By Alexandra Zamfir

July 8th, 2016

Since I began working in social media, I’ve become more fixated on routine than a volatile toddler.

Social media’s real-time demand can have you attached to a screen around the clock. Working in social media demands that you follow trends while they happen, and stay current on industry news and influencer opinions. It’s easy to walk around with an “if only there were more hours in the day” feeling in this job.

I learned early on that setting a weekly schedule for myself was the only way to get away from my computer at some point with any sense of accomplishment. For me, this includes a set hour in the morning and an hour just after lunch for reading.

Plan out your tasks
The process of ‘writing down’ your tasks is a really simple way to start prioritizing and planning what you need to get done. And if you can tie your ‘to do’ list into the wider marketing strategy, so much the better.

One of the biggest challenges in SoMe is matching activities with results. There are so many moments in the customer journey, that sometimes this can feel like the impossible task. As an SMM, I need to be structured and use the correct tracking methods and tools, that allow me to make sense of my efforts, and to prove the value of each action to the rest of the team.

Every campaign has a number of stages and tasks that need to be completed, every week of every quarter. Typically this plan is recorded centrally, so it is simply a case of using this list to map out my own tasks. Taking this approach also ensures that my checklist of tasks is directly related to strategy, and provides evidence towards the marketing team’s KPIs.

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Block and hide
Social media is constantly evolving and I need to spend time staying abreast of every new development. Facebook may be well-established, but they are constantly adding new features like Facebook Live that I need to master if I am to stay engaged with our customers. I also need to stay on top of the frequent algorithm changes employed by Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to ensure that our shared content is as effective as possible.

This is one of the most exciting and enjoyable parts of my job – but it’s also time-consuming. Reading about a new tool or technique is completely different from actually using it. That’s why it’s absolutely vital to block out some time every week to test and experiment with new updates, looking for how they may best be used in our social campaigns.

If your organization is meeting-happy, the demands on your time can also be a real pain point. In this situation, I recommend two things:

  1. Blocking off sacred time in your schedule every day for research and reading
  2. Hiding.

Enormous headphones are not often enough of a signal to leave you undisturbed at your desk. I often find an unused meeting room or the second-most convenient coffee shop to get my reading done and take notes. This is the only way I can be sure I’m using my research and experimentation time effectively and optimally.

headphones

While helpful and fashionable, sometimes headphones are not enough.

Be the defender of your time
No one wants to be seen as pedantic or inflexible when it comes to being part of a team, but sticking to a schedule and defending the time you’ve blocked off improves your work and job satisfaction in the long run. But there’s more to blocking time than simply making yourself unavailable.

Proper scheduling should also include time to collaborate with your colleagues – doing so will ensure that you better use that time to communicate internally more effectively too. Here at Falcon.io we have recently implemented a ‘no meeting Thursday’, helping to provide some much-needed focus for when we are working alone and together.

Use tools to save more time
The social media manager’s time is incredibly valuable. The more time you can save on administration, the more you have available to focus on your community.

Applying Falcon’s Audience tool correctly allows me to gain detailed customer insights without spending hours trawling all of our social channels. The tool automates many of the usual listening and data aggregation activities I do every day, saving me valuable time in the process.

I can then use this information to create content tailored to each audience and their needs. This targeting helps to boost engagement and increases the value of every activity because I’m not wasting time on tasks that are of little or no value.

Building effective processes
As your social program grows, the number of people trying to engage with your business will grow exponentially. Unfortunately, you will still only have the same number of hours each week to interact with them.

To help maximize my time, I have built a number of processes to help streamline my activities. These are supported, and (wherever possible) automated, using an effective social media management platform to free up valuable time for those tasks that need my undivided attention. It is vital that this system has a sufficient level of customization so that I can alter processes as circumstances change.

I am constantly working to build and maintain a network of key employee advocates. This is crucial to my activities, as the latest research shows that when employees share content it gets more reach and more engagement than when a company does. People want to hear from people, and employees are the way to humanize your brand. For this, I organize onboarding and training sessions with employees to introduce them to our social activities and explain the positive impact their actions have on our brand name.

Time is my most valuable resource, so anything I can do to create more allows me to offer our customers a better experience. Planning, automation, and improved reporting are all essential to this process – check out our Ultimate Guide to Social Media Management below for even more insights to save you time.

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