How to Manage Social Media in 18 Minutes a Day


Wondering how to manage social media for your business when you don’t have the bandwidth or budget?

Many small business owners struggle to balance social media with other responsibilities. Payroll, product development, and customer service often take precedence over managing multiple social media accounts.

Yet, research shows that more than 40% of digital shoppers research new brands and products using social media. Without an active presence, customers may choose to shop elsewhere.

For those who are short on time, we’ve put together an 18-minute plan for managing social media for a business. This plan takes you minute-by-minute through the social necessities, highlighting time-saving tips along the way.

How to manage social media in 18 minutes a day

Here’s a down-to-the-minute look at how to manage business social media accounts.

Minute 1-3: Listen in

Your first three minutes should be devoted to tapping into your social media audience. Who are they? Where do they hang out? What topics do they care about?

This process is called social listening, and it involves monitoring conversations online about your brand, your competitors, and topics related to your industry.

Here are a few things you should check and take note of each day:

  • Mentions of your brand
  • Mentions of your product or service
  • Specific hashtags and/or keywords
  • Competitors and partners
  • Industry news and trends

As well, if your business has a physical location or storefront, use geo-search to filter for local conversations. That will help you focus on customers close to you and the local topics they care about.

So, how do you go about collecting this data?

There are a few ways to hatch a social listening plan. First, you can set up Google Alerts for keywords related to your business. You can also manually search the internet for mentions of your brand. But that might take a while.

Tools like Hootsuite can help streamline your social listening efforts. You can create streams for keywords, hashtags, and mentions for your brand and industry in one dashboard. Plus, track content from every social media platform all in one place.

hootsuite streams dashbboard showing insights on instagram, facebook, and twitter

Tip: If you have some extra time to invest upfront, take our free course Social Listening with Hootsuite Streams to save more time in the long run. Plus, find a ton of Hootsuite hacks here.

Minute 3-8: Analyze your findings

Your next five minutes of managing business social media accounts involves analyzing your findings. Doing this will help you fine-tune your social listening process and marketing efforts.

Here are some of the details you should keep in mind:

1. Sentiment

Sentiment analysis rests on a few key questions: How are people talking about your brand? How does it compare with how they are talking about your competitors? If things are mostly positive, that’s great. If negative, start thinking about ways to steer the conversation more positively.

2. Feedback

Do your customers have specific feedback about your business? Look for recurring trends and insights that you can act on.

For example, if you run a restaurant and you often get feedback that the music is too loud, turn it down. If you offer a product, such as gym bands, and customers are interested in more color options, you’ve just spotted a new sales opportunity.

3. Trends

What are the current trends in your industry? Uncovering them can help you identify new niches and audiences to engage with. Or, maybe they’ll inspire content for your next marketing campaign. Even better—maybe they’ll inform the development of a new product or service.

4. Purchase intent

Learning how to manage social media doesn’t only involve tracking conversations from current customers. It can help you find new customers, too.

Track phrases or topics prospective customers may use when they’re in the market for your offering.

For example, if your company is a travel provider, you may want to track keywords like “winter blues” and “vacation.”

Reply to people who are looking for items or services you sell.

5. Updates

Have you noticed a new keyword mentioned again and again online? Or maybe you keep seeing a common typo when people mention your brand. Keep an eye out for things you should add to your social media listening tracking list. Your customers are your greatest source of information.

hootsuite streams mentions and hashtags shown in dashboard

Minutes 8-10: Check your content calendar

Next, check your content calendar to see what you’ve planned to post for the day. Double-check that visuals, photos, and copy are all good to go. Always make sure to proofread one last time to spot those last-minute typos.

Pro tip: Use a social media dashboard like Hootsuite, that integrates with Grammarly, to make your proofreading extra fast and easy.

drafted social media posts shown in hootsuite content calendar

Hopefully, you already have a social media marketing plan and content calendar in place. If you don’t, plan to set aside about an hour each month to brainstorm, prepare ideas, and fill in your calendar.

Whether you outsource content creation, take advantage of free tools, or do everything yourself, having a solid social marketing strategy makes social media management much easier.

If you don’t have time or budget for high-production content, consider adding user-generated content, memes, or curated content to your social media calendar.

hootsuite meme posted on twitter showing justin beiber and hailey beiber as the brand when filming and not filming content

Minute 10-15: Share or schedule content

Now, it’s time to share the content you’ve created. What you post on social media should depend on the type of business you have and your audience’s interests.

Connect with customers by sharing articles, videos, and photos about your products or services. Use popular social media features such as Instagram stories, Facebook polls, and Twitter Live to engage and interact with followers.

retweet by chicago botanic garden of a new article about caring for perennials in autumn

Social media management tools like Hootsuite make it easy to plan, create, and publish content for your various social networks in one place. With its bulk scheduling feature, you can also schedule up to 350 messages at once—allowing you to save time and get back to responding to customers or working on the next task in this list! Just remember to avoid posting to too many channels at once.

Be sure to pay attention to the best times to post for each network. In general, Hootsuite research finds that the best time to post on social media is between 9 a.m. and 12 a.m. EST on weekdays. But that can vary from platform to platform. And, of course, depending on where your target audience is based.

If you’re using Hootsuite, the best time to post recommendations will appear directly in your post creation field and be tailored to your audience. Any time you schedule a post, you can choose from a list of recommended best times.

hootsuite composer showing best times to post

Tip: Use analytics to see when your audience is usually online, too. It may be different from the global average.

Minute 15-18: Engage with your audience

Once your posts are perfect and ready to launch, it’s time to get active and engage with your audience. Start by responding to questions or comments about your brand, products, or services. And don’t forget to thank people for sharing feedback or making purchases.

tweet reply from lululemon to customer who bought their first pair of leggings for a friend. response reads: "friendship goals!"

The best way to engage with your audience is by offering them something of value. Share information or resources that they can use in their day-to-day lives. That might be a blog post about the top holiday gifts for pet parents or tips on grilling the perfect steak.

tweet from lululemon offering customer resources on finding maternity wear

You should also ask questions to keep the conversation going:

  • “What do you think of our latest product launch?”
  • “What type of content would you like to see from us?”
  • “What can we do to make your experience better?”

To save time, you can create templates for common responses. These are particularly useful when you find yourself frequently sharing the same specific details, like opening hours or return policies.

But don’t overuse boilerplate responses. People appreciate authenticity and want to feel like a real person is engaging with them. Even something as simple as leaving customer service agent initials in replies increases goodwill from consumers.

Tip: When possible, try to engage shortly after posting something. If you’ve timed it right, that’s when your audience will be online and engaging. That way, you’ll interact with people in real time and maintain a good response time, too.

Looking for more time-saving social media tools? These 9 social media templates will save you hours of work.

18-minute social media plan template

Still stuck on how to run social media accounts? Use this template to create your own 18-minute social media plan.


Other social media management time-saving tips

The best way to manage social media for a company is to stay organized and plan ahead. Here are a few tips to streamline your process:

Automate scheduling

Daily crafting, editing, and posting is a surefire way to burn yourself out. Automate your content scheduling with tools like Hootsuite to roll out posts on a regular basis and save time. Scheduling posts in advance also frees up time for higher-level strategy planning.

posts automatically scheduled in hootsuite mobile app

Keep everything in one place

Organize your content, notes, images, and other materials in a central spot. Create categories or labels so you know where to find specific things later on. Storing everything in one place will save you time when creating new posts or referring back to content.

Leverage reporting tools

Reporting is key to understanding how your social media efforts are paying off. Use analytics and reporting tools to see what’s working and where to improve. This will help guide your strategy going forward so you can focus on the activities that increase engagement or sales.

hootsuite analytics dashboard showing performance data from facebook page

Monitor mentions and conversations

It’s essential to respond quickly and appropriately when people mention your brand online. Set up social listening tools to alert you when someone mentions your business or products so you can thank them and answer any questions they have.

Delegate tasks to a team

Divide and conquer, if you can. Assign different social media activities to team members. Have one team member create content, another schedule posts, and a third respond to customer service inquiries. This way, you’ll be able to get everything done efficiently while still being responsive.

Learn more about social media workflows here.

graphic showing social media workflow process: ideate, create, review, approve, and post

Stay up-to-date with trends

Social media moves quickly! Keep up with the latest trends by following industry thought leaders and joining relevant conversations. That way, your business will stay relevant and engaged with the latest updates in your industry.

Save time managing social media with Hootsuite

Managing your business’s social media presence has never been easier with Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you can publish and schedule social media content, find relevant conversions, engage the audience, measure results, and more. Try it free today.

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