How to Use Sprout Social to Do Less Work
October 03 2013
Yes – you can do less work and make more of an impact. I explain this often as I stand before a group of small business owners each week. Then they usually stare at me in disbelief.
They wonder…how? How do you do something that seems like it would take far more effort than the actual work itself? How do you add in tweets, instagrams, facebook updates, on top of an already busy schedule? How do you do something that often seems like a full-time job in itself? The key is…to simplify.
If it sounds too simple to be true, think differently.
Sprout Social is one way that I simplify my social media work…and you can too.
1. Use media to be social
When you use media to be social, your work becomes so much easier when you think this way.
You see, when you do great work…you don’t need a lot marketing. You simply need to know who you’re talking to. You can pull back the curtain and look people in the eye digitally (as my friend Ted Rubin often says). Looking at your customer’s and recognizing their needs is a lot more simple than playing guessing games.
You see, I learned this the hard way recently. I learned it in-person. And it forced me to react on my feet (which is much more challenging than learning through the digital screen).
In the first class I taught at a local college, I had no idea as to the knowledge level of the students. No matter how many times I asked before my class, I couldn’t get the names or or any information about them. I had to show up on the same day that I was speaking, and then get the list of names. My entire presentation became a guessing game. It was like presenting information to an audience with the lights off…for three hours. Not an easy way to keep everyone engaged. And a great way to make your audience fall asleep (luckily that didn’t happen to me).
I ended up covering social media on a holistic level. I described the history of media, how social media fits into where we are in history, and the importance of content in the digital landscape. It’s knowledge that I thought that anyone who runs a small business would appreciate. Here are the slides of this course.
What did I learn from this?
I learned that even information in the real world is often inaccessible and beyond my control. I learned to not take myself too seriously (and laugh at my dorky jokes). I learned how to listen and to teach based on the needs of my customers…my students in this case.
The good news with social media? A lot of things are in your control. You can experiment. You can listen. And once you do both, you’ll wonder why you ever stood in front of an audience with the lights off…when you had access to knowledge.
Tip: Use the Report function in Sprout Social to turn on the lights. You’ll get demographics about your Twitter followers, daily engagement charts, and outbound tweet content for your review.
2. Tell your story with impact
When you tell your story with impact, you’ll find a way to come alive. When you come alive, you’re a hell of a lot more passionate about what you do.
Stories help channel your passion. It makes your vision more meaningful. And it puts pizzazz into your presentation.
In the second class I taught, I described how I met someone named @TedCurtin on Twitter. His Twitter bio simply said “with family and friends,” so I figured he could have lived in California, Utah, Thailand…or any other of the million places in the world. We then continued our conversation on LinkedIn, where we learned that we both lived in New Jersey. Ok, it’s a big enough state. The chances of us being in close enough proximity to meet in-person? Slim-to-none. Another email or two later and we learned that…we work around the corner from each other! So, we planned to meet at a local Starbucks to talk in-person. This is one of the million reasons I love Twitter. It allows you to take relationships, and meaningfulness to the next level.
Tip: Use the Discover feature on Sprout Social to do a Smart Search. Find relevant people and businesses who share a similar story. Create awareness around your content by building relationships. And hey, you might just meet a new colleague who happens to work down the street.
3. Clean design helps you get more done
Design is often an indicator of functional quality. And I often use it as a way to choose products or services. Sprout Social has a clean, minimalistic interface and it makes managing your social media more meaningful.
Design that’s aesthetically beautiful makes you want to hang out and get more done. Imagine that.
Tip: Use the CleanUp feature to unfollow silent accounts, people with irregular usage, and those that do not follow you back. Social Media should be an enjoyable experience. If you learn where to look…and where not to look, social media management becomes not only fun…but a beautiful way to experience social.
4. Link all of your accounts
Once you set up your Sprout Social account with all of your social media information, you can stop worrying and wondering about all of your passwords. You don’t have to log-in each time you want to tweet, send a photo on instagram, or update your LinkedIn. You can simply login to your Sprout Social dashboard and boom! All of your accounts are there. And you can easily share away.
Tip: Create Groups to help organize, manage, and report on your social media efforts more efficiently. You’ll get in-depth info and you can even sign up to get emailed a weekly report.
5. Integrate with other platforms
I use Sprout Social along with Buffer. The load speed to share an article is a lot quicker with Buffer. But the data and depth of Sprout Social is a lot more robust. Find which tools and technology are a must for your social media strategy. Integrate with the ones that make sense.
If you find that something isn’t intuitive, or you’re over thinking how to use a tool, you might want to rethink if you even need it in the first place. Tools and technology are a way to communicate. The focus should be on what you do with the tools…not time spent on how you use the tools.
Tip: Go into Utilities & Goodies to install the Sprout extension to your browser. You can share web pages while your browsing the Internet. When you integrate technology, the experience becomes seamless. You do less work. And you build social media into your workflow. It’s about working with social media, not against it.
Bonus Tip: Link Sprout Social with Feedly to curate content. Feedly is a magazine style news reader that will save you time hunting for interesting content. Integrating with Feedly can help you curate your way to quality content. Curating content leads to change. And change isn’t as scary as you may think.
Are you a small business owner who wants to learn more about social media? Check out my Meaningful Media course, launching April 2014.
Note: this is *not* a paid promotion and I have not received any compensation for writing this review.