This first appeared on The Huffington Post.

We all know the power of social media. But do you know about the power of having a social media strategy? Yes, there is great benefit to approaching your social media campaigns with both strategy and organization. Jumping into the world of social media without a plan is a waste of time for you and your followers. And if you’re just starting – here’s how to make it easy.

If you’re gonna invest your valuable time…make sure you’re doing it with purpose.

FIRST STEP, CHOOSE ONE TO THREE PLATFORMS IN WHICH YOU CAN REALISTICALLY BE INVOLVED.

List them out in order of importance. Think about your audience. Who are they? What interests them? What catches their attention?

Next, create a game plan regarding your engagement on each platform. Basically, you have to figure out how much time you’ll commit to spending on each platform on a daily basis. Commit to that schedule and plot it out in your calendar. It’s always a nice reminder to see it in your calendar.

Plan on spending a minimum of 30 minutes to really engage on each platform. These 30 minutes will be devoted to more than checking your feed and liking posts. You’re growing a business and to get your name out there, you need to engage. This means you are not just liking a post or retweeting/sharing it. You certainly should do those things but you are going to go two steps further.

BEGIN BY LEAVING A COMMENT ON THE SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS.

Why? It shows you’re paying attention and also allows others to see you on that platform. When commenting, make sure you give specifics to show you actually read the post. Next step, go to that person’s website and comment on the article there. Why? So you can stand out! Think about it, when you go to someone’s website and read an article, how many comments show up? Chances are not a whole lot, right?

Taking the time to comment not only shows the author, but also everyone else who comes to the page that you were there. It also shows that you’re willing to connect with that person in another area.

The more you start engaging across different platforms, the more people recognize you. The other benefit to commenting on someone’s website is it builds up your online reputation. People see your name, your comment, and can click to go directly to your website. That’s why it’s important to leave a good comment that ties in specifics from the article and drop some of your expertise as it relates.

DEVOTE SOME TIME TO CREATING QUALITY POSTS.

Don’t feel like you have to create all this new content when, really, you don’t have the time.

Take a look at the things you’ve already created and see what you can use.

For instance, if you created a video of yourself giving advice on x, y, z, you can take that video and pull out at least one 15-30 second clip that you could share on social media.

I do a lot of Periscopes (live broadcasting) and when I’m done I save the broadcast to my device. I then upload it to my computer, open iMovie (on a Mac) and can pull a handful of short clips from a 5-10 minute live video. You can upload clips directly to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or wherever else you need them to go.

Note: It’s better to upload posts, but more importantly videos, directly through the social network channel you are on vs. scheduling them (I’ll cover that next).

Need help producing creative posts? Check out Canva and Adobe Spark – two of my favorite sites/apps to use for designing posts. Don’t forget, you can even use Instagram for those times you just want to add a filter to your image. Just put your device in “airplane” mode so it doesn’t upload it to your Instagram feed and it will save the edited image to your device.

You’ve chosen your social networking platforms, scheduled time to engage, and have figured out what you will post.

NOW COMES TIME TO ACTUALLY POST.

As I mentioned, you want to post directly on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter as much as possible. However, we all have busy lives and it’s hard to do that all the time so we have to rely on scheduling apps such as Hootsuite and Buffer. I use (and highly recommend) Buffer as it has a clean interface, is easy to use, ties into the iPhone share options nicely, and covers most of the major social media networks.

ONE MORE LITTLE THING:

Instagram is the king (or queen if you prefer) of hashtags. It’s the perfect place to add hashtags but no more than 30 as that is the most you can use. Try to stick to 10 or less. The more specific you are the better your reach will be as you are competing with less people. Also, be sure to use the search feature prior to posting to see how many posts use that hashtag and what alternatives are available. Twitter is another one where hashtags are popular. When you understand and know how to harness the power of hashtags, you give your post a little extra “oomph” that sets you above your competition.

These are just a few ways you can strategize how you utilize social media.

Yes, at times social media can be a pain, but with the right plan in place you can overcome that pain quickly. Apply these tips and develop your social media strategy today and watch your connections flourish tomorrow.

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