It can quickly become overwhelming, developing and managing content production and marketing strategies across all relevant social media channels.
Social media managers typically handle all social media related activities as well as manage all social media roles.
Hiring creative, digitally savvy, flexible and analytical social media people isn't an easy task by itself, but when it's done to support a exponentially growing community it can quickly become a disaster.
Understanding the social media processes you and your team are using to produce certain results is critical to unlocking resources and fueling scalability.
The objective of a social media process is to produce a result and the objective of the person is to run the process.
Know that every single system can always be continuously improved. Because it is phyisically impossible to find the "right" path to your "perfect" process (a version of the traveling salesman problem).
Processes create a culture of discipline, consistency and transparency. Everyone knows how specific tasks get done, what it takes to get them done and the result they're supposed to produce.
They also provide a scientific method for continuous improvement to encourage atonomy and calculated risk taking.
Because social media can be highly regulated by company admins, limiting who has abilities to publish, draft, make comments, reply to messages and so on... putting processes in place can provide the confidence to push desicion making down to the individuals writing and posting the messsages.
Define the process
Daily routines, weekly routines and monthly routines are important to consistent social media publishing. There are a number of checklists availble to download to help you out.
Start by defining either your daily, weekly or monthly routine. Just pick one and then move on, once you're good at optimizing a social media process you'll be able to easily apply it across the board.
Kevin Lee over at Buffer put together a great article about structuring your daily, weekly and monthly checklists to be more efficient.
I recommend checking out and I've include his breakdown below.
- Reply to everyone
- Check your mentions
- Monitor social media for keywords and phrases
- Schedule your updates for the next day
- Check out other social media profiles
- Curate content to share
- Advocacy: Make it easy for your team to share
- Engage with MVPs
- Follow back those who follow you
- Connect with one new person
- Check your stats
- Engage with influencers
- Engage with partners
- Weekly goals check-in
- Hold a strategy session
- Attend events—chats, hangouts, etc.
- Update your social media ads
- Perform a social media audit
- Come up with new experiments
- Plan ahead for the next month or more
For processes to be effective, you will need to constantly refine them overtime. And with technology each lifecycle is getting shorter.
Start by determining what the process is producing. If you're creating a daily routine for social media publishing, what needs to be completed each day.
- `How frequently does the process run? What's triggering the process to start? Is it the right thing? Does it trigger at the right time? Start by determining the frequency for this process to run.
- Do you publish in real-time or is everything scheduled and approved?
- If that's the case, then maybe each day a series of future social media posts is to be completed.
- Maybe the activity isn't as regular and all the social media posts for the month are due a few days before the month starts.
- Or maybe you publish in real-time.
- What quality check should be used to ensure all social media posts, are potraying the brand the right way?
- How is activity measured if social media content is done in real-time. Are the post due the night before? Or is there simply a review of the activity at the end of each day to review the results rather than the tasks.
Don't forget to define your brand's look and feel so you can build a process to deliver images that fit the mold.
Creating unique images for your social media posts can help you tell your story.
Track the process
Now you want to know the how the processes is running. Or how performance is trending since implementation.
If you've ever noticed, a lot of leadership and managment courses tend to revolve around some form of time management. I think it's safe to say that effective time management is an important trait of a leader.
A common practice used to get a better idea of how you spend your time is to track it.
The simple practice of writing down the "start time" and a description. What time did you change focus?
This exercise isn't meant to capture the start and stop times of specific tasks or to tally hours worked because most people don't work that way (outside of meetings), rather it's objective is to highlight the number of times you get distracted in any given day.
Let's look at a quick example: If you start to write a blog post at 9, write down 9:00am for start date and a small description about the post itself. At 9:23am, someone walks into your office and asks you what you are doing for lunch.
Now the important part, check the time and record. I recommend writing down "distraction" in the description field becauses you don't want to bring any biased views to prioritizing your time. After a few days this will help you to see distractions, as distractions, and prevent you from justifying any of them.
After chatting you up for 15 minutes, you turn back to your computer to continue writing only it takes you another 10 minutes to find your place and re-read some of what you wrote to get your head back to where it was.
Once you're about to begin, check the time and record. 9:58am.
Do this for a couple days and you'll quickly uncover where all your time is going.
Tracking our new process is going to be similarly executed. The goal is to watch the process run in real-life.
Keeping an eye out for:
Where does the process excel, where does it get hung up? Are people are other processes holding it up? What can be easily adjusted and where are the deeper challenges?
Map your routine
Now that you know what the process is and how it is currently acting, start to create a process map for reference. You can think of this as a workflow of what happens.
Producing a visual workflow of the process is powerful to see and provides a ton of insight to the team.
But it also provides an overview of the sequence and dependencies.
Start by listing out each of the major steps, in order if applicable.
Then determine what is needed for each to take place and what the expected outcome of each is.
The last piece to consider is incoming resources. Incoming resources are any dependency that is outside of the immediate system.
For example, social media might play a role is promoting a new eBook. This information, the eBook file, image files, landing page copy, launch date and so on... This dependency could cause backups in your social media pipeline if you're not careful.
Set process basline
Next we want to establish a baseline for the process. The processes baseline should be predictable and accurate. You want to know what you can expect in terms of results everytime the process is executed.
Once you have effectively tracked the process and mapped it out, you can get a sense of what the current outcome is.
Take the average results from running the process and use it to establish your process baseline.
This baseline represents your experiement's control. As you test and optimize your social media, continue the move the baseline up.
Always focus on the process first and the software second so you can automate and optimize consistently and quickly.
With your social media process in place running smoothly and producing results, you know you're going to have to make some changes soon. One of my favorite ideas is that if you've found the perfect strategy then you're behind the market. Nothing good last forever!
For example, you're looking for, say, which times on which social networks is the best time to post, or what frequency of post works best.
To know what part of the system to change you need to map it.
Start by determining the frequency of posts because there is no one-size-fits-all schedule to follow, but there are some best practices you can follow to get started:
- Post 6-9 times per day to Twitter
- Post 1-2 times per day to Facebook
- Post 1-2 times per day to Google+
- Post 1-3 times per day to Instagram
- Post 1-2 times per day to LinkedIn
Or maybe you want to know which type of content is perfomring the best. Because you don't want to waste time deciding what to write, let your past content dictate that for you. Bucket your content into groups so you can track and monitor a group over time. Such as:
- Industry news
- Tips and tricks
- In-depth guides
- How-to articles
- Company insights
But how do you go about changing up a winning strategy.
You a/b test, that's how. And what do you test? Everything!
Social media can foster a personal and intimate relationship between a brand and it's audience but it takes time patience and pure hustle.
There is no shortcut. You have to put in the work and engage, interaction and help people (your target audience).
That's why it is important to have a process in place that you can manage and tweak over time.
The speed at which social media channels (and consumers in general) are changing makes it more difficult to deliver a quality social media experience without a process.
A process allows you to take people (say a social media rockstar) and duplicate their skills across an entire team.
Without processes you're left reacting to every little thing that happens across all your social channels. Making it impossible to deliver a remarkable experience.