Guest post by Laura Roeder.
Let’s face it, time spent on social media is time you aren’t billing clients. Use the following five strategies for blogging and social media to bring in leads, nurture existing relationships, and build your reputation online without wasting time.
1. Create Your Editorial Calendar
Do you think the producers of Good Morning America wake up every morning thinking “oh NO! We have to do a show TODAY?? What are we going to talk about?”
No? Then why are you doing this with your blog? Making every new post a last-minute disaster puts undue stress on you and wastes time.
Instead, think like big media and plan out an editorial calendar of blog topics. If you’re not sure what to write about, start by answering the questions you receive most often. If you can come up answers to 21 common questions you have a post every other week for an entire year! Brainstorm your topics, plot them out on a calendar (I like google cal) then don’t stray from your due dates. Write as far out ahead as possible, but even if you’re writing a post the day it goes live you’ll be able to generate the post MUCH faster if you start out with the topic.
When writing posts in advance, don’t just store them in word but go ahead and actually complete them in wordpress, using the “edit date” function to queue up your post ahead of time. This allows you to grab the URL before it’s live, bringing us to our next major time-saver . . .
2. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
Creating a solid edit calendar opens up a world of pre-planned marketing opportunities. Use the free tool HootSuite to schedule cross-platform updates to LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter at any time in the future. When you know that you’ll be posting about intellectual property next tuesday you can schedule social networking status updates and newsletter mentions letting the world know about the new post you have coming up. And if you’ve future-posted so that you have the actual URL you can schedule out your updates sending people to the actual post once it’s live.
Here’s a sample schedule:
- Monday Tweet: Look out for our post tomorrow on intellectual property rights for artists
- Tuesday Tweet: New post: Why Not Understanding Your Intellectual Property is Making You Lose Money [link]
- Wednesday Newsletter/Email: (prewritten, pre-scheduled) Did you see our latest post about intellectual property? Check it out here: [link]
- Thursday Facebook Update: Have you read our latest post, Why Not Understanding Your Intellectual Property is Making You Lose Money? [link]
- Friday Tweet:Weekly Wrap Up: Why Not Understanding Your Intellectual Property is Making You Lose Money [link]
Of course that’s just an example, you can mix and match the social networks as you like. Instead of scrambling to make sure a post is getting maximum exposure (and forgetting to promote it as many places as possible several times) you can now spend 5 minutes on HootSuite scheduling all of the above as far out in the future as possible. This is a MASSIVE time saver and a smart strategy for exposure, traffic, and link-building.
3. Ditch The Brilliant Tweets
There’s no need to put a lot of time and energy trying to come up with pithy tips that will change the world. Instead, spend just 10 minutes on Twitter responding to what others are saying and answering questions. This strategy combined with the scheduling strategy above is a KILLER way to get maximum exposure on twitter while spending your “live” time building relationships (which is just as important as link sharing). Link sharing can be scheduled, relationships cannot. So focus your twitter time doing what matters.
Set a timer for 10 minutes and write responses to the people that you follow or search twitter for legal questions that you can immediately answer. (You can even use twitter’s advanced search to only find people in your local area.)
4. Put Social Connections In Your System
For businesses that rely largely on word-of-mouth, the “stay in front of” factor in social networking is incredibly useful. Just being connected to previous or potential clients on LinkedIn or Facebook makes it easier for those people to find you and refer you. But those connections won’t appear out of thin area, and you can’t expect clients to come seeking you out. When you add a new contact to your CRM or address book, add them on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter as well. This takes an extra 3 minutes at most and adds up to a rich online network.
5. Talk To Your Market, Not Your Peers
Are you spending all your time online chatting up other lawyers? It might be fun, but unless they’re referring you work they probably won’t add a dime to your bottom line. Most service professionals share content that is WAY over their market’s head and full of industry jargon and high-level theories. It’s easy to fall into this trap because we don’t want to appear “dumb” or “low level” to our peers.
Guess what? Your clients matter more. Often information that feels elementary to you is advanced your potential clients. Don’t waste time talking over their heads. Get on their level, use their language and your time spent online will be much more valuable.
How are you using social media successfully without killing your entire day? Have you tried any of these techniques? Let me know in the comments below.
Laura Roeder is a social media marketing expert who teaches small businesses how to create their own fame and claim their brand online.