social media simplified

How do you schedule content?

Don't get overwhelmed at the idea of posting content on social channels regularly, write it in bulk (or get someone else to do it) and then schedule it! (Here's some inspiration for finding good content to schedule too.)

How do I schedule my social content?

There are lots of different tools that can do this. I'm going to talk about scheduling straight to Facebook and two tools that will let you schedule to multiple other channels. 

Scheduling directly to Facebook

I can't help but be a bit of a pessimist when it comes to Facebook not penalizing third party apps when posting to your Facebook page. That means that I recommend that when you schedule content to Facebook, you do it right in Facebook.

The good news is that it's really simple. When you go to your Facebook page, write the post as you would if you were posting it right away. Instead of clicking post, click to the right of post and select Schedule

Editing or making changes is just as easy by going to the very top of your Facebook page and selecting Publishing Tools and then going in to your scheduled posts tab on the left.

Using Hootsuite for scheduling

Hootsuite is a tool that I use more for engaging and organizing my content (mostly Twitter in fact) but it has a lot of capabilities for scheduling. A free account lets you connect 3 accounts and a paid account will let you add more accounts and more users. 

Hootsuite connects to:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook (personal account, pages and groups)
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • Wordpress

Scheduling is easy and you can schedule the same content to multiple channels (as long as that makes sense - remember that most of the time you want to use different language and tone depending on the channel). Select the channel you want to schedule to from the dropdown on the left and select the calendar to open up the scheduling options.

There are two easy ways to find the content afterwards if you want to change anything. Either select the publisher icon on the left hand toolbar (it looks like a paper airplane)

or create a stream for scheduled content, which is my preferred way of doing it. 

Using Buffer to schedule content

The tool that I use the most for scheduling is Buffer. Like Hootsuite it has limited capability unless you have a paid account (which I have).

Buffer connects to:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook (personal, page or group)
  • LinkedIn (personal or page)
  • Google+
  • Pinterest

You can schedule to multiple channels at once and easily access your scheduled content by selecting your channel on the left hand side and viewing the queue tab.

bufferqueue.png

Buffer also has a plugin you can install to Chrome that makes it easy for you to schedule content as you're browsing the web. It even has an advanced schedule that lets you schedule the content to post more than once, which is handy for scheduling your own new content.

 

Which tool should you pick?

A lot of what you pick comes down to preference. Scheduling will take a lot of the daily pressure off of your online marketing work, so even though learning a new tool can feel like a big time commitment it will save you time in the long run - for real :) 

I find Buffer a bit easier to use because everything is bigger and there is more white space. Hootsuite has the ability to see more at once which can make it a more useful dashboard for some. I recommend you give both a try with the free version and see if you have a preference.

Leave me a comment and let me know what tool you have been using for scheduling and what you like about it. I know there are some I didn't mention too!

Tell your audience why you're worth their time

Once you've figured out why you're using online marketing, who you're talking to and what you want them to know, you have to convince people to pay attention. One thing business owners overlook when they ask people to sign up for their email newsletter, like them on Facebook or follow them on Instagram is sharing what's in it for them.

What are you giving your audience?

You need to figure out what your audience values and what you can give them.

There is too much content online for people to spend time reading things they don't care about. That means you need to really understand what your audience is looking for and give them that.

It's about them - not you. The happier you make them, the more likely they are to spend money with you down the line. You're building a relationship with your audience where they value you, your expertise and your content.

How do you know what they want?

You need to figure out the perfect blend between what you want people to know about you, what you're trying to achieve and what they want. It can be tricky to navigate this, so here are a few examples:

For me, I share content. I sell my knowledge, but I also give it away. Why give it away? People who follow me online are looking for knowledge and by giving them some for free they a) believe I know what I'm talking about, b) get a taste for what they could get by paying to work with me, and c) start to appreciate what they got for free and think of me as their go-to person.

Another example would be someone who sells cooking tools. Their audience wants to cook. What can they share with them? Tips on how to cook efficiently, recipes they can make, tips on cooking for a family or cooking for a party. They are giving them information that their audience wants while reinforcing that they sell great cooking tools that can make cooking even easier/better.

A third example would be a personal trainer. They need to convince people that they know what they're doing, share tips on things they can do now on their own, and demonstrate that they understand the demographic they want to work with. If they love to work with new moms, they need to share photos and articles about being a new mom, fitness for a new mom, understanding the difficulties of fitting fitness in as a new mom. That messaging, the articles shared and the things new moms would want to work on are very different than that of say a 45-year old man looking to get in shape.

Putting the pieces together to provide value for your audience, while not forgetting what you're trying to achieve can feel overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. By breaking down each piece and then pulling them together, your marketing message will become clear.

If you need any help brainstorming, book one of my 45-minute coaching calls and I'll help you work through it all!

Social Media Simplified: Filling up your key message buckets

There are three things you need to have a solid understanding of to find success with online marketing: goalsaudience and what you want people to know.

Today we're going to talk about the final piece - what you want people to know, otherwise known as your key messages.

What do you want people to know about your business?

When I'm working one-on-one with business owners I ask them what makes their business stand out, what makes them different, what are they proud of and what should everyone know about their business?

Think about these questions for a minute or two and then write down 3 or 4 answers. Here are a few examples:

  • I simplify social media
  • We have experts on site that can help you figure out what product is the best for you
  • Exercise will make you feel better
  • We use only the best quality local ingredients

If you're struggling to figure out what your key messages are, go back to your goals and your audience and think about both of them. What do people need to know or believe for you to reach your goals? What would convince your audience that you're a good fit for them?

Here are a few more examples of key messages:

  • Yoga during pregnancy can help during labour and delivery
  • A personal chef service can save you money
  • Kids don't need a lot of toys to be happy

What do you do with this information?

Now that you have these key messages figured out, what do you do with them? Let your key messages guide your content.

I like to think of key messages as buckets. Each bucket has a key message on the outside and every piece of content that I share, whether it be something that I wrote or something that I found, supports one of my key messages. For example:

An article that shows how much food the average family throws out in a week - I can put it in the bucket showing that a personal chef service can save you money by cutting down on waste created by those meals you meant to cook, but never got around to.

An article on how 10 minutes of walking a day can increase quality of life - I can put that in the bucket that says exercise will make you feel better.

I can share a photo of some ingredients that just got dropped off by a local farmer and tag the farm - that falls into the bucket about using the best quality local ingredients.

I can share a blog post about how to set up a Facebook page step-by-step - that falls into my I simplify social media bucket.

You now have a method for qualifying content - if something doesn't fall into one of the buckets, does it really make sense for you to share it? Maybe, but the answer more often is no.

You have buckets to fill. Challenge yourself to find 3 or 4 things that back up each of your key messages. Write some tips, take some photos, write a blog post or share some articles that prove your point. 

Leave a comment and let me know what some of your key messages are what kind of content you can put in each bucket to back those key messages up!

Social Media Simplified: Who is my audience?

When you're using online marketing to promote your small business one of the most important pieces of the puzzle is to understand who you're talking to. Why? You need to have a very clear idea of who your audience is if you want to create content that will have an impact on them. 

Be specific about who you want to work with

who is my ideal audience

I've done a lot of work around helping business' narrow their audience. When asked who their audience is, the inclination for them to say their audience is, "whoever wants to spend money with them" is strong. I get that. We want people to spend money with us and the fear is that if we're too specific we'll alienate a huge group of people with money in their pockets.

The problem is if your content is not specific then it becomes too generic and has no meaning or impact at all.

Let's use an example: If I say "Learn about social media!" it leaves many unanswered questions, such as:

Who should learn?

For personal use or business use?

For entrepreneurs or government?

On a huge budget or a shoestring budget? 

Without all of that information weaved into your content, almost everyone will assume you're not talking to them. A statement like that is less effective than being specific and having a small subset of the population feel like you're talking to them.

HOW specific do you really need to get?

The best way to REALLY figure out who your ideal client is and how to connect with them is to imagine one specific person. Imagine everything about them. How old are they? Are they married or single? How much money do they earn? How do they like to spend their leisure time? What do they like to read? What publications do they respect?

Keep in mind, you won't be sharing this information with anyone, you just want to really narrow down the kind of person you like working with. This information will help you figure out what kind of content they're going to like seeing, and also where you can find more people like that.

What do you do with this information?

This is going to become more clear as I work through this series, but for now it is important for you to remember that not every audience likes the same kind of content. You wouldn't talk to an 18 year old single student the way you would a 42 year old married professional. The language is different, the content is different, and what they value is different. 

Once you really understand who you're talking to, you can select content that has the right tone of voice, the right kinds of things to make jokes about, and the right kinds of articles that will appeal to them without being directly about your business. By taking the time to do your homework on who your audience is, you're creating opportunity to find valuable content to share with them, and by sharing valuable content, YOU become valuable.

Spend some time figuring this out

Spend some time thinking about your best and favourite customers. This is a great place to start. What is it about them that makes them the kind of person you like to work with? Use that information to start narrowing down YOUR ideal customer. Here are some questions to help you figure it out:

Gender:

Age:

Marital Status:

Income Level:

Do they have a family:

What do they value:

Where do they learn new things:

What are their favourite publications:

What do they like to do in their spare time:

Now that we've talked about goals and audience, next time we're going to talk about key messages!

 

It's been a very good year...

This year has been an exciting year of growth for us as a business. Our third year of being in business together has brought Lara and I so many good things:

  • More really interesting and fun clients to work with,
  • We launched a new program to help you launch or refresh your email newsletter,
  • We said goodbye to Social Capital Conference (a bittersweet decision, for sure), 
  • Our website got a nice refresh,
  • Lara and I have evolved to a more strategic approach with planning - and we get together regularly to keep things fresh and moving forward,
  • We started doing webinars! The latest that we had on planning had a great turnout and lots of interaction which made it very successful,
  • Lara has turned into a video-making machine, which means we have great content on our YouTube channel for you,
  • One of the very best things we did this year was hire Tracy Noble, who has become our business manager. She has her own business and we are not her only clients, but she has become integral to our success. (In other words, she makes us look good and keeps us on track!)

We're looking forward to even more great things happening in 2015. Next week, we'll give you a little preview of how that's going to look and what you have to look forward to...I'm having a hard time not spilling the beans now!

From Lara, Tracy, and myself, we hope you are having a lovely holiday season!