Managing your social strategy when you literally have no time


April 15, 2018 read

Managing your social strategy when you literally have no time

One of the key things I come across a LOT in this line of work is ‘where do you find the time’? And one of the key things I say to my clients, or anyone who will listen, is ‘what do you want to achieve, and how realistic do you want to be?’

The thing with social media is that it is often the long game. Unless you are extremely lucky, your content won’t immediately go viral. But you can build up momentum relatively quickly if you have a good, consistent plan and you stick to it.  

It depends on your campaign and how much time you have, but if you’re short of time I’d recommend at least a couple of hours per week, per platform, to build up a basic strategy. But there is no hard and fast rule as to when you put in those hours. Case in point: at the time of writing, it is 11pm on a Sunday evening. My daughter is fast asleep, and my house has a Zen-like calm which is allowing me to get stuff done. I can create a load of content, and line a load of posts up for a later date when you’ll no doubt be reading this. Then I will hit Netflix for an hour before I pass out. Such is life.

Which leads me to my next point. The other amazing thing about working in social media marketing, and one that has been utterly invaluable as a parent to a young child, is the flexibility. There has been much talk about the benefits of flexible working for parents, millennials, and anyone who wants to achieve that elusive work-life balance. But it has saved my life. It has allowed me to juggle motherhood, book writing, work, study (I’m a law student too, because life isn’t crazy enough) and the laundry. My mum helps with the ironing.

Anyway, below is an excerpt from my book, Social on a Shoestring, where I was fortunate enough to interview Nikki Cochrane, co-founder and co-CEO of Digital Mums, and Red Woman of the Year. Digital Mums sets the Gold Standard in social media marketing training, offering courses for mums who want to kick-start their flexible careers. I’m not a Digital Mum, but I am totally in awe of this amazing organisation!


Digital Mums is an incredible organisation that trains mums to work in social media. Nikki Cochrane and co-founder Kathryn Tyler first set up Hackney Social, a social media agency aimed at helping small businesses get started on social media. Before long they were inundated with clients, and needed an extra pair of hands.

“We knew we needed to take on more people and realised that mums would be the perfect solution” says Nikki. “At the same time, we recognised that maternal unemployment is a huge issue – our research shows that almost seven in ten stay-at-home mums would go back to work if flexible working was an option. Social media management offers mums a third way – family life and a career. So we stopped working for clients and started training up mums in social media instead.” So Digital Mums was born, along with their powerful #WorkThatWorks campaign that promotes flexible working in business.

Me: How important and achievable is flexibility in social media management?

Nikki: It’s incredibly important, and more importantly incredibly achievable. Mums really shouldn’t have to choose between a career and childcare in today’s highly connected world. Our research proves that it’s not just beneficial to mums to have access to a #WorkThatWorks lifestyle – businesses and the economy will benefit also.

Me: Realistically, how much time would you advise spending on a social campaign?

Nikki: When we teach our trainees during their campaigns, it takes them roughly around 15 hours to run a successful social media campaign across two social media channels. This includes creating content, curating content, influencers outreach, proactive engagement and reporting. Obviously you can do more, but 15 hours for a campaign across two channels is a good rule of thumb for driving results.

Me: What are the best tools for managing social media ‘out of hours’?

Nikki: Most of our Digital Mums opt for the big two scheduling tools – Buffer and Hootsuite – which allow you to easily line up content for times when you’re not online. A good smartphone to manage your clients on the go and remotely is advised too.

Me: How can you strike the balance between scheduled content and real-time engagement?

Nikki: Scheduling and lining-up content is all well and good, but there is no getting away from the fact that it’s engagement that drives results on social media. The power of social media for small businesses isn’t as a broadcasting tool, but as a direct line for you to connect with your audience and customers. For a small business with minimal brand awareness you have to give people a reason to pay attention. Lining up content is a must to save time, but is has to be balanced with proactive engagement and real-time reactions.

Social on a Shoestring is available on Amazon and iTunes. And you can find out more about Digital Mums here!

Work That Works
#WorkThatWorks brought to you by Digital Mums

Flexibility is incredibly important, and incredibly achievable.

— Nikki Cochrane, coCEO of Digital Mums