You likely know the benefits of using social media for your business; in today’s media-heavy world, businesses are practically expected to have a social media presence. However, I know that many businesses, especially smaller ones, shy away from the social world because it seems daunting.

While social media for business is indeed a commitment, taking two simple steps makes it immensely simpler for any business to manage.

1. Create a content calendar

One of the challenges of social media for business is maintaining a strong presence once you’ve gotten started. So many businesses start enthusiastically, but taper off after a few weeks or months because they don’t have the time or motivation to continue.

Nip the problem in the bud by creating a content calendar. Some businesses prefer making content calendars on a weekly or monthly basis, but I’ve also found success with my clients creating calendars in 3-6 month increments, depending on their business. Of course, how far you can plan in the future depends on your business, and whether your content will be timely articles or more evergreen information.  

Here’s how to get started:

  • Decide how far into the future you want to plan your calendar, then decide how often you want to post on each network. For instance, you may want to plan content calendars by the month, with once per week Facebook and LinkedIn posts, and three times weekly Twitter posts.
  • Create a spreadsheet with the timeframe you want, sectioned by date in a way that makes sense.
  • For each post, include the following information:
  • Exactly what the post will say (including hashtags and @mentions for tweets)
  • If you will include an image, what will the image be
  • If you are linking to an article, paste the hyperlink right in the spreadsheet

When you create a content calendar that is this detailed, it makes step 2 easy, and takes much of the work out of your social media. You put in a few hours up front to save time on a day-to-day basis. Need inspiration on what to post? Check out this list of ideas.

2. Automate as much as possible

Social media is all about engaging with your audience, so of course you can’t automate everything. However, once you have a content calendar created, you can use a tool to schedule out your postings at specified times, so you don’t have to log in and post every day.

There are many tools that offer this type of functionality, but my favorite is BufferApp. You simply connect all your social profiles to your Buffer account, set a schedule for how often (and what specific time each day) you want to post, and then drop in posts whenever you want.

From here just take what you have planned on your content calendar and input into your automation tool. You may want to do this once a week just to make sure your planned content is still timely. Batching the work like this is a huge timesaver, and since you have all the information in your calendar, you’re just copying and pasting.

Once you take care of these two steps, then you just need to dedicate a little time each day or week to engage with your audience. Make sure you’re responding to anyone who comments on your posts or sends you a message. Take time to read others’ posts and occasionally comment or share. When the burden of planning and executing your own posts is removed, the engagement part is all you need to focus on and your social media strategy is much simpler.

Your turn

What’s your favorite tool for automating social media tasks? What are your tips or tricks for simplifying social media business strategy? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

If you're looking for a little inspiration or tips on what to post, check out this list of 42 social media post ideas you can use over and over again.