How To Make Your Social Content Writers More Productive & Efficient
Over the last decade, the influence of social media in the business world has radically changed, taking it from a potentially-valuable side pursuit to one of the cornerstones of digital marketing. Large and small businesses alike now invest in social content writers to represent them online through lining up high-quality posts, and even getting involved in live chats (see Wendy’s).
It’s easy to understand why the social media world is so alluring. The creative opportunities are almost endless, the broad reach is irresistible, and the saturation of most business markets means that the most practical way to stand out is through personality — something best expressed through a succinct conversational platform.
But since everyone is hammering social media, making the average feed move at a dizzying pace, it’s extremely difficult to get noticed. You need pace and quality, and that combination is hard to achieve. If you’re running a business with a social content team, then, you need to find ways to bolster productivity and efficiency. Here are some vital tips:
Provide them with clear brand guidelines
Back when social media platforms were new on the scene, many saw them as playthings, naturally assuming them to have the same freewheeling anonymity of most forums. They didn’t anticipate today’s social media status quo: anonymity considered cowardly, social media posts considered outright important, and past comments scoured for points of weakness.
It’s hardly surprising that many businesses are scared of social media. They sensibly fear the consequences of contentious phrasing, mistimed commentary, or trying to be creative and attracting only mockery.
So how do you keep your social content going without taking too many risks?
You create guidelines covering your basic brand identity — the tone you strive for, the terms you must or won’t use, the people you intend to engage with, and the values you cherish.
Every time one of your writers has to consult you about something they’re uncertain about (“Can I use this term? Is this acceptable?”), it takes up valuable time and effort. By getting your brand identity fully mapped out, you can pass it to everyone participating in the content production process, making it relatively easy to keep things consistent and speedy.
Encourage the use of automation tools
So much time is lost in the process of getting similar material prepared for different platforms, because every platform has different requirements regarding everything from image size to post length — you might draft a post for Twitter, then need to redraft it to suit Instagram. And then there’s the practical matter of publishing the posts. It’s hardly difficult, but it can be laborious when the content stacks up, and the chance of human error goes up the longer it goes on.
Automation tools change the game by massively reducing the time spent on repetitive tasks.
Using just one social media automation tool, you can easily distribute a post to multiple platforms simultaneously, with each version tweaked as needed to fit the context. Instead of working on several distinct posts, then, you can work on just one source post, make the resources as good as you can get them, and get much greater results from it.
And given the presence of robust scheduling, you can save even more time through having your social content writers prepare content in batches and rolling it out steadily throughout the year.
There’s a negative side to this, of course, and you can go too far in laying out content (particularly when unexpected global events occur and leave your posts looking outdated and out of place), but setting out evergreen pieces for the coming months isn’t a risky tactic.
Get them working together more closely
Collaboration is a core part of effective ideation, which is absolutely key for producing compelling social media content. You don’t have many characters to play with, meaning you need to get your points across as succinctly as possible, and it’s far harder to communicate with brevity than it is to write long (and most likely boring) pieces of content.
You may run a very modern organisation with plenty of flexible and/or remote workers, so you might wonder whether collaboration can work in such circumstances.
The answer? Quite easily. Through a combination of Slack-style communication tools, VoIP chats, shared cloud storage, and even interactive whiteboard apps, it’s entirely possible to collaborate at a distance.
Getting your social content writers on the same page will greatly help their efficiency and creativity. Have them exchange ideas, sort the hits from the misses, and reach an agreement about which writers should handle which tasks (for instance, one writer may be faster at writing emotive copy, while another might be faster at writing business-centric copy).
Offer them meaningful incentives
Even though it’s a job that many people would love to have, writing social content at a high level is far from non-stop fun. Prepared content — which is most of it — often needs to be edited (for the sake of quality, if not tone), especially when there are other people involved.
Think about tagging, for instance. If your business is partnering with another, what tags should or shouldn’t you use when referring to that partner? There’s a process to getting things signed off.
This can lead to social content writers becoming tired and disillusioned, particularly when results don’t arrive for reasons that can’t directly be attributed to them. So if you want the writers to work as effectively and efficiently as they can, you need to ensure that they’re properly incentivised. Are you paying them enough? Giving them interesting benefits? Allowing them time to breathe and find some enjoyment from what they’re doing?
The more you can improve the productivity and efficiency of your social content writers without unduly decreasing their quality of life (because any improvements that engender employee dissatisfaction will be very short-lived), the easier you’ll find it to maintain an effective and forward-thinking digital marketing campaign. Use some or all of these tips to good effect, and it’ll pay off soon enough.