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Digital Marketing

Shana Bull is a Santa Rosa-based marketing educator and digital storyteller, working with wine, food, hospitality businesses, teaching classes on marketing, and freelance writing. Reach her with your questions about digital marketing at shana@shanabull.com, @sharayray on Instagram or at shanabull.com.

Read past Digital Marketing columns here.

I’ve worked in social media marketing for over 10 years now, so I’ve had my fair share of being overwhelmed by digital media, simply because there is so much content out there.

I always wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing out on an event shared, or a funny meme. Most of us know that jumping on Facebook for a quick minute can quickly turn into 10 — or 60. In fact, right now the average time spent on popular social media platforms is almost an hour per day — 53 minutes for Instagram, and 58 minutes for Facebook —according to online measurement company SimilarWeb.

Don’t get caught up on having to read through all of your feeds and feeling like you have to be everywhere, because you will wear yourself out. Having your brand present on social media has become a necessity in today’s digital era, but it’s not necessary to use it at the cost of your sanity.

Here are some tips that can help you avoid social media taking over your life as a marketer:

1. Plan ahead

By spending a little bit of time upfront and getting organized, you can save so much time in the long run. Lack of planning is one of the biggest sources of stress for many marketers. Start small by creating a one-page document, writing down what your goals are for social media. Grab a desk calendar (or create a spreadsheet) and write down content that you want to create throughout the month, adding in specialized times for promotions or national days like National Wine Day.

2. Batch your work

Group similar projects together to save even more time. Plan for one big photo shoot and/or brainstorm for captions each month. This helps ensure that you’re not stuck at the last minute trying to figure out something to post because it’s been a week since your followers last heard from you.

This also helps decrease the time you spend each day on social media. By batch working your content creation, you only have to spend 15-30 minutes a day sharing new content and engaging with your community.

3. Less is more

Remember, you don’t have to be on every social network that’s out there. Pick one or two that your target audience is on or that you feel the most comfortable with and focus on those.

If you focus on a local audience and you don’t like Twitter...guess what!?! You don’t have to tweet! Just set your pinned post to say “find me on XXXX” so people know you are not using that particular social network.

4. Automation is your friend

Check-out apps like Zapier and IFTTT (if this, then that) to have your Instagram content go directly to Twitter or your Facebook page as native images. Social media schedulers like Buffer, Hootsuite or Sprout Social also help by sharing the same content across all of the platforms you use. (You can even change up the content just a bit to match the network — i.e., using hashtags on Twitter and Instagram, but not worrying about it on Facebook).

5. Outsource!

If you’re going to be on social media, keep it up and do it right, don’t do it at all, or hire someone to do it for you. When I first started as a social media manager back in 2009, there wasn’t anyone else really doing it. Now you have a lot of options.

Digital Marketing

Shana Bull is a Santa Rosa-based marketing educator and digital storyteller, working with wine, food, hospitality businesses, teaching classes on marketing, and freelance writing. Reach her with your questions about digital marketing at shana@shanabull.com, @sharayray on Instagram or at shanabull.com.

Read past Digital Marketing columns here.

From local resources, to hiring a virtual assistant (who can help with community management and creating content through websites like Upwork) — if you find that you simply don’t have the time or the excitement for social media, but you still think it’s important, then outsourcing is the way to go.

6. Have a Plan B

Remember that things don’t always go as planned, even when you have a plan in place. Things like smoke days or sick days may mean you have to watch your children instead of having them go to school while you go to work.

Or a client needs a project to be done right away, derailing all other work. Just remember to focus on the task you need to get done right away and go back to your task list once you finish. All the while taking a deep breath.

7. Take a break

Taking a deep breath and going on a quick walk around the block is my go-to for getting out of my own head when I am feeling overwhelmed. Stepping away from social media for a short time can help you refresh your creativity and gain inspiration. Schedule your content, and take time off, but make sure to have someone on your team act as the community manager while you’re away.

8. Have fun

By keeping your social media marketing fun, you will be more inclined to use it to market your brand. At the end of the day, social media is about being SOCIAL.

We turn to our social networks as a way to connect with others and decompress in the middle of our hectic lives. Social media marketing doesn’t have to stress you out as a small business owner. Keep it simple and plan ahead so you don’t feel like you have to constantly check your phone.

Take it from a former social media addict: Planning ahead and only spending a few minutes a day posting and engaging with people helps you to feel less overwhelmed.