Alright…let’s cut to the chase. You know you’re going to use social media to help you grow your audience.
Your number of followers does matter. Shitty, but true.
It totally sucks, but in the online world numbers do matter. The more followers you have means the easier it is to leverage your audience and profit from your endeavors. That’s why Beyoncé could make a million dollars selling dog poo.
So regardless of if you’re gunning to hit the first 1,000 followers mark – or you’re way past that, you know your work is never done when it comes to list growth.
Keep sharing or die.
Depending on what platform you’re focusing on there are different strategies to grow your numbers. But what is the same across the board is that you have to post A LOT and you have to do it consistently. Otherwise your audience will shrink and your engagement will tank.
Successful Instagrammers post 2-3 times a day, the experts say you should be posting at least 3 times a day on Facebook, and Pinterest requires like 10+ times a day to start to really kill it at their algorithm.
You might be saying, “HOLD UP. Holy whhhhat!?!” And the answer is, “Yes. It’s a freakin’ ton”.
If you’re DIY-ing it, be prepared to spend 1/4 of your work hours creating social media graphics.
Yes you heard that right! And that’s the low-end.
If you don’t believe me, let’s break it down:
If you’re focusing on Pinterest, then your strategy is likely sharing 5-10 of your own pins each day (which is exactly what people killing it on Pinterest do). That means that on the conservative side (with 5 pins per day), you need 1825 of your own graphics to share over the year.
Now…say you’re super fast at creating graphics and it only takes you 15 minutes each (which is lightning fast if you care about them actually looking good). Do the math and that’s over 456 hours!
5 pins per day x 365 days x 15 mins each = 456 hours and 15 mins
or = 11.4 weeks of pure social media graphic creation
And that’s on the low end at 5 per day. If you were to go for 10 pins you would spend 6 out of 12 months a year creating graphics. Plus, it doesn’t include the time you need to strategize, write keywords, schedule pins, pin other people’s content, etc, etc.
As you can see, using social media to grow your audience is a full-time job.
I don’t know about you – but I’m trying to figure out how to work less, not add another full time job to my already packed calendar.
Don’t get discouraged.
The point of all of this number crunching and real talk isn’t to get you down. I don’t want you to start questioning if you should be using social media as a list building strategy.
Using social media to grow your audience is a proven strategy. It works, otherwise everyone wouldnt be doing it. And once you grow your list of raving fans the momentum will continue and it will pay off over-and-over-and-over.
The point is to get you realistically thinking about how you can use social media and really reap all of the benefits, without getting overwhelmed and burnt out.
So the question is, how do you maximize your time and use social media to your advantage without it taking over your life?
Here are 4 creative ways to save time creating social media graphics
Create design templates and use them over and over.
Simply put, you don’t have the time to reinvent the wheel on this task. You should not be sitting down to a blank canvas and wondering what to put down on it. And you certainly shouldn’t be scanning stock photos for hours. This will send you down a rabbit hole you may never get out of. Your goal is to save up your creative juices for when you truly need it.
THE SOLUTION: Create pre-designed templates.
Having your layouts and graphics already in place – so that you can just swap out text will save you COUNTLESS HOURS.
So, here’s what I want you to do: (you can repeat this process for each social media channel you use)
1. Select the social media platform you want to focus on: Instagram, FB or Pinterest (If you aren’t sure, for now, just choose one. I will write a separate post about how to choose the right social channel for your biz).
2. Next make a list of all of the categories or types of things you share on that platform. For example, on my Pinterest account I share links to free graphics, as well as, links to helpful design content like this. So I have
3. “Graphics/Templates” and “Tips”. Maybe you also share #ootd or a quote each day. Write down each one and make a note of how many categories there are. I have two.
4. Now, determine the ideal image size for your social platform. This is always changing, so I’m not going to outline them all here. I want you to check the most up to date info on this. At the time I’m writing this the idea Pinterest graphic size is: 735 px wide x 1000 px tall so I’ll use that in my example.
5. I want you to open up whatever software you’ll be using to create your graphics (I use Photoshop for a lot of reasons, you may be using that or possibly Canva).
6. Create a new file to the size of what you outlined in no. 3. Create one of these files for each of your categories – so I’ll have two blank files that are 735 px x 1000 px. One for “Graphics” and one for “Tips”.
7. Design your graphic for each category. Make sure to include: your logo, possibly your website url, your brand colors and be sure to use fonts that are on-brand and legible. It’s great to add textures or photos in the background if you like, but that’s not necessary.
Here’s an example of a template you might use if you were a fashion blogger:
This will be your template going forward. Next time you sit down to create a batch up social media graphics, I want you to use this file. Open it and “save as”. Then simply replace the text with your new text and save. You’ll be able to create ten times as many graphics this way.
Not only does it go more quickly but it also ensures that your graphics are consistent which is really important for building brand recognition. It may feel boring to you, but to your audience (who is likely visually overstimulated) this will feel familiar and build trust.
If this feels like too much for you – ask your graphic designer if this is something he or she does. I provide this design service for my clients and I know it is a simple way to make their lives much easier.
Have a VA use your template to create the files
As you can see creating templates saves you a ton of time. But you still have plug in the content and save the files – which does add up. If you’re really busy – this is something you should consider having your VA do. Even for the visually anal, you should feel pretty comfortable delegating this task since you’ve already setup the templates. There’s not a whole lot to get wrong once these are in place. And that will free up your time to focus on more high-level work.
If you do 1 and 2 that allows your social media channels to be driving new people to your site while you focus on the stuff you really care about (If you’re me, that’s spending time with family and sleeping).
Just because I’m a designer doesn’t mean that I believe everyone needs a designer on-hand to do their graphics. Some brands demand a high-level of attention to design detail in order to get respect and followers and others don’t. For example, if your business is built on aesthetics, like say you’re a Fashion Stylist, then looking pixel-perfect matters more to you than if you’re an Online Systems Strategist. It may be important to the Systems Strategist to look good online personally, but their audience probably doesn’t care as much since design and aesthetics isn’t something they are going to her for.
If you fall into the latter bucket and you don’t feel like you have to be as styled to attract the right people, then consider creating more low-tech content. What I mean by being low-tech is using your iPhone. haha!
Literally write out (with marker and paper) your content and take a photo. Elephant Journal does this wonderfully on Instagram (and FB) and it works perfectly for their brand. Check it out.
Recycle your content
It IS okay to recycle content and re-post content you’ve already shared. The truth is that only a percentage of people see what you post to begin with – so re-sharing is like insurance that you’re getting in front of more people. The important thing to note here is when, where and how you re-post. Consider how long it’s been, what platform you’re using and in what context you’re re-posting.
I would recommend building up a bit of a library before recycling content. But the truth is it really doesn’t matter. Sharing is caring regardless of whether or not it’s 100% fresh or not.
Well…that wraps it up. Do you have any other tips for saving yourself hours creating social media graphics? I’d love to hear your unique strategies.
As always, thank you :)