One of the things that small businesses often worry about is how much time social media can take out of their day. Using social media channels is a key part of the marketing strategy and, done well, can result in a significant positive impact on sales. There is an answer to this potentially time-consuming approach – using automation wisely to save time and money. Here’s our digital virtual assistant guide to efficient social media management.

What to automate?

This is key to a successful social media approach. There are certainly tools and options that help you to automate some of the more time-consuming tasks, but it’s important to remember that you can’t – and shouldn’t – automate everything. At its heart, social media is about human interaction, so you should make sure there is still some time available for genuine interaction – particularly with your customers.

Automating scheduling

As anyone working in social media marketing management services will tell you, using scheduling tools is one of the most efficient changes you can make. Scheduling allows you to write all your posts in one go – into a single scheduling site – across several of your social media pages, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. You choose the date and time that you want the post to go live, and you let the tool do the rest.

There are various scheduling options available – some have free options, which work well for small businesses that only use a couple of channels. You can also choose a paid-for package which allows you to schedule more and get better data analytics. The most popular scheduling tools are:

  • Hubspot
  • Buffer
  • Hootsuite
  • Sprout social
  • SocialPilot

Before you choose a scheduling tool, take a look at how you use your channels and what your needs will be – this will help you choose the best tool for you.

Have a content plan

If you’re scheduling content, you’ll need a plan for what that content will be. Top virtual assistants with social media expertise say that you need a blend of content – posts that are automated alongside posts that you put up on an ad hoc basis when you see something you want to share, for example, or want to give a shout out to a customer or colleague.

Planning ahead might take a little time each month, but it saves a huge amount of time over the course of the month. Set aside some time to plan and schedule and then your social media will mostly take care of itself.

Bring in some support

Of course, one of the quickest ways to automate your social media is to get someone else to do it for you! This has several added benefits:

  • You can outsource all your social media tasks in one go
  • You can work with someone who is already familiar with scheduling and automation tools
  • You get the benefit of working with social media experts
  • You can work together, so you don’t lose contact with your channels altogether
  • You can build your social media approach into your marketing, sales and customer service strategies

This is where it can be useful to look at specialist social media marketing companies for small business, or consider a virtual content marketing coordinator who has the experience to give you the help you need.

Keep engagement personal

Whilst it’s accepted that many businesses schedule their posts, and that it’s a great way of managing a potentially time-consuming task, your followers will expect any replies or support to be personal. So even if you’ve moved to automating our outsourcing your social media posts, someone should always be monitoring your accounts to make sure that you respond to enquiries or mentions quickly and personally.

You can do this by turning on selected notifications so that you know when you have been mentioned or tagged. This allows you to go in and respond quickly and easily, delivering better customer service without being on your social media all the time.

If you’re short on time, and automating or outsourcing your social media would help to make your business more efficient, why not call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above to see how a digital virtual assistant can help?


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