knowledge about the latest technology and best practices to her readers.

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Daily social media plan

One of the main questions I get asked at my social media management workshops is how often you should post in each social media channel. I think it depends on your business and what message you need to send to your audience, however I am going to share with you my best practices for social media posting and how I plan my social media posts for the week.

I spend each Sunday evening planning out my social media posts for the coming week. I first work out my Instagram posts and add them to a tool called Planoly. I am then able to see the weeks feed altogether and make sure it is cohesive and I have a mixture of personal and business related posts. I then look at these messages and see which ones would be suited to also share out on Twitter. Since I have Twitter and Instagram linked, I am able to post to Instagram and have the same message posted out on Twitter.

With Twitter, I post from Instagram but also post specific messages as well about my business. The same for Facebook. The same message can be shared across all three, however you should tailor your message to the audience for each social media channel.

Following is the daily schedule I use for each of the four social media channels that I use:

Instagram
•One to two posts per day as per my weekly schedule
•Respond to all comments each day
•Like and comment on at least 10 other Instagram accounts to help build engagement

Twitter
•Tweet links to three old blog posts
•Retweet three other bloggers tweets
•Reply to three other bloggers tweets
•Respond to all tweets and direct messages

Pinterest
•Pin most recent blog post to three boards
•Pin three old blog posts to various shared boards
•Repin ten other bloggers pictures

Facebook
•Post daily either a personal post or share a new blog post
•Share another post from my audience
•Ask a question or some other call to action

I do try to stick to the above schedule but of course things can change throughout the week.

Do you have a weekly schedule that you stick to in regards to social media? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts on how you manage social media for your business

Liza is the content manager and founder of The Content Hub. As a technology specialist she loves passing on her knowledge about the latest technology and best practices to her readers.

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8 social media rules to always follow

As a remote worker you will most likely be posting on social media to not only promote your own business but that of your clients. Especially if you are offering social media management as one of your services.

So what are the rules you need to take into consideration when posting on social media? Following are eight rules that you should stick by before hitting the post button.

Always Show Respect

When deciding to post something online, sometimes the last thing on our minds is what others will think about it, or how it will affect us later.

But when sharing our information, we must be respectful of our audience and refrain from using foul language or offensive material. Don’t use the material to argue or pick a fight with another user or member.

While a little controversy or a friendly debate can attract a larger audience, if pushed too far it can have the opposite effect. You can end up alienating your viewers and driving them away.

So before you post something online, whether a photo or an article, show respect to other users by considering how it would make them feel.

Remember:

• Be polite
• Be aware of how your content makes others feel
• Don’t try to argue or fight on a social media site
• Anything you post can come back to you or the business you represent

Stop and Think Before You Post

One of the best tools to prevent negative consequences to yourself or your business is to stop and think about something before you decide to post it.

Before posting a photo or new article, think about how it will affect you and your client. Will it appear negative or offensive? Is it something you should be sharing online? If there is any doubt in your mind, don’t post it.

When replying to a post, or making a follow-up remark, think twice before making angry comments or criticising others. Take a moment to think about what you want to say, and repeat it to yourself over and over again. Does it still sound like a good idea? Again, if you have any doubt or second thought in your mind, refrain from posting it.

Things to ask yourself before posting:

• How will this make me look?
• How will this look to the business?
• Will the breach policy?
• Will this share any unnecessary information?

Always Be Honest

When you are posting as an employee, be honest about your identity and your purpose. Don’t try to post anonymously or pretend to be someone else just to try and to post something the company would not find acceptable.

Make it clear that you are posting as a member or the company, but not as a formal representative since you do not speak for them. If you are posting an article or creating a web page, it is usually advised to add a disclaimer stating that you are the author of the page and are not under the direction of the company.

When asked who you are or where you received your information, be honest and don’t hide behind a username. Don’t try to be a ‘mole’ that posts about their company anonymously, either in a positive or negative manner. These types of posts can usually be tracked to their original authors and can be very embarrassing for you and the company.

Never Discredit or Talk Ill of Competitors

The main purpose of social media is to communicate and share ideas among people, not to use it for ill will or negative gain. When we see an ad or photo posted by a competitor, we may think we are doing our business a favour by posting negative reviews about their business or discrediting any findings they may have published.

A small part of us may even be convinced that our words will help navigate customers to our business instead. But these thoughts couldn’t be more wrong. When we try to post something to discredit or speak badly about our competitors, it makes our own business look petty and cheap. The plan backfires and discredits ourselves and our employer, causing negative publicity.

Remember:

• Keep negative comment to yourself
• Negative responses only generate more negativity
• Customers will not want to do business with mean employees

Be Transparent

Being transparent on a social media site means that that you are open and honest about your identity and your purpose. If you try to post as someone else or under the assumption of another person, you are not transparent about who you are, and it can cloud people’s judgment about you.

By hiding behind a name or a label, it makes people questions why you are posting and what kind of image you are portraying for your company. Not being transparent will make your audience question what your company stands for or represents. So always post on a website clearly and with open intentions. Don’t try to be sneaky or sly – it can backfire and cause more damage.

Act Like You Would in Real Life

Social media is not meant to act as a cloak to hide behind and disguise ourselves when we communicate with other people. Social media should be treated no differently than if you were speaking with someone face to face.

The words you choose to use online hold the same meaning as if you had said them in person. The actions you do online give a bigger impression than the actions or words you perform in real life.

Don’t try to boost your ego or sound bigger than you are, because this will only lead customers on and give the wrong impressions to other users on the site. As we’ve said, be transparent and don’t try to disguise your identity or purpose.

Remember:

  • You are the same person online and off.
  •  Your words hold the same meaning in person and online.
  • Your actions online speak louder than words said in person.

Grammar and Spelling Still Counts

The primary use of social media is through written communication, whether it is on a blog site, a written article or even just a personal web page. Because millions of people can view your site at one time, it is important to ensure that you are using the correct form of grammar and spelling.

It may seem like a minor thing to remember, but bad grammar or incorrect spelling can cause a negative representation on not only you but the company that employs you. It can misrepresent your education level and can discredit the knowledge you claim to possess.

Don’t just rely on computer spell check systems, since they do not always pick up every mistake. Be aware that you should always check your spelling and grammar!

One excellent tool is Grammarly that you can use to check your writing before publishing.

Never Post When You are Angry

A social media site is not a place for anger or negative emotions and feelings. When we are angry, we do not stop to think about our words or the effect they can have on people.

This is because our anger makes us focus only on ourselves and our feelings, which can distort how we portray ourselves.

This is why it is important that we do not post anything while we are angry or upset – it leads us to post things in haste and in a temper that we would not normally say, which can result in negative impressions and improper communications.

When we are angry, it is best to stay off of social media, so we are not tempted to post anything without thoroughly thinking about it.

Tips to remember when angry:

• Before posting anything, take a deep breath and think about what it for several minutes.
• Say what you want to post out loud to yourself. How does it sound?
• Determine if the words have the same meanings when you are angry and when you are not.
• If you feel you will be angry for a while, do not log onto a site to

So, before hitting post, makes sure you follow the above 8 rules and you will present yourself and your business in the best possible way.

Liza is the content manager and founder of The Content Hub. As a technology specialist she loves passing on her knowledge about the latest technology and best practices to her readers.

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