It’s hard to stay consistent with social media marketing, especially if you’re running or starting a small business doing everything yourself. But social media is crucial for business in today’s world, and consistency is the most important factor.
But it’s haaaard Adam, you say. It’s time-consuming, I want my posts to be perfect, sometimes I don’t know what to post, there are so many channels to keep updated, I can’t stop checking them, and… trust me, I know!
I struggle massively to be consistent with my business’s social media.. it just doesn’t come naturally to me. Some people seem to thrive on social media and enjoy using it both personally and for their business. They’re predisposed to reaching for their camera or their phone, they’re energised by the effort and attention instead of being drained by it. If that sounds like you, you probably don’t need to read this post! Social media just feels more like work to me.
That’s compounded by the fact that I value privacy and being present in the moment over sharing publicly in my personal life.. values which are becoming more and more out of place in this modern world. If I could delete all my social media, live comfortably, and surf every day, I would! But that doesn’t gel with running a small business or the way I do live my life so I have to find a balance.
So having said that, this post is as much about ways I’ve found to help me stay consistent on my business’s social media channels as it is about ways to avoid it consuming your life and time.
What’s the goal of your social media marketing
It’s for your business right? The goal is to make money. You need your audience to buy your products or service.
Buuuut, social media is playing the long game. The number one function of social media for a business is to build a relationship with its audience. And it’s hard to build a relationship if you’re always trying to sell them something.
You want your audience to have a good feeling about your brand and get to know and trust you, so that when they need or are in a position to buy what you’re selling then they will come to you.
Why social media consistency is important for your business
You are trying to cultivate relationships. I’m sure you have that friend or acquaintance who you don’t hear from for months on end and then hear from out of the blue and they ask you for something.. how do you feel about that person at that moment? That is why social media consistency is important above all else. Don’t make your business that person.
Your audience is bombarded by advertisements and information all the time. There are other businesses and distractions always fighting for your audience’s attention. Keeping on top of social media keeps you in the front of your audience’s minds.
There’s an old adage in marketing called the Rule of 7 which states that a business has to reach its customers seven times before they’ll take action and buy. The number isn’t important but the idea that you have to have consistent positive contact with your potential customers is.
To stay consistent is to stay relevant, and to present as reliable. So, without further ado, here are the things I’ve learned.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself for quality and perfection
A big problem I had with my social accounts for my surf photography business is that I set the bar for content too high. I was only posting images that I was ready to print and sell. It was a vicious cycle because I’d feel like I’d created an expectation in my audience for the type and quality of content that I would post and I felt pressure to live up to it.
This meant I wouldn’t post photos taken with my phone or other content I could create and share quickly and easily, even though I’m sure those kinds of posts would have contributed to the goal of building a relationship with my audience.
I still want to post quality content, but I’ve realised that that can come in different forms. This lets me relax and have fun with it a lot more.
Only use as many social media channels as you can handle
There are so many platforms. In an ideal world, your business would be present and active on them all to make sure you reach aaaall your potential customers.
But if it’s just you behind the scenes, it’s not realistic. Social media can be a full-time job and you’ve other business tasks to focus on, never mind actually having personal time too!
It’s made worse if you have multiple projects. I run surfpreneur.co, a surf photography business, I’m a surf and SUP instructor, and I do a couple other things.. At first, I was determined to have separate social accounts for all my projects. That quickly adds up. Am I going to run three Instagram and Twitter accounts, two Facebook business pages, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat…? Absolutely not! It’s overwhelming.
I’m lucky that most of the things I do online are related and can be grouped together in a ‘personal brand’, so I’ve recently changed my strategy to mainly running only one Facebook business page and one Instagram account. I’d rather be able to focus on one or two channels and give them the attention and effort they need than to spread myself thin over multiple channels and end up neglecting them all. Instagram is most relevant to my core audience. I’d be quite happy just using it.
Make coming up with post ideas a breeze
Ever get the feeling that you should post something but you don’t know what so you give it a few seconds thought and then put it back on the to-do list to be ignored for another day? I do the easy stuff on the list first and then procrastinate instead of doing the difficult tasks. But I still feel like I’ve accomplished something! You know..
It’s all about making it easy. I have a list of different post types for my social channels that I can mix up and have a constant variety of different post ideas. For example, my Instagram account’s list is:
- Prints on the wall / customer photos
- Quality water photographs
- Lifestyle phone photos (behind the scenes)
- GoPro clips of surfing
- Photos taken of me surfing
I combine having a list of different post types with keeping an eye on competitors and industry leaders in my niche for inspiration on how they use social media. I’m never stuck for ideas!
It’s also a good idea to keep a couple posts in reserve so if you’re having a slow week (normally for me when there are no waves), you’ll still have something to post.
Make it as easy as possible to make a post
If you make posting on social media easy you’re more likely to actually do it. We’ve all got our phones on us all the time, so if you’re not setting a restrictively high bar on quality you can have a convenient and quick process from idea to post.
For phone photos, I do a quick edit on my phone using Snapseed and then post directly to Instagram. I’ll do the same for Facebook. I have a Twitter account but it’s not my favourite platform by a long way so I’ve set up a Zapier process to automate posting my Instagram posts to Twitter. I don’t think this is ideal but if it means I post more and spend less time on social media then I’ll take it! I can still make posts unique to Twitter if I have a post that suits that platform better (like blog posts!).
You can make use of other online tools to make the process easier as well depending on your needs. I’ve used Buffer in the past and I found it helpful for scheduling posts on multiple platforms in advance.
Once your post is done, it’s done
I can’t help it. When I post something I’ll check over and over on how it’s being received. Likes, comments, shares. Refresh. Likes, comments, shares. I’m trying hard not to do this.
It’s worth remembering that when it’s done it’s done. It’s just one social post in a constant stream of thousands of posts all over the world. There are 500 million Tweets sent each day or 6000 every second.I like to think of Twitter as a big theatre completely filled with people all screaming their opinions out and ignoring everyone else.Click To Tweet
Let it go and get on with something else!
Keep a schedule / content calendar
This is something I’ve not yet committed for social media as my channels are more in the vein of a ‘personal brand’. I’m getting away with posting whenever I have shareable content from the various things I do. But it would allow the right kind of small business to set aside a little time every week or month to schedule all their social posts at once. That would be a significant timesaver and almost guarantee consistency.
Here’s a useful blog post about Content Calendars from Buffer.
This is something I am going to do with surfpreneur.co in the future. Watch this space.
Consider hiring someone to help
At the end of the day, you can spend as much or as little time on social media as you like. But to do it well, spending more time intelligently is the way forward. If your business or project is making money it’s worth considering the cost of the time you spend updating your social media channels. Could you spend your time better elsewhere? It could well be worth hiring a freelancer to do some or all the work for you. But then you’d have to give up some control..
Shameless plug: I offer content marketing and social media work amongst other things at adamwrites.co
As small business owners, we often have a perfectionist, almost obsessive, personality type. We do all the work and make everything happen ourselves. We are extremely invested in our own success. Combine that with social media and you have a dangerous combination when it comes to mental health. Find a balance that suits you.
Here’s an interesting piece from Forbes about social media fatigue in small business owners.
Do you have any tips on how you stay consistent on social media? Let me know in the comments and drop me a link to your social media channel.
Thanks for reading, see you in the comments!