Managing your social media workflow in the constant chatter of Tweets, Likes and Direct Messages can be tough. A social media manager’s work is never done and it seems like a new task gets added to your checklist every week.
Whether you manage social media full time or if it’s a small part of your job description, a good workflow will get your productivity flowing at its maximum.
Sprout features mentioned in this article:
- Social media analytics dashboard
- Publishing calendar
- Twitter suggested replies
- Smart inbox
- Search and discovery
Figure out Your Own Productivity Hacks
There are quite a few productivity hacks out there. They all promise to shorten your work hours, while increasing your productivity. The “4-Hour Workweek” wouldn’t be a New York Times Bestseller if everyone was already working at their maximum productivity. It is important to note that there is no shortcut of value in social media marketing. The company that promises you 4,000 followers in an hour will not give you valuable customers.
In one study from the University of California, Irvine, researchers found that it took an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on task after an interruption.
Think about this: how often are you interrupted in a day? This includes coworkers, customers and all your mobile push notifications. Navigating this landscape of constant interruption makes the social media manager’s work so much more difficult.
If you find yourself spending most of your time reacting (i.e. responding to Twitter mentions) and not planning, then you may benefit from a social media workflow plan.
Execute Your Tasks Like You Do Your Laundry
Batch processing is a popular method of getting tasks done. Chances are that you’ve batch processed before in your daily life.
Let’s say you’re doing laundry. For one set of clothes, you would presumably divide them into piles (e.g. delicates, whites, etc.), put each pile into separate washes, dry each accordingly, fold and put them away. You would not take one shirt, wash it, dry it, put it away and then start the process again with the next piece of clothing.
How does this apply to your social media workflow? Setting time aside to write your Tweets, look at your calendar and respond to comments may seem like more time upfront. But you’re really batching similar tasks together to help you become more productive.
In a blog post, Darren Rowse explained how he uses batch processing for social media, “On an average day I probably have 4-5 such ‘batches’. The reason that I do this numerous times a day is that it helps me to connect with different groups of people in different time zones.”
So the first step in creating your social media workflow is knowing all the tasks you have to get done. Lucky for you, we’ve created a handy checklist for you to use.
Ready to drive right into setting up the perfect social media workflow? Let us reach out and teach you how Sprout Social's full suite of social tools can help.
Social Media Manager Task Checklist
These checklists are intended for you to have a handle on the tasks a social media manager might do. These tasks depend on if you’re the only person managing the company’s social media account or if you’re part of a team.
- Check private messages and mentions
- Curate content
- Schedule posts
- Manage blog post comments
- Check the next day’s scheduled posts
- Be aware of any breaking news that might affect your posting schedule
- Check in on a marketing campaign
- Collaborate with another department for future campaigns
- Write and/or edit blog posts
- Engage with influencers
- Listen to your community
- Plan your editorial calendar
- Review marketing campaign success
- Review social media analytics
- Find new accounts to follow
- Check in on your competition
- Review social media analytics from previous month
- Plan next month’s editorial calendar
- Review current processes and tweak if needed
- Set aside a few hours for a photo and/or video shoot
Time to Batch Your Tasks
Make friends with your favorite calendar app. For major time-consuming items like the monthly analytics review or planning your editorial calendar, block out time on your calendar for the tasks. If you’re responsible for creating content, you may find it useful to set aside a few hours each month to shoot all the photos and videos at the same time.
Take a few moments to write down your own task list and group them into categories that you can batch.
Automate What You Can
While not every task should be automated, it’s a good idea to consider what can be useful. For example, when you publish a blog post, do you share it automatically to Twitter?
Here are a few ways for you to add some automation to your social media workflow.
Automatically Post from RSS
Our Post via RSS feature is handy if you publish blog posts. Take a minute to setup your account to automatically Tweet every time you publish a post. You can also add other feeds besides your own. For example, if you work in social media, you could automatically share every time a new post is up in our Insights blog.
Add Twitter Suggested Replies
While this is not exactly a fully automatic process (which is a good thing), loading our Twitter Suggested Replies feature helps cut down on your response time. You’re likely asked similar questions each day, so use this feature to cut down reply time.
Utilize Facebook Response Assistant
The Facebook Response Assistant can be activated in your Page’s Settings. When you’re off writing a blog post and filtering out distractions or even when you’re sleeping, you can have your Page set automatically respond to any incoming messages.
Use a Service to Generate Your Social Media Reports
It takes time to build a robust social media report. If you find yourself spending time manually inputting data, it might be a good sign that you need an automatic report. Our reports are made presentation-ready. You can even subscribe to weekly summary reports just to make sure you’re on track.
Remember, not all automation is created equal. Figure out what kinds of automation is best for your brand.
Create Processes When You Find Yourself Repeating Tasks
Behind every good social media workflow is a series of strong processes. When you find yourself repeating tedious tasks like putting together a social media report, check and see if the process can be smoothed out. Tools have probably already been created for the pain point you’re experiencing.
How to Share a Blog Post on Social Media
When you publish a blog post, do you find yourself forgetting when to post on which network? Create a checklist and timeline that starts from the publishing date. It could look something like the below:
As you might be able to tell, once you decide on a social media promotion strategy for your blog posts, scheduling can be a no-brainer. The timeline will depend on how often you post and which networks you are active on. There are also exceptions. News-type posts might have a shorter lifespan than how-to guides.
Track Your Hashtags in One Place
Our Smart Inbox helps you consolidate your company’s hashtags across multiple social networks. Listening is an important part of a social media manager’s role. In order to provide the best customer care, you need to know what your customers are already talking about.
If you aren’t able to use Smart Inbox, you can use a service like IFTTT to automatically put all the Tweets that have a certain hashtag into a spreadsheet for you to look at later. Alternatively, you could also save searches in Twitter or set up a calendar alert every week to remind yourself to check up on hashtags.
Follow Relevant Accounts With a Discovery Tool
Our Listening feature is useful when you need to find new accounts to follow. Based on your engagement history and mentions, we recommend accounts that you might find interesting.
Take advantage of native features like Instagram’s Explore page to find relevant accounts. There are also many tools out there that specialize in finding influencers in your industry. Followerwonk and Klout can come in handy when you’re looking for new accounts.
There Is No Right Way to Execute Social Media
No social media workflow is the same. You may find that after batch processing for a few days that it’s not the best workflow for you. Or that some tasks can be batched but others will need a more flexible schedule. Whichever flow you choose, be sure to analyze it afterward.
We’re also interested in learning what you do to smooth out your workflow. Is there a favorite calendar app that you use? What automations have you put in place?