Taming Social Media: An Easier Approach to Great Content

White and brown hamster running on an exercise wheelOh, the time vortex that is social media! The black hole! The hamster wheel! The endless worry and fretting over what to post, the constant search for ideas, the daily back-of-the-mind nagging to find time to sit down and post something brilliant…

It’s easy to spend a lot of time on social media getting very little done. But when you run a small business, efficiency is key to sustainability. Here are our top tips for creating great content with less impact on your busy schedule. (We’ve included some content ideas for you, too.)

Create your content framework
Giving yourself a content framework makes generating your posts much easier, because you’ll know how many you need, as well as what kind.

One way to construct a framework is dedicating days of the week to particular types of posts. You might have one day for answering training questions, a day for sharing your favorite training or walking tips or mental enrichment toys, a day that you always post a client success story, etc.

It will also help to decide on the number of posts you’ll share each week. For example, your weekly content framework might include 2-3 dog-related meme shares, a client testimonial, 3 training tips, daily captioned walk or daycare floor or class photos, etc. The idea is to have a set “routine” of posts to avoid the pressure to make it up as you go.

Make things easy on yourself
Once you’ve decided on your weekly framework, carve time out of your schedule to get your content planned and created in batches. This is far more efficient than scrambling for time each day to put your posts together. Batch at least a week at a time, creating your posts for the week ahead. Or, if you really want to get off the social media hamster wheel, set aside a larger block of time once a month to get all your content planned and created for the month ahead.

Once you’ve decided on your posts and their timing, schedule them to go out automatically via apps like Hootsuite or software like Trello. This leaves your daily social media time for responding to questions or comments, rather than searching for post ideas.

What makes good content good
People are busy. Your followers have unlimited choices for how to spend their time and attention. Your posts must engage and provide value by educating, inspiring, or entertaining your audience. When crafting a piece of content, ask yourself: How might this post make my audience feel? How does or could it encourage them to engage? How will they benefit from this?

Good content is also varied content. Mix it up—some fun posts, some tip or other educational posts, photos, graphics, short videos, etc.

And good content is easy to consume. Keep things short—share one idea, concept, or point at a time, use as few words as possible, edit videos to hold them under one minute. The better you get at brevity, the more success you’ll have. 

Never miss a CTA
Social media is supposed to be social! The most successful pages are generally those with high engagement. Actively encourage your audience to engage with you by adding a call-to-action (CTA) to all of your posts. Depending on the nature of the post, invite people to click a link, answer a question, share their input, leave a comment, post a picture of their dog, message you for more info, email you now, sign up for your mailing list, etc.

Some content ideas for you
To make building your content framework a little easier, here’s a list of content ideas to get your brainstorming off to a quick start:

Re-share. Watch for funny dog memes or gifs, or graphics or tips from other dog pros you admire, to re-share with your audience. Every re-share is a post you don’t have to create! (Be sure to give credit where it’s due!)

Share links. Collect links to articles, products, info-graphics, etc. to dole out. Add a short caption to provide context or explain what you like about what you’re sharing.

Post client testimonials and reviews. Turn your clients’ glowing words into graphic posts using an app like Canva or Adobe Spark. If your clients have a lot to say about how awesome you are, be sure to edit down first!

Tell client success stories. Use captioned photos, short videos, or Instagram stories to show potential clients what working with you can do for them.

Invite your followers to ask you questions. Make it open-ended or give them a topic. Then answer each question in a separate post. (Remember that brevity is your friend—keep your answer posts short. You can always include a link to a blog post or other resource for a more in-depth version.)

Invite your followers to share. Ask your audience to share a favorite themed photo (their dog taking a nap, their dog with his or her favorite toy, their funniest photo of their dog, their dog’s Halloween costume, etc.) or video (best trick, most embarrassing moment, cutest thing ever, etc.). Invite them to tell a story or share a milestone (their best training achievement, most frustrating dog moment, biggest training breakthrough, favorite puppy story, etc.).

Share your go-tos. For example, your go-to training tools, online resources, treats, etc. (Remember to dole these out one at a time!)

Share your favorites. Your favorite dog tricks, dog sites, puzzle toys, hiking trails, books, etc. (Again, one at a time!)

Recycle content you’ve created for other purposes. For example, break points in a blog post or article you’ve written into multiple social media posts. Mine any presentations you have for post inspiration, too.

These are just a few ideas—we hope they get your creativity whirring!

Get off the content hamster wheel
If you’re ready to make managing your social media channels easier while also increasing their success, we urge you to grab or pull up your calendar right now and commit to two blocks of time: 1. Choose a 2-3 hour block of time to sit down and create your content framework. 2. Choose a regular weekly or monthly block of time to batch and schedule your content.

Getting out in front of your content creation and posting gets you off the social media hamster wheel, results in better content, and leaves more time for engaging with your audience. It also means more time for other aspects of running your dog business—and perhaps more downtime outside of it, too!