Managing your time can be hard enough when running your own small creative business. You are often the sole person responsible for producing your products, creating your art, promoting your business, and making sales. You’re also responsible for all of the backend business related stuff like your own taxes, website management, and social media marketing - this last task can often seem like the most daunting and time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be!
There are many programs (free and paid) that you can utilize to streamline your social media marketing. Let’s say you have 5-8 social media accounts like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn that you want to regularly update for your small business. In order to continually post quality information to each of these platforms, you might be looking at a minimum of 1-2 hours a day. That’s just not feasible. So what do you do? You could have less platforms, but even 2-3 can be too time consuming and a bad business move.
Types of social media accounts
Before we get started on how to streamline your process, let’s make sure you are starting on the right foot. First, the social media accounts you have should usually be business accounts. I am careful here to say ‘usually’ because if your brand is your personal brand, there are instances where a personal social media account would suite you fine.
If you are an artist, you may think a personal account is the way to go since art is such a personal thing to sell. As an artist, you are a small business owner and need to treat your business as a business, so a business account is highly recommended. Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn have very specific business type accounts. For Twitter and Instagram, simply make a new account for your business.
- Facebook business pages will help you separate your personal life from your business. Learn more here from Facebook.
- Convert your personal Pinterest account to a business account by following this simple process: https://business.pinterest.com/en. With a business page, you will have access to analytics which will be a critical part of your business strategy. Learn more here: HOW PINTEREST CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS // PINTEREST FOR SMALL BUSINESS
- LinkedIn has a few hard requirements for creating a business account. You have to have a complete profile, over 50 connections, an email domain with your company name, and several other items before you can create a page. Learn more here from LinkedIn.
Get set up
If you do not have any of the social media accounts noted above and you have a creative small business, you will want to do at least this as a minimum:
(Note: The links in numbers 1-6 are external links provided by each platform so you will always have updated information on how to link your accounts together)
- Sign up for Facebook and create a business Page
- Sign up for Twitter (you can log-in with your Facebook account)
- Sign up for Pinterest (you can log-in with Facebook or Twitter), make this a business account
- If you already have a Pinterest account, convert it to a business account
- You can link Facebook and Twitter to Pinterest so when you pin something, it will go out as a post or tweet here.
- Sign up for Instagram (you can log-in with Facebook)
- You can link you Facebook and Instagram accounts together here.
- Sign up for Twibble.io (you can sign-up with Twitter). This is how you can shorten your URL’s so you can get more characters in your tweets.
- Sign up for Canva (you can sign-up with Facebook). This is a great free option to create cover pages for blogs, photos with filters or text going across them, and more.
And don’t forget to brand each of your social media accounts! Use your logo, colors, and post relevant brand-related content. Creating your banners and logo images to the correct sizes can be frustrating since each platform is slightly different. Also, knowing when to post can be a challenge to figure out. For both of these, go here for some easy to follow cheat sheets!
There are several programs available online you can use to automate how you manage your multiple social media platforms. Some advantages to using one of these programs are:
- Preschedule your content. Instead of trying to remember to post to each platform throughout the day, you can add content to a scheduler that will post your content at your preset times. This is a life saver! Also, by prescheduling your content, you seem to be on social media a lot more throughout the day and appear more consistent to your followers.
- Post to multiple platforms at once. Sure you can link your accounts together from the steps noted above, but that only goes so far. As you can see, it can be complicated to remember if you post to one account, which one of the others will get updated?
- Auto formatting. Each social media platform has different requirements for number of characters (Twitter is famous for their 140 count) and cropping of photos/images. I usually stick with less than 140 characters and images that are suitable for Pinterest (long and skinny) with any wording at the center of the image. This has worked pretty well for posting across multiple platforms.
- Time saver! Spend an hour each Saturday morning prescheduling your posts for the week. Schedule 5 posts per day, over 7 days, that’s 35 posts at a minimum. That’s completely doable! No more excuses for not having enough time to be on social media. You want to constantly “be out there”, posting your own content and relevant content by others.
So now you’re sold that you need to at least look into auto scheduling. But how? And where? And more importantly, how much will this cost?
Automate your process with a scheduling program
There are a few online programs you can use to schedule your posts. My two favorite are Buffer and Hootsuite. Each come with their pro’s and con’s for the free and paid versions. I tried Buffer for about a year before they removed a free feature that I really liked. It was basically a feed of articles that you could pull from and schedule right there.
I’ve since moved to Hootsuite and will never go back. Hootsuite uses, in my opinion, a much better platform and their internet browser plug-in is superb.
- Buffer: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+
- Hootsuite: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest (via Tailwind), LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, YouTube
With their browser plug-in, you can auto schedule or post immediately to multiple social media accounts:
Choose to post now to several of your accounts, or schedule for later.
Hootsuite uses a widget style layout where you can view multiple social media profiles at the same time. Within each profile, you can view your scheduled posts, draft posts, your actual feed, and more.
So how much for an upgraded version of these two services?
The free plan with Hootsuite gets you quite a bit, but I have upgraded to the pro: https://hootsuite.com/plans
Buffer is free as long as you only schedule 10 posts at a time: https://buffer.com/pricing
Lastly, you can use both the free linking between your social media sites and a scheduler. Let’s say you want to stay with the free version of Hootsuite and can only use 3 social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), but you have a 4th you want to use (Pinterest). You can simply use Hootsuite for Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, and have Twitter be updated by anything you post on Facebook.
Bonus: For Pinterest, I use BoardBooster which is a Pinterest specific scheduling program. I pin what I want on secret boards that act like a bank of pins to be pinned later per your pinning schedule. I then have Twitter and Facebook automatically updated with these pins.
Get started with automating your social media business accounts and you will see how much time you save. Your next step will be to use a scheduling program.