We feel your pain….
People who took our most recent digital destination marketing survey gave us a lot of honest feedback in the open-ended portions.
This question from one participant is similar to what we hear in almost all of our social media workshops:
“We don’t really do anything but Facebook. We should do more, but I also do Economic Development, so never enough time for everything. Is there a way to be more efficient?”
Yes, there is a way, but it’s probably not what you’d expect.
In our experience, too many people are looking for a hack, a trick, a do-it-all-for-me tool, or what we call the “magic beans” solution to how to be more efficient with social media.
There really isn’t one.
Leslie has a great analogy to explain what you DO need to do. She says that before you can grow something, you have to get the soil ready first. If you just throw seeds into the ground any which way, you may get a scraggly plant or two and some weeds, but you won’t be successful.
Here is your “soil prep” for efficiency and success:
1) Set focused marketing goals.
That means a goal beyond “bring in more visitors.”
Instead, get very specific, like growing a niche visitor segment (bicycle tourism, culinary tourism, birding enthusiasts, etc.) or, say, increasing the number of off-season visitors, or getting more conference/business visitors to extend their stay.
Give yourself enough time to achieve your goals; it may take a few years.
2) Take the time needed to plan the digital marketing content that will support those goals.
The beauty of a very specific goal or visitor niche is that it helps guide you to create exactly the type of content that will attract that particular visitor (efficiency!)
Here is one of our workshop slides to explain this, using bicycle tourism as an example:
Notice that, if you’re trying to reach cyclists on Instagram, you’ll need to do some research into the hashtags that they tend to follow, in addition to posting great photos of your local bike-friendly roads, local bike shop, bike-friendly places to eat, etc.
—->> Tip: Tactical-level stuff like niche hashtags is where too many people start, instead of doing the strategic goal-setting work first, so that they can then focus on exactly the sort of content that fits the goals. Spending too much time in the weeds, and making it up as you go along, is terribly inefficient.
** Here’s our detailed blog post on a social media content planning process, so you’ll actually know what you’re posting in upcoming days and weeks (more efficiency!)
3) Use checklists and scheduling tools to post at the right times for your audiences, and fit posting into your workflow.
Once you’ve done Steps 1 and 2 above – set focused goals, and take the time to plan content that supports those goals – you can take advantage of pre-scheduling posts and using dashboards like Hootsuite and TweetDeck to set up a more efficient workflow.
Post pre-scheduling doesn’t mean that you’re totally “done” with social media – you can’t ignore notifications that someone has tagged you, or comments on posts, because you DO need to respond – but it does help to be able to set up and publish the right content at the right time, automatically, for a few days or a week ahead.
We’re big fans of checklists, too, to stay focused on getting the right things done. Even a simple index card with that day’s Six Most Important Things list is a vast improvement over running frantically from one thing to another, depending upon who or what is making the most noise.
In summary, here is our answer to how to be more efficient with social media…. Set focused goals first, then take the time to plan and create the content that supports them, and use tools and checklists to schedule posts and keep track of tasks.
One last thought for our survey respondent: it’s OK if Facebook is all you can handle right now, as long as that’s where your market is. Much better to do one social platform well, than to stink at trying to do a bunch of them.
Share your favorite ways to work more efficiently in the comments below; we’d love to hear from you.
PS. Tourism Currents shows you and/or your partners how to use digital destination marketing to bring more visitors to your town. We are a training and education resource no matter where you are in your career, or your knowledge level.
Not already getting these blog posts via email? Click here for the Tourism Currents newsletter signup page.
Save the date!
Wednesday, November 13 at 4 p.m. Eastern is our next webinar, about time management
Join us to get more tips and advice about social media time management and workflow integration, even for “teams of one.”
Yes, there will be a recording if you can’t attend the live event, and everyone who registers gets the handout and a PDF of the slides.
Watch on our Tourism Currents social channels for registration info, and see you there.