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Tips for saving time when creating online content for social media

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It can be hard for entrepreneurs and business owners to find time to create as much content as they would like to share with the world on social media.

Frankly, finding the balance between getting your work done as well as having enough downtime to refresh your body and your mind can be downright difficult.

Here are some tips I have found most useful for ensuring that you are getting your message out into the interwebs while saving your time and your sanity!

Use templates

Not just for emails, templates are handy for social media posts, too.

For Instagram, set up a document where you can type out longer posts on a computer keyboard rather than on a phone with two fingers. All my long posts are typed in Evernote then copied into Later when I’m ready to automate them.

Put together a series of hashtags relevant to your brand and copy and paste them at the bottom of every Instagram post - they can also be used in tweets. Sometimes you may want to add or remove extra hashtags, but as long as you have the key ones ready to go it will save you time.

Keep some hashtags aside for your twitter feed, too. Include the URL of your website so that it can be copied into a new tweet with the hashtags without having to go hunting for it first.

Batch-schedule your social media posts

I know I’m beginning to sound like a stuck record, but seriously, automate as much as you can. Use Buffer, Hootsuite, Later, anything you can to make your life that little bit easier. Find my recommendations for scheduling posts here.

Designate a time to produce content and be creative.

Set aside a designated time and stick to it. This can be hard. Sometimes you can sit down to work and nothing comes, then a few hours later when you’re trying to switch off, inspiration strikes. You write down a couple of things, then some more, you get on a roll and before you know it, two hours have passed and you have a month’s worth of content in front of you!

Not that this is entirely a bad thing, sure it’s great you have lots of new content, but ideally you want to be making it during your working hours, not when you are meant to be with your family or having some quality time to yourself.

Apparently you can train yourself to be creative. Many an author has written bestselling novels by sticking to a schedule.

Either discover what time of day you are most creative and set aside that time. Or, if that time happens to be in the middle of the night when you would rather be asleep, try to reset it so it works best for you.

Sit down at your appointed time, open a new document, web page, blog post, social media post and simply begin writing something. Anything. At this stage it doesn’t have to be spectacular.

If you’re really stuck, start with our old friends, the Six Honest Serving Men: Who, What, Why, When, How, Where, Who. Even writing out who you are, what you do and why you do it could be the catalyst for the beginning of a new blog or tweet.

Your mind will flow from one thing to another and before you realise it you could have 500 words down!

Plan ahead

Often the most efficient way to get stuff done is to know what kind of stuff you want to work on in the first place.

Many a time I have booted up the iMac, made a cup of coffee, sat down expectantly then realised I had no clue what I wanted to do with my time. Usually I would then end up wasting an hour or two on social media without making any progress.

When you can plan your tasks for the following day, week or even month it can make all the difference.

Start with tomorrow. What do you want to accomplish tomorrow? Pick only three things that are going to be your priorities and write them in your journal, planner, or diary.

If you’re lucky enough to have more than three things, put them down for the upcoming days. Having a clear plan in front of you gives so much more clarity than if you just turned on the computer to see if inspiration strikes.

Sometimes inspiration will strike, more often than not, it won’t. Better to tick off even minor tasks from your list than to not do any at all.

My own experience

Often, after an afternoon of fruitless non-work on the computer, I would find my brain more engaged at more auspicious times.

I would go to bed, intending to go to sleep then my mind would go into overdrive with ideas, thoughts and wild ambitions. It would go on until the early hours and I would have to write or type a lot of notes so I wouldn’t forget important things.

Since I began listening to audiobooks when I go to bed, I stopped the overworked mind and began falling asleep at a more reasonable time (Sir David Attenborough’s are my favourite!). Yet my creative juices still flow at the time when I want to be winding down.

I’m writing this at 7.37pm, four hours after I shut down my iMac. Right now I’d rather be having my supper, reading my Kindle and settling down before my 5am alarm in the morning. Altogether I have written nine long posts for Instagram in the two hours since teatime.

Now, the only thing stopping me from continuing is the fact my laptop battery is about to die. Frankly, I’m relieved!