Your time is valuable, so be as effective and efficient with social media as possible to make sure that you’re not spending far more time than you need to be in doing this marketing work. I’ve got 5 tips to help you with that today (plus 2 bonuses).
If growing your audience is important to you, commit to making a significant effort on social media. Friends say to me, “I see you everywhere . . . do you have an assistant?” And while I do have an assistant for some tasks, I handle social media on my own. So how do I keep up? I reserve a weekly block of time for managing social media, I follow a strategy, and I use automation tools.
Block out time for social media
Whether you are using paid automation tools or not, you can schedule one block of time during the week to prepare your content ahead of time, which helps you stay aligned with your strategy and be more efficient, since you’re not dedicating time each day thinking what to post and distracting yourself from your other work.
Take a focused approach to social media
Make sure that you know what social media outlets you need to be on to reach your ideal buyer. Then pick one or two platforms and focus your energy and attention on them. Go all in on one or two, including doing things that might be a little scary such as live video. Use all the tools provided to you on your platform of choice before you add another social media outlet to your mix.
The three I typically recommend for artists are Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, though your ideal buyer might be on SnapChat, LinkedIn, or Tumblr, so make sure you consider all of your options rather than just choosing what everyone else is doing.
Develop a content strategy
Don’t worry—I’m not saying that you need to put together a massive strategy document or hire someone to tell you what your content strategy needs to be. I’m talking about creating a list of categories for content that you’re planning to share. This helps you to be strategic rather than reactive, so that you don’t end up sharing only photos of your dog or your garden.
I like to theme certain days of the week to help me create content and make sure I’m getting important information out there. My categories include Motivation Monday, Marketing Tip Tuesday, and Friday/Saturday Funnies. I also make a point to share work from my members at least once a week.
Here are some content category ideas that you could use:
Motivation Mondays – You might choose to post weekly inspirational quotes, perhaps on Mondays. You could call the category Motivation or Inspiration, where you share what gets you going, and some of the inspiration behind your work.
Work in Process Wednesdays – Even if you haven’t created that content ahead of time, you can snap a photo of what you’re doing in your studio or even what you’re doing in your business. If you’re working on a proposal for custom work, for example, you can share your excitement about that.
Toot My Own Horn Tuesdays – (Sorry, I may have jumped the shark with that one. You’ll forgive me right?) Of course, you need to promote your work, which means saying, “This piece is for sale, and here’s how you can buy it.” Having a category for promoting your work will help you remember it and not just conveniently “forget it.” I think sometimes it’s really easy to think, “Promoting myself feels kind of icky.” But if you have a plan a promoting your work 2 to 3 times a week, then it’s done. You’ve checked the box.
Inside the Studio – Show your studio and the process behind your work.
Know/Like/Trust (personal) Content: One category that might make you uncomfortable is personal content, but try thinking about instead as your “know, like, and trust” content. These days, you need to be sharing something about yourself because people want to get to know the person behind the work. How far do you go with this one? It’s up to you of course, but consider showing a few moments from your personal life, like a hike with friends, a favorite pastime, a funny story, or of course, a picture of your furry friend.
Automation tools—are they right for you?
Automation tools can definitely help you be efficient with your social media marketing work, but are they right for you? Before automating, you should be comfortable creating content for your social media platforms, and you should understand what success looks like for you. What are your results? If what you’re doing is not successful, and then you automate it, you’re just going to speed up the process of not succeeding. You don’t want to automate only to “fail faster.”
With automation, aim to be more efficient with your social media time rather than trying to spend less time overall. Automation can lessen the amount of time you spend, but if you’re already overwhelmed with the amount of time you’re currently spending, I would recommend going back to the question of primary platforms and paring your platforms down to one or two. Decide which platform is your primary social media location that you want to have your business present on, and put the other ones aside for a little while.
How to use social media automation tools
Let’s use my business as an example. Instagram is my primary platform. I have a paid subscription to Tailwind, which is the tool that I use to automate my Instagram postings. I create all of my content for Instagram once a week, which takes me about 45 minutes. I add that content to Tailwind and it posts to Instagram for me automatically.
To manage my Facebook page, I use a tool called SmarterQueue. Because SmarterQueue allows me to manage more than one profile, I get more bang for my buck by sending my Facebook content to Twitter and LinkedIn as well. Here’s a blog post I wrote for more detail on how I use SmarterQueue and other social media automation tools like Buffer.
Another thing I like about SmarterQueue is that it allows me to re-post my content. This helps me reach my audience in more ways, because people don’t necessarily see a post the first time it appears on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. (Research has shown that it’s a good idea to post the same content multiple times.) With SmarterQueue I am able to create content, add it to my queue for social media, and have this tool re-post it for me a few times and then expire it. As you can imagine, this is a big boost in efficiency—and it helps me reach more people with my message.
I use BoardBooster to automate pinning to Pinterest. Tailwind does this as well, but I don’t think it does it as well as BoardBooster does. I create content that I put in “buckets” on BoardBooster, and BoardBooster automatically publishes those pins to Pinterest. But again, I’m the person behind it. No one’s automatically curating content for me. I’m doing that myself. Everything you see comes from me; it just happens to be aided by some of these tools.
Use Canva for social media graphics
This is not a social media management tool, but it plays a big role in my social media marketing. It’s Canva! I use Canva to create all my social media graphics. Even though I am a graphic designer, I prefer Canva to Adobe Illustrator or any of the other design tools because it’s easy, they provide lots of tips, and you can create beautiful social media posts like my Motivation Monday posts that I share on Instagram. I suggest checking it out if you haven’t already.
How to curate content for Facebook, Twitter, and other outlets
I’ve mentioned that you can CREATE content in Canva, but how do you CURATE it? That is, how do you gather all the information you’d like to share? Once you become more efficient with your social media management, you’ll have more time to focus on curating and creating content. One way is to subscribe to a handful of email newsletters that have interesting content for your audience and go through them weekly to find interesting stories, information, or images to share, and put them into your automation tools.
Here’s a tool for saving content that you find while browsing the internet: It’s called Pocket, which is a little extension that you can add to your browser. When you come across something interesting on the web, you can save it in your “pocket,” and then look in your pocket once a week when it’s time to schedule your content. There are, of course, many bookmarking tools out there. I like to use Pocket because it saves quickly and I use it exclusively for social content, so it is easy for me to view my saved list of content and choose what to share.
Make sure you know your primary social media outlet(s) and focus your time there. Block time in your calendar weekly to create and curate social media content, even if you don’t use automation tools. You can absolutely benefit from planning your content in a 45-minute session, rather than being distracted daily, trying to think about what to post on social media. And then, once you’re seeing success on your social media platforms, consider automating so you can be more efficient.
Create a marketing plan for your thriving art business
Take a look at the course I’ve got coming up, Create a Marketing Plan for Your Thriving Art Business. The course will help you go from being confused about what you need to be doing for marketing to having a strategy in place that you have created yourself based around your ideal buyer, your brand, and your work, so you can have authenticity in your marketing. You’ll go from confused to confident.
Here’s to working smarter not harder on social media!