Effective social media marketing with limited time

Chris Esh


You’re a small organization trying to promote your brand or message.

You post to Twitter and Facebook a few times a week, and try to blog every other week. You’ve also dabbled in Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and/or any other social media you hear is the hot new thing in the social media marketing world.

But despite spending valuable creative energy every week typing witty tweets and profound blog posts, your engagement rates leave a lot to be desired.

For many organizations engaging in this sort of flash in the pan digital marketing, social media may be the biggest time waster of your week.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are six tips to focus your social media marketing strategy to better engage your audience without exerting much effort.

Your Audience Are People Too

What do you hope to find when you open Facebook on your phone in the evening? You probably aren’t looking to be sold products or guilt-tripped into supporting a nonprofit organization.
Tons of social media marketing flops can be prevented if you put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Before posting next time, ask yourself: if I didn’t work for this organization, would I click/like/share this post? Be honest.
  • Post content that people would actually want to consume in their down time.
  • Link to a fascinating article.
  • Post a quality, original photo.
  • Share a fun/interesting event.
  • Post an inspiring story.
  • Overtly try to sell anything.
  • Don’t disrespect your audience with content that isn’t relevant to them.

Less is More

Don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to maintain five different social media accounts. Your time is much more effectively spent focusing your time on one or two platforms, and doing them well.

Don’t worry too much about the hottest new platform.

Instead decide based on where your audience is most likely to be.

If your business is in handmade crafts, maybe Pinterest. If it’s business-to-business, then consider LinkedIn. If you’re an advocacy organization, try Twitter. If you want younger people, maybe Instagram.

If you’re not sure, Facebook is a safe bet because of the sheer number of users across most generations.

Define Your Goals

Aimless social media will do nothing for your organization. Instead, take some time to define how social media fits into your larger organizational goals.

Then list SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) goals for your digital marketing. For example, grow your audience by X% by the end of the year and get three new leads from LinkedIn this quarter.

Create a Calendar

Take some time each month or each week to plan out your posts for the coming period. Then schedule time on your calendar to create the content.

Creating good content takes time and energy. If you don’t schedule in that time, it likely won’t get done.

Use a tool like HootSuite to schedule your posts so you don’t have to think about it all week long. Social media is much less daunting when you plan a week’s worth of posts in one sitting.

Engage with Others

Social media is about connecting, not broadcasting. Share others’ content and tag others on your posts. Reply to comments.

Show your audience that there is a real human being on the other side of your organization’s account, and they’re far more likely to tag you and interact with you.

Deliver Value

Lastly, personality is good, but don’t try too hard to be cool or witty with your organization’s social media. Focus on delivering value (through shared articles and resources) and demonstrating the value you offer your clients.

Position your organization as an expert in your industry that is also approachable and genuine.

Next Steps

If you don’t have a good digital marketing strategy, start now.
Decide on a couple pieces of shareable content, set up an account with Hootsuite, then schedule away. Make sure you get notifications so you can respond if people engage. Continue to do this for a few weeks and see if any patterns emerge in what content gets the most engagement.
Social media still may not be a major driver of new customers or supports for your organization. But don’t discount its power. If done effectively, social media can be used to position you as the friendly expert in your space. It will keep you on the minds of your audience, so you’ll be the first they think of when they need what you provide.

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