Just because social media doesn’t cost anything, it doesn’t mean it’s free. Making time to use social media channels and sorting through all the content available online can tax even the most experienced social media marketer. A recent study by eMarketer revealed that 73% of marketers say that finding time to create content is one of their biggest challenges. Despite your best efforts, you won’t be able to use each and every social media platform without a team of assistants, nor read everything that’s written about marketing, real estate and social media.
That itch in your brain — the one that makes you constantly log-on to Facebook or reach for your phone at all hours — that could be social media guilt. Social media guilt is the feeling that you should be producing more, reading more and doing it all more often on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Just look at the graph on the right. That’s the social media landscape right now. Expecting REALTORS® to master even a handful of these social media channels isn’t fair.
Here are a few Tips for Managing Social Media Guilt and dealing with that little itch that can keep you up at night.
Start With One Channel
You can’t be everywhere, so to start, focus your energy on one channel — a channel you’re comfortable with, a channel you might already have a budding presence on and a channel that aligns with your marketing strategy. That doesn’t mean you need to ignore every other platform, but make one channel a priority and build from there. Is your market particularly active on Twitter? Maybe that’s the platform for you? Or have you built a solid Facebook following? Pour your efforts into doing Facebook right. Once you master one channel, you can take the next step.
Use a Management Tool
There are a number of free content management tools out there like Hootsuite, Tweetdeckand Seesmic. You can also pay for a number of robust content management tools like Sprout and Sprinklr. These tools allow you to track, curate and monitor social media channels on a single dashboard. You can see a steady stream of Twitter followers in one column, follow keywords or topics in another column (for instance, “Atlanta Real Estate”) and create customized lists of people you’re keeping tabs on and categorize them into columns like “real estate trends”, “social media”, “colleagues”, etc. These management tools also allow you to schedule posts on Twitter and Facebook, allowing you to queue up content days in advance so you don’t have to worry about sending content at a particular time. Facebook just rolled this feature out directly on their platforms, giving REALTORS® another way to pre-plan content so you can get on with your day.
Limit Your Time on Channels
Using some of the management tools above, schedule time in your day for social media just as you would any other task. Maybe you take 15 minutes in the morning to pre-schedule content for Twitter and Facebook and check for relevant content and maybe you check again around lunch to look for and respond to comments. If you have difficulty with time management and social media guilt, try not to keep clicking back to social networks throughout the day — it will prove a giant time suck. Focus and limit your time so you can complete other tasks.
Know When to Post
There are new articles every few weeks about the optimal time to post content to social networks. The problem is, everyone is reading these articles and posting at the exact same time. Stick to best practices, but find times and days of the week that work best for your audience. Maybe your focus is commercial real estate and your audience is unresponsive on weekends. Maybe you operate in a territory with lots of Millenials who are active between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and again later at night. Find your audience’s sweet spot and schedule and post content at those times.
Use Content Curators
Real estate content on the web is like an endless waterfall. It’s impossible to swallow it all, so don’t even try. Instead, pick the best drops of water. How do you know where the best content lies? Trial and error. Find the content sources that are most valuable to you and that curate a lot of the content you want. This could be Twitter accounts from industry professionals, websites or blogs. You can’t follow everyone and everything (the waterfall, remember?) but over time you’ll start to see who the most valuable content curators are and how they can keep you informed and provide material.
Pay to Grow
Want to grow your Facebook likes but don’t have the time to do it organically? Buy Facebook ads, which can be used to target people geographically and by interests. Sure, you’re essentially buying more likes for your page, but your numbers will climb faster and without the time and intense effort it might take to boost your numbers organically.
Wipe the Slate Clean
Didn’t get to those articles you emailed yourself? Content stacked up in your Google Reader? Wipe the slate clean. Delete, Mark All As Read, clear the clutter. New content is coming all the time and just because you miss a few articles doesn’t mean you’ll be left behind. Give yourself a break every few days or once a week and dump the guilt.
Do you suffer from social media guilt? How do you balance doing a good job with social media with knowing that you can’t do it all? Leave your comments below.