Ask Mandy Q&A: Tips for Social Media Time Management

Ask Mandy is a weekly Q&A blog series. To ask your question about social media, please click here.
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Join me in raising your hand if you’ve gone onto Facebook to check on a page or logged into Pinterest and 3 hours later come up for air and have gotten nothing done!

Sadly, we’ve all been there.

The question I received recently had to do with time management –

How can I effectively manage my social media time?

There are many ways to answer that question, so here are my tips to more effectively manage the time you have for social media…

AUTOMATE!

Yes, I know you’re being told to NOT do this, it is perfectly okay to automate some of your social media actions. You cannot automate real-time interactions and engagement, so keep that in mind. HootsuiteSprout Social and Buffer are three popular scheduling platforms.  All of these allow you to schedule posts for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus.

What do I suggest?  Take about 1 hour, once a week, to schedule your content for the next week.  You can then spend the rest of your time responding and interacting!

PLAN AHEAD!

If you have a goal to blog 1-2 times per week, dedicate time each week to spend writing and scheduling those posts.  This will save you from the “oh crud” moment you have when you realize you are suppose to have a post up in 12 hours!  WordPress sites have scheduling functions within them to schedule a post for the future.

The plan ahead suggestion applies to more than just blogging – plan ahead as much as you can for everything.  This will keep your organized and in a routine.

DON’T DO IT ALL.

Yes, I did just say you do not have to do everything.  Many businesses think they need to have a presence on every.single.platform when in reality, they don’t.  If you know your target market posts on Facebook more than any other, then concentrate on that one.  There is no sense in wasting your time updating 5 or 6 social media platforms when your customers are only on Facebook or Twitter.

Concentrating on those platforms that your target market is on and forgetting about the rest will free up a lot of time.  Trust me, it easy to lose time on these platforms – just stick with what works!

Also, outsource the things you aren’t great at. This could be bookkeeping, graphic design, even blogging. You’ll save time and energy and stress.

TIME YOURSELF.  

Decide how much time you want to spend on each platform and then set a kitchen timer or an alarm on your smartphone to buzz when your time is up.  For example, if you want to set aside 30 minutes per day on Facebook, set the timer to start when you do and then it will let you know when your 30 minutes is up.  At that time, move on to something else.  I know of several who do this and swear by it.  Placing a time limit can force you to concentrate on what you need to do and get it done.

By implementing these tips, you will find your time better managed and your product increased.

What tips would you give to better manage your time?  Comment below, I’d love to hear them!

 

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Ask Mandy Q&A: Top WordPress Plug-Ins

Ask Mandy is a weekly Q&A blog series. To ask your question about social media, please click here.
Don’t miss out on our weekly Q&A! You can subscribe to receive these via email here.

 

Blogging should be a mainstay in any business. It does not matter your industry, blogging will help you be seen as an authority in your field. When you start out blogging, there are a few choices to consider – which platform do I want to use, WordPress, Blogger or something else? What kind of look do I want it to have? How often should I publish? These are all decisions you have to make based on your goal in blogging.

In my honest opinion, WordPress is the way to to. It’s user and social friendly, there are so many theme options to pick from and their support is great. Most major websites are built on WordPress. Once you choose this platform to go with, you have to choose plug-ins to use. This leads me to this week’s Ask Mandy question, submitted by one of our community members –

I’m starting a blog, was curious if you have a set list of preferred or needed plugins that you use, or recommend, is there any kind of system or resource you have used to install them on your blog?

I will start of by saying I am only experienced in WordPress – I’m sure there are plug-in type things to install on straight HTML or Joomla sites. That being said, here are the top WordPress plug-ins I use –

Akismet 

This is the ultimate spam comment blocker. It’s free to use and will keep your comment stream spam-free.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

There are several SEO plug-ins out there, but this one is my favorite. It’s very easy to use and I love the stoplight grading system it gives you for each page and post.

Revive Old Post (formerly Tweet Old Post)

This plug-in is the reason Twitter is the #1 driver of traffic to my website. This plug-in will tweet out, on the schedule you decide, older posts that you have written, constantly keeping your content out there. Of course, this only works for evergreen content, so you’ll want to exclude those that are time-specific.

Filament

Filament is the owner of Flare, a social sharing plug-in. See the neat bar on the left of my screen where you can share this post across the web? That’s Flare. It’s easy to set up and you have several placement options and social network options as well.

Disqus

Disqus is one of the many commenting plug-ins available for WordPress. You can use the one given to you in WordPress or you can add one with some more oomph. I like Disqus because I can keep track of comments on my site and other sites I’ve commented on that use this.

Simple Social Icons

Every blog or website needs to have your social links on it for people to connect with you on the web. What I love about this plug-in is the customization. You can match your business colors and make them various shapes.

Of course, there are thousands of plug-ins to choose from and I have more than these 6 on my own site, but these are the ones I make sure are on my clients’ sites as well. When you use WordPress, they are all single-click installation so there’s no upload to an FTP server. You simply click “add new”, find the one you want and click “install”.

I would love for my community to chime in with their favorite plug-ins as well! Which ones would you add?

 

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7 Business Books to Read When Starting Out

Ask Mandy: 7 Business Books to Read When Starting Out

Ask Mandy is a weekly Q&A blog series. To ask your question about social media, please click here.

Don’t miss out on our weekly Q&A! You can subscribe to receive these via email here.

 

I am a book snob. I love getting lost in a book. Even though my favorites are historical fiction, I do love a good business book. I have read several so I was super excited when I received this question –

 What are some good books to read if I am starting my own business?

I could answer this with a list of about 100 but I can’t – this isn’t BuzzFeed 🙂

There are many good books out there that you could read – everything from small ebooks to longer hardbacks. Being a social marketing nut, most of the books I suggest have to do with marketing. You can take some of the social marketing advice and apply it to just about anything – leadership, thoughts, management, etc.

1. Platform by Michael Hyatt

This was one of the first true social media business books I read after I started ME Marketing Services. In this book, Michael talks about having a platform for your business and how to been seen and heard in a noisy world. I would call this, entrepreneurship & marketing 101. He takes you step by step through starting with your product/service, to preparing your business launch, building your base, expanding reach & engaging your community. This is the perfect book to start with.

 

 

2. Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen

I first read this book for a book review for the Social Solutions Collective. I really enjoyed this, especially his part about social advertising, which I use to this day. Did you know Dave targeted a Facebook ad specifically to his wife – and she saw it? He illustrated the power of Facebook ads, however that is not what the book is all about. Here is one comment from my review, “The overall theme of the book is to stop talking and listen, to start doing things that make you likeable. Listen to your fan base and customers – get a feel for what they are talking about, what interests them and what they are looking for. It’s only after you’ve listened that you can really start talking.”

 

3. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerkchuk

This is a great book about social selling. Basically it’s about making little “jabs” to your community, you know, small messages or breadcrumbs, so when you’re ready to make the “hook”, aka sales pitch, they are ready and waiting.

 

 

 

4. Social Media Explained by Mark Schaefer

This is the newest book by social media pro Mark Schaefer and one of my favorites. In this book, Mark takes social marketing a step beyond the basic. It’s broken into 3 sections – the 5 most important things you need to know about social media marketing, the 5 most difficult questions you’ll face and a social media primer (this last section is more of a review of the basics). He brings his wealth of experience to show you real examples and situations you may face so you are prepared to handle them like a pro.

 

 

5. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

The classic how-to-deal-with-change book. This book will help you cope with change and help you discover how your attitude attributes to it. With changes happening at a rapid pace, this is something every business owner, new and old, needs to read.

 

 

 

6. The Little Big eBook on Social Media Audiences: Build Yours, Keep It, and Win by Cendrine Marrouat

I have known Cendrine for a few years now and she is someone who abides by the quality content creed. Every article she publishes is something you can take and run with. I was honored to be able to get an advance copy of this book and review it. Here is what I said, “The book is very easy to read, much like her previous e-book, The Little Big eBook on Blogging: 40 Traffic Generation Tips. Her newest offering takes the reader step-by-step through the social media strategy process, giving case studies along the way to support her statements.  She touches on everything from figuring out who your audience is to what platforms to use to defining your voice.”

 

7. How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

I went through the Dale Carnegie Leadership course a little over 10 years ago and this was one of the required readings we had to do (you should do the class if you get a chance).  This book gives you what you need to network like a pro. It will help you come up with ways to remember people’s names, how to let the other person do the talking and so forth. I will tell you this was written in the 1930’s so some things may seem a bot outdated, but the overall principles are what matters.

 

I have 2 or 3 more I would love to add to this list, but I’m not finished with them yet 😉 You can still take a look at them – Maximize Your Social by Neal Schaffer & Human to Human: #H2H by Bryan Kramer.

If you’ve read all of these (or maybe not), what other books would you add to this list for new business owners?

 

Do YOU have a question about social media for businesses? Simply click here to ask!

Don’t miss out on our weekly Q&A! You can subscribe to receive these via email here.

5 Easy Ways to Get People to Your Blog

Ask Mandy Q&A: 5 Easy Ways to Get People to Your Blog

Ask Mandy is a weekly Q&A blog series. To ask your question about social media, please click here.

Don’t miss out on our weekly Q&A! You can subscribe to receive these via email here.

I’ll share a little confession with you guys – I’m addicted to blogging right now. I have at least 20 posts in the works in my Google Drive. It’s been a focus of mine lately to provide more quality posts each week, so this week’s question is quite fitting…

How can I get more people to my blog?

You’ve just written an amazing article and now you want the world to read it, however when you click publish, all you hear are crickets.

Just because you post an article doesn’t mean people are going to automatically swarm your site – it’s not like it’s Field of Dreams, “build it and he will come.” I like to rephrase that – “build it and let them know and they will come.” Once you publish your article, you have to let people know it’s there. To answer the question, here are 5 easy ways (in no particular order) to get more people to your blog –

1. Provide quality content.

Give your readers something of value that they can take and use. Fluff won’t cut it – get to the meaty part and make it good. When they see you are publishing great content, they will come back time and again and you’ll start seeing them share your content across the web for you.

2.  Put social sharing options on every blog post.

WordPress makes this easy. You can install plug-ins such as Shareaholic or Flare to allow your readers to share your content. Articles that include social sharing options see their content shared much more than those who don’t.

3. Repurpose older content.

Pull out some of earlier posts that new members of your community may not have read. There’s a great WordPress plug-in called Revive Old Post (formerly Tweet Old Post). This plug-in is the reason Twitter is my #1 traffic referrer to my website.

4. Post consistently.

If you post once then don’t come back to it again, what’s the point? To get people to your blog you have to post consistently. This can mean once a week, twice a week, twice each month – it doesn’t matter the frequency as long as you do it consistently.

5. Share it yourself!

If you do not let people know you’ve published something, they won’t know it’s there. Tell your community you’ve published a new article – it’s okay to post it on your own social media sites! If you don’t tell them, who will?

These steps are easy enough for any beginner to do to get people to their blog. What other tips would you add?

5 easy ways to get traffic to your blog

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How Can a Business Use Pinterest Effectively?

Ask Mandy Q&A: How Can a Business use Pinterest Effectively?

Ask Mandy is a weekly Q&A blog series. To ask your question about social media, please click here.
Don’t miss out on our weekly Q&A! You can subscribe to receive these via email here.

 

I have many names for Pinterest… land of lost time, time suck, the rabbit hole, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Pinterest. It’s the one platform I use more for personal than business. It’s provides a wealth of information – recipes, home decor ideas, and yes, business articles and infographics.

This leads me to our question for today…

Pinterest: How can a business use it effectively? And can/should the business set up a separate account or identity from that of an individual?

Let’s look at the first part of this week’s question – How can a business use Pinterest effectively?

There are many ways a business can use Pinterest effectively but it will take some serious time management and commitment. It’s so easy to lose track of time using Pinterest so when you do use it, make sure you set a timer. That being said, here are some ways businesses can use Pinterest effectively –

  • Use Pinterest consistently. I see many businesses use Pinterest like they use Twitter – maybe once a month or they use it once then never again. Using Pinterest is like using blogging – the more consistent you are the more attention and traffic you will get. For example, set aside 30-45 minutes three times each week to upload and re-pin content.
  • Pin great content. The most popular pins have to do with food, clothes and kids. You may not own a business that falls under one of those 3, so what type of content should you post? Post graphics with customer testimonies (and tag them if you can), post funny industry-related pictures, post graphics that link to relevant articles. Pin something that you know your audience will want to re-pin.
  • Have a contest! Pinterest contests are very popular. There are several ways you can go about this and these are are the most popular – asking people to re-pin a certain graphic or ask people to re-pin a certain number of images with a certain hashtag. Of course your contest is only as good as the prize you offer.

One key component to using Pinterest effectively is to let people know you are there. People won’t know you are there unless you tell them – promote your Pinterest link on your website, your other social sites, in your storefront (if you have a physical location), on your business cards or on any print items you create.

A side note: according to DMR, there are over 500,000 Pinterest business accounts, with Nordstrom having the largest following at 4.4 million.

The second part of the question asked, Can/Should the business set up a separate account or identity from that of an individual?

The answer – yes. It doesn’t matter if you are your business or you have a brick and mortar business, you still need a business account. Having a business Pinterest account gives you access to promoted pins (which are coming really soon), analytics, and a jump on any news from Pinterest. If you are one in your business, meaning if you are your business, then you can create a business account with your name and use it like you would an individual account. This is what I do. I am one in my business – I am my business, so my account is set up as “Mandy Edwards” as a business account. If you are an individual who owns a business that is more than just you, for example, a retail shop or restaurant or an agency, then you definitely want to have a business account for the business aside from your individual (personal) account.

 

Do YOU have a question about social media for businesses? Simply click here to ask!

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