On this episode of The Social Profit Podcast, I’m going to answer Richard’s question on how to automate your social media activities.
Here is the question:
How does a senior citizen, overwhelmed with the social networks, bring some form of automation to the frenzied inter-relationship of the email, twitter, facebook, blog, etc?
That is a great question and I completely understand your pain Richard. I can assure you that everyone is overwhelmed by today’s technology and since social media and digital marketing in general rely heavily on technology, it’s really hard to keep up with all the updates, trends, tactics and new technologies.
Today you could hear that Twitter has changed their profile design. The next day, Facebook is changing their advertising dashboard. The next week, LinkedIn is introducing a new blogging platform for businesses. I mean, how can you not be overwhelmed by all of this?
Blogging alone is a full time job, let alone having to post updates on your social profiles every single day in addition to creating newsletters, lead magnets, landing pages, responding to emails and the list goes on and on and on!
However, the great news is that there is a solution to this overwhelm!
Yes, there is!
And it is one of the simplest solutions that we always seem to miss!
It’s effectively using the Pareto principle in your business.
What Is The Pareto Principle?
Also, called the 80-20 rule, it simply states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. There is a common rule in business that I’m sure you all heard of which suggests that 80% of the sales comes from 20% of clients.
The same thing applies to social media. 80% of the results come only from 20% of the effort. The reason many businesses get overwhelmed is that they focus on too many things that have no effect on their bottom-line!
Here is an example:
Let’s say that you’re a health coach who’s providing consulting services to clients. Let’s also assume that you work 8 hours per day doing all various tasks (creating content, promoting your business on social media, guest blogging…etc). What that basically means is that only 20% of those actions you take every day are responsible for 80% of your income. In other words, roughly 80% of your effort is a waste of time. Imagine how much your business will improve if you devote the time you spend on those 80% ineffective actions to those 20% effective ones?
A common mistake business owners make all the time is spreading themselves too thin by focusing on too many things.
Many hear that social media is great so they go and create an account on every social network they know about. They hear that blogging is great, so they go and start creating a ton of content. They hear that email marketing does wonders, so they go and create heaps of content for their email campaigns as well.
Several months down the road with tons of wasted resources and nothing to show for it, they feel overwhelmed and ready to quit this whole thing called digital marketing!
So, if your business objective is to generate more leads, then focus most of your effort on meeting that objective. Don’t let anyone distract you from your goals. Only make sure you dedicate a little bit of effort into exploring new platforms and tactics so you can always find new effective ways to meeting your business objectives.
So that being said, let’s see how we can bring some form of automation to our digital marketing efforts.
Social Media Marketing Automation Tools and Tactics
Buffer is a huge time saver for me personally as well as for all of my clients. They offer a browser extension that you can install to instantly post your social media updates.
What makes this platform great isn’t its scheduling capabilities, because there are tons of other platforms that can do that. It’s actually the simplicity of the platform that makes it unique. When you schedule your posts via Bufferapp, you don’t actually have to specify when to post each time you’re about to tweet something. You only specify the times once and never worry about them again. When you tweet something for example, the update goes into the queue so it gets posted at those pre-specified times.
How do you specify those optimal times when you should post to your social platforms so you can get the best results?
Well there is another great tool by Moz called “FollowerWonk” that you can use to determine the best times to post on your social profiles. Once that is done, you can easily (with a click of a button) export those times to Buffer and you’re good to go.
This will save you tons of time having to manually schedule each update every time you have something to share!
The second tool that you can use to automate not only your social media marketing, but practically anything digital is called IFTTT. Stands for If This Than That. This tool is hands-down one of the most powerful tools I use to run my business. It has thousands of pre-programmed recipes you can use to automate everything online. Here are some examples of its use:
If I publish an article, automatically post it to my Twitter account.
If a particular blog publishes a new article, send me an email or a text message.
If it’s going to rain tomorrow, send me a notification!
The use of this app is literally limitless.
The great thing about it is that if you don’t find a particular recipe in their library (which has thousands of recipes), you can easily create any recipe you need in a matter of minutes!
Another similar tool to IFTTT is Zapier. Their mission statement is “Automate The Web” and that’s exactly what they do! These tools alone will save you tons of time and effort.
Another great tool you can use to automate you social media posting is DLVR.IT.
What this tool does is basically updating all of your social profiles automatically each time your publish something on your blog. This includes your Twitter profiles, your Facebook personal profile and business page, Facebook groups, LinkedIn profiles, company pages and groups, Google+ pages, Tumblr, Delicious and a bunch of other services.
Another tool that you can use if you’re promoting your business via Facebook is Post Planner. What this brilliant platform allows you to do is finding viral and trending content in your industry so you can share it on your Facebook page.
The Post Planner folks state that you’re going to save 2 hours each and every day if you heavily use Facebook to promote your business. John Haydon (the author of Facebook marketing for dummies) calls it the ASPIRIN for your Facebook marketing pain and it truly is!
They also have a status ideas engine which basically gives you proven to work Facebook status updates that you can post to get more likes, shares, comments a clicks!
Now that we covered how you can automate some of the time consuming social media tasks, let’s talk about how you can save time on email.
Email Automation Tools and Tactics
I know for a fact that email is a nightmare for many businesses. As much as it helps you bring more revenue for your business, it could literally consume your life!
However, not if you apply the 80-20 rule we talked about earlier. If you can identify the 20% of email tasks that bring 80% of the results, email will stop being such a time consuming medium and starts becoming a bottom-line contributor!
If only 2 newsletters are helping you achieve your specific business goals, then why would you stay subscribed to 10 others who are probably distracting you and wasting your time.
The key here is to only focus on tasks that are helping you achieve your business goals whether it’s getting more clients, providing exceptional customer service OR partnering with influencers in your market.
There is also a system developed by Merlin Mann which will help you reduce the time you spend reading and responding to emails. The system is called Inbox Zero.
Here are some useful article that explain this concept.
Here is a great video by Derek Halpern!
Also, if you use email marketing to promote your business, then there is a set of tools that can help you save tons of time and effort.
I use Aweber (aff) and it has several automation features such as: automatically emailing your lists each time you update your blog OR setting up an email autoresponder sequence that you can use to nurture your leads without having to do anything besides writing and scheduling emails upfront.
If you’re looking for more advanced automation functionality, then you can use tools like InfusionSoft which basically lets you automate a large set of time-consuming tasks and helps you convert more prospects into paying customers.
So there you have it! A set of tools and tactics that will help you save lots of time and effort promoting your business. One thing to keep in mind is to always focus on the things that are helping you achieve your business goals. If you keep that in mind, none of your resources will be wasted.
See you in the next episode. Take care!