Thanks for the welcome
I get asked this question so much, time is always a concern for small/medium sized non-profits, so you are definitely not alone on this front!
Here are some of my tops tips and advice on this:
a.. The first, really important thing I would say is, before you commit time to social media, make sure that this is going to be the best use of time for your audience: people get caught up in the hype of social media and tell you you have to be on it, but if your audience doesn’t use it then you don’t. If email marketing, or blogging, or podcasting, or something else, would be a better use of your time, focus on that instead.
b.. Be really clear about what you want to get from social media before you start: even if you don’t have a fully formed strategy, if you know why you’re doing it and keep that top of mind it can help you focus on what’s important and not waste time on other things. With social media it’s really easy to get drawn into doing a million different things, like sharing images and video or building thousands of followers, which can be a lot of work. But, if what you want to do is, for example, build a small but active community, then you don’t need to worry about the big numbers or sharing lots of cool/flashy/new stuff, you can just concentrate on chatting to some people online. So, set clear goals.
c.. Be brutally realistic about how much time you can spend online: if you only have an hour a week, you only have an hour a week. Set yourself realistic goals of what you can achieve in that kind of time, e.g. you can’t say ‘I want to post three times a day’ on that kind of time.
d.. Try to spend some time on the platforms you want to use: e.g. if you want to mostly use Twitter then create an account and follow some people you like/are interested in, and just spend say five minutes a day reading people’s tweets. Being on a platform is the best way to learn how to use it, what kinds of things people talk about, and what you like and dislike – knowing all of that stuff will make your account so much better when you tweet yourself.
e.. Pick 1-2 platforms to use: it’s easy to get drawn into wanting to be on loads of social media sites, because there are so many to choose from. But, it’s much much better to do 1 or 2 really well than to do 5 or 6 just ok. With limited time you can’t do everything and be everywhere so don’t try to. In terms of how to pick that one platform to be on, think about who you want to reach and where they are (i.e. are the people you want to talk to mostly on Twitter, or Facebook, or Instagram – whichever it is, that’s a good choice!). But, also think about which platform works best for you (i.e. you might prefer Twitter because it’s quick, or Instagram because you like taking pictures, etc.), you’ll most likely do a better job of running a social media account if you actually like it, and again since you’ve not got much time to spend on it, making it something you actually want to do will make the work easier.
f.. Plan ahead of time as much as you can: you want to be able to be flexible enough to talk about news and topics as they become relevant, but there are some things you can plan in advance (e.g. if you’re going to or holding an event, you know that in advance and when it’s going to happen). That way you’re not having that question every day/every few days (depending how often you post) of ‘what shall I talk about today’. You can use tools to schedule posts so that they go out automatically at a certain time, so you could spend 30 minutes or an hour (as much time as you have) at the beginning of the week writing a load of stuff to go out during the week, and then just 15-30 minutes every few days going on and adding extra things that come up or responding to people. The most basic tools to use for scheduling are Tweetdeck for Twitter, and on Facebook if you have a page you can schedule posts on Facebook itself – this is how I do my social media scheduling for Fancy Guppy, but there are other tools too if you want to be able to do them both in the same place e.g. Hootsuite or Buffer (all of which are free).
This final bullet point is actually why we created the calendar that my original post is based on – it’s a tool to help plan posts in advance, and it includes some info about extra things coming up that you might want to tweet about. I use this myself, to plan the month overall and then add in extra things as I go along. So do consider downloading it. Also, in the next month or so we’ll be running a webinar to go along with the calendar, in which we’ll be talking about how to use it and generally social media planning tips and advice, so I think you could find that useful, if you sign up to our mailing list you’ll get all the info about when this is happening and how to book on (you can sign up at www.fancyguppydigital.com/newsletter). I would recommend signing up to our newsletter anyway, it’s sent once a month and full of tips, our own blogs, and links to other articles, including our own and other people’s advice and discussion on social media and digital comms in charities. At that link (www.fancyguppydigital.com/newsletter) you can also see last month’s newsletter if you want to see what you’re signing up to first.
I hope this is useful, feel free to ask follow ups though!