Marketing

4 tips to save time on social media during the busy season

Everyone gets busy, but that's no reason to let your online presence suffer

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Summer is a great time to work in real estate. People are moving. Deals are closing. You’re staying busy and (hopefully) making money. But all of this action leaves little time for marketing.

And for many agents, social media marketing can be at the bottom of the priority list. Any social media strategy you started up during the slow season, you might push to the end of the day — after showings, meetings and closings have taken up your time.

We all know that the things you leave to the end of the day are the least likely to get done. However, there are certain tools and strategies that can help you automate your social media, so you can manage your marketing in as little time as possible. Here’s how to do it:

1. Pick a tool and find your best times to post

There are dozens of social media scheduling tools out there, but the two most popular are Hootsuite and Buffer. I recommend setting up an account on both, clicking around and trying their apps. You’ll likely decide you like one more than the other.

At the end of the day, making the effort to use the tool is a lot more important than the tool itself. Once you pick a tool, you’ll need to figure out what times of the day you should be posting to get the best results in the least amount of time.

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In Buffer, you can generate your ideal posting times, choose how often you would like to post and then set these times as your new schedule. This algorithm looks at your past 5,000 engagements to select your best posting times for each of your social media accounts. Then, you can replace your existing post schedule with this optimized list.

If you go with Hootsuite, they have a built-in tool, Autoschedule, which shares your posts at optimal times of the day. When you share a post through your dashboard, mobile app or their Chrome extension, Hootlet, just select the Autoschedule option. Based on your followers’ activity and engagement, Hootsuite will choose some ideal posting times and push out your posts automatically.

2. Curate relevant content to share

Although obviously you want to share some of your content to your social feeds, such as blog posts, e-books and new listings, you will want to balance your social channels with relevant content from other people.

In Buffer, you can do this with my favorite tool, Feeds. This feature uses RSS feeds to curate content from other websites, and it puts all of their posts into Buffer to share. You can find it here.

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I would add some local content to your Feeds, such as your favorite local blogger’s site, a newspaper or local news channel, and the blogs of any industry partners you work with such as a home stager or lender.

You can also add Feeds from more general content — perhaps a home design site such as Houzz or HGTV. For bigger sites, you can usually just type the name into “Add & Remove Feeds,” and it will pick it up, but you might have to do a bit of digging to find the RSS links for some smaller sites.

Hootsuite has an RSS feed integration as well; however, new posts are automatically scheduled when they go out. I would stay away from this level of automation and instead opt to use “Streams” to find relevant content.

Streams are collections of social posts about a particular topic or keyword that appears in your Hootsuite dashboard, where you can easily share or repost them to your Feeds. Set up streams for terms including your city, real estate and home decor. You can scroll through these streams and schedule out content a few times a week.

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3. Analyze what’s working

The easiest way to get the best results from limited social media effort is to focus on your followers’ favorite content. To do this, you’ll want to use your scheduler’s analytics tools to see what’s working. In Buffer, head to the analytics tab, and you’ll see options to sort your posts by most clicks, shares or likes.

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You won’t be able to export this list unless you have the business plan, but just skimming the top results will give you a good idea of what’s resonating with your audience. Then, share more of that kind of content.

Repeat this process with the least favorite posts. See a trend? Cut down that type of content.

In Hootsuite, head to the Analytics tab and select “Ow.ly Click Summary.” Choose the account you want the report on, and create the report.

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Then, you’ll be able to see your top ranking links by click at the bottom of the report, along with a summary of your top referrers and clicks by region. Use your top links to see what types of content you should share more often.

4. Find time to check in

Buffer’s Kevan Lee has a great analogy for social media automation: Don’t think of it as cooking a rotisserie chicken; think of it as baking cookies.

That means you can’t just set it and forget it. You don’t want to burn those cookies (or lose your following). It’s important to find time to engage and interact with your followers a few minutes a day to ensure you’re still present.

Waiting on a client? Check your notifications. Filling up the tank? Share or retweet a post from a local business. You’ll still spend a few minutes each day responding and engaging, but these tools will streamline the most time-consuming parts of your social media strategy.

Sleep soundly knowing that even on your busiest days, your social channels will be sharing relevant content and growing your online reach.

What are your favorite tools and strategies for staying on top of your social media marketing during the busy months? Continue the conversation in the comments below.

Erica Tafavoti is the inbound marketer at Pipeline ROI. You can follow her on Twitter.

Email Erica Tafavoti.