I get it, you’re busy. Buildings don’t design themselves.
But as we’ve talked about before, social media marketing is important and you need to continue to grow your firm if you want to continue to grow your revenue.
I’ve mentioned before that the real strength in social media is interacting with your customers, but that you should also be posting out regularly. You can’t automate human interaction (that wouldn’t make it human anymore), but we can automate your social media marketing. That’s what we’re going to do in this blog post.
We’re going to be using a Software as a Service (SaaS) called Hootsuite. We’re not affiliated with them or anything, but they make a good product and we use it here at AIBD.
1. Sign up for Hootsuite.
The first thing we need to do is sign up for a Hootsuite account. We’re going to use Hootsuite because it’s the best SaaS that offers what we need for cheap or free. In fact, most companies can get away with a free account. As you’ll see, I’ll be using the free account.
What they’re going to ask for first is what plan you want. This is before you’ve even created an account. Unless you know you’re going to need to need or want to pay for it, you can click the green button for a free account.
When you go to sign up, you’re going to see that you have the options to either start by adding your social media account or sign up by email. I’ve tried it both ways and I actually found it easier to sign up by adding a social media account. I’ll be using my personal AIBD Twitter for the examples in this tutorial.
2. Set Up Your Accounts
Once you’re logged in, you’ll see a blank “Streams” area and your one account will be in there. You can add whatever streams you want to follow. I clicked on “Engage With Your Audience” and just set up the defaults. This is nice so that you don’t have to go log into all of the social media platforms individually if you just want to see what’s going on. There are a lot of other uses (like following your brand mentions) but those are out of the scope of this tutorial.
At that point, you’ll see your main dashboard area, called “Streams” in the left navigation of the page. You can add your other social media accounts by clicking on “Add Social Network,” near the top left of the window.
3. Scheduling Your Posts
We can actually do our publishing from here, too, even though there’s a Publisher section in the navigation (which we’ll look at later). Up at the top, just click in the input box labeled “Compose a message…” The input box will expand and you’ll be able to insert all of the content you want to be posted.
On the left, you select each of the social networks you want to post this specific post out to, and on the right, there are boxes for input. You can put everything in the bigger box, for the main update, or just the text and add the link down in the smaller box (labeled “Add a link…”), which you can then turn into a short Ow.ly link. Make sure you keep character limits in mind if you’re posting to multiple places.
There are some icons like a paperclip and calendar. The paperclip is to add a file like an image to your post. I recommend adding images to your posts when you can, especially on the important ones. The calendar is for scheduling your post. The options are Autoschedule or pick a specific time and date. I usually set a specific time and date for all official AIBD posts, and then Autoschedule other around the AIBD posts. The other icons, in order, are to add a location, set targeting options, and privacy options. When you’re done, click Schedule and you’ll be able to find it (and anything else you have scheduled) on the Publisher page.
4. Scheduling Other Posts
That’s the best way to schedule specific posts that you want people to see, like your own blog posts. You can’t only talk about yourself, though. When a Twitter or Facebook page is only talking about themselves, linking to themselves, and overall full of self-promotion, they’re unlikely to gain many followers. Fewer followers mean fewer shares, and they can’t grow. Fewer followers also mean fewer click-throughs. You can’t convert well if all you do is talk about yourself. You need to share other relevant content. The Hootsuite Chrome Plugin makes it really easy.
You can schedule things directly with this plugin, but the real strength I found is in the Autoscheduler. You can adjust the settings in your Hootsuite account, but I stick with the defaults. I wouldn’t recommend going less than 3 posts per day total. A good rule of thumb is 1/3 posts being self-promotion, up to 1/5 (AKA the 80/20 rule).
Once you’ve installed the browser plugin, go to a page you want to share and in your top bar, where all your other plugins are listed, click on the icon for the Hootsuite plugin. You’ll get a popup with some content already filled out about the page. You’ll probably need to adjust the content a little bit, either because there are too many characters or because it doesn’t read well, or some other reason. Adjust it to your liking and then you can Autoschedule, Post Later, or Post Now.
You can also use this plugin to schedule your own posts if you find it easier that way.
Using these tools you can spend a short amount of time one day a week queueing up enough social media content for an entire week. Then, the rest of the week is free for you to not think about social media. It’s already been set up to go out for you. One less thing to worry about every day!
Garrett Mickley is the Communications Director for AIBD and has over eight years experience working in digital marketing.
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