For every social media manager, no two days are the same. There’s content creation, managing resources, scheduling content all whilst honing your creativity. In this brand new series, Social Media Manager (SMM) Chats, we interview digital strategists about: Their daily challenges How they keep productive Their insights on managing global client accounts First up, we spoke with Bianka Velevska, a Melbourne-based brand manager and the editor of brand.ing, a resource that helps brands live their best lives. She’s worked with frank green, MiGOALS and Collabosaurus in various marketing roles. We sat down to learn Bianka’s tips for creating a speedy social media workflow and how she prioritises tasks. How do you set yourself up for a productive work week? Before the beginning of each week, I’ll check which meetings I have so I’m prepared. I’ll then look at tasks I didn’t get around to the previous week and make that first priority. Usually, they’re a bunch or random nitty-gritty tasks. I then choose and stick to three major tasks that move the needle for the business. What are your top productivity hacks? I hide my phone behind my laptop facing down when I’m working. Out of sight, out of mind. I put on a ‘brain food’ playlist and listen to music that doesn’t have many lyrics. I don’t have a meeting if the content of the meeting can be an email. It’s the best way to protect your time. Bianka carves out 10 minutes each morning to decide which three tasks she’s going to tackle for the day. She learnt this method from MiGOALS founder Adam Jelic. You must be busy managing the social media for brand.ing and your clients, how do you plan out upcoming content? I usually do this in three stages. Stage 1: Plan ahead At the beginning of each month, I skim over my content calendar to see which dates I can build content and campaigns around. For example, International Coffee Day is an important date for frank green. I then begin mapping out our content to make sure there’s an even distribution of promotional messages and inspiring or helpful content. Brand.ing’s Instagram feed is considered, minimal and bold which emulates their website. Stage 2: Source the content I have available I’ll then look at the user-generated content (UGC) my clients are tagged in and take note of how I can hero their customers. As time has progressed I’ve found that more customers are creating beautiful content of products from brands they admire. They’ve definitely caught onto the fact that if the images they share are high-quality, brands are more likely to repost this content. An example of beautiful UGC by one of MiGOALS’ customers. The brand then used this to provide their audience with tips. Instagram for Business 101 Grab our ebook Instagram for Business to take your Instagram game up a notch! Stage 3: Create a Social Media Workflow Image via @brand.ing With deadlines looming and to-do lists getting longer, it can be challenging getting into a creative zone. How do you recommend laying out a social media workflow? 1. Have a goal for streamlined direction Why are you sharing this content with your audience? How does it bring value to your audience? Write down your goal so you can see it in front of you to keep you on track. Some examples of social media goals are to: Begin a conversation Drive traffic to your website Build connections by acknowledging your customer’s pain points Once you get to the core of why you’re sharing this content, you’ll instantly find yourself procrastinating less and getting into a creative flow. It works for me every time. Bianka’s saved posts feature cool packaging, graphics and creative campaigns from brands. She frequently uses this as a go-to for reposting relevant content on the brand.ing Instagram account – saving time in the planning process. 2. Set aside time each week I love to batch plan, create and upload content. I find I need to get into a content creation flow where I feel creative and am focussing on this one task at hand. I aim to carve out one day for approximately 14 posts for Instagram. On this day I’ll: Plan my messaging Choose UGC content and make note of content we have to create Map out the timeline of content Write creative captions for Instagram and Facebook Take a break and review content for typos/clarity 3. Automate and schedule ahead of time It’s so liberating to have content scheduled ahead of time. Even a week or two in advance. It removes the anxiety of not having posted for a day or two and feeling the pressure to post ‘because it’s been a little while’. It means I can focus on tasks that need my attention such as engaging with our community on a post and connecting with like-minded brands. I recommend automating and scheduling whatever you can with platforms like MailChimp and Sked Social. It makes your workflow a whole lot easier. You can learn how to easily schedule Instagram posts through Sked Social here. How do you get your daily dose of creative inspiration? I love wandering through magazine stores and looking through old magazines I have at home. It gives me a moment to step away from my phone and to explore different themes in different magazines. My favourite magazines include Brand Balance, Artichoke and Broadsheet. That being said I love discovering cool graphics from an illustrator or creative on Instagram. I also like scanning through my inbox, looking at different subject lines and keep note so I can create the same impact for my clients. What is your favourite part of planning a campaign? It has to be the big dreaming, brainstorming sessions that take place where the team spitballs ideas and we get to be as creative as we want to be. In this stage there are no limitations, it’s not about being practical – yet. It’s about having fun and putting big ideas on paper. The following days we’ll prioritise what’s realistic and will create an impact. I then create a mood board for the campaign which includes: A colour palette Fabrics/materials An aspirational brand that would approve of the campaign A quote which encapsulates the mood A bold editorial shoot I’ve found in a magazine Packaging I’ve found on Pinterest It varies based on what we’re launching. I find that mood boarding sets a focus to refer to when you’re working on a project and experiencing challenges. I just look at the mood board and it reminds me of what’s important for the campaign. A wall in Bianka’s office which worked as a mood board when she was planning brand.ing’s website launch. It included elements from different websites, bold taglines, UGC and her favourite magazine, Broadsheet, as inspiration for the quality she wanted to produce. How do you overcome challenges within projects? There are challenges throughout each project. Especially when there are more people involved (photographers, designers and copywriters, for example). Everyone has their own opinion, you’re on different schedules and things need to keep moving. I approach all situations with the mindset that my job is to put out fires. When you have a solutions-based mentality you can go into a figuring-things-out mode. One of my most recent challenges was for a new gifting solution I was launching. Part of the gift box we were shooting didn’t arrive in time for the photoshoot. Instead of having to re-organise everything and delay the campaign, we used a sample we had available and did some nifty work with Photoshop. It was stressful as I knew our designer didn’t have the time to add this new bit of work into their schedule, but thankfully we were able to work through it in time for the launch (phew!). What’s the #1 mistake you see brands make on Instagram? Definitely buying likes and followers. It’s so wild that people are still consumed by vanity metrics. Buying likes and followers won’t give you the return you want when it comes to your own business results. If you want to build a following and collaborate with brands, bots and fake followers aren’t going to help. Growing on social media doesn’t happen overnight—and anyone who thinks so is in the wrong business. So if you have a client or manager who’s a pedant about the number of followers you have, educate them on how to: Engage with the right people Run a contest with like-minded brands Promote your account in new and fresh ways Meet Sked - The most powerful Instagram scheduling platform A place to plan & schedule your Instagram posts, Stories, videos and more. Tag locations, users and products and manage all your hashtags in one place to save 5+ hours every week. Amongst your busy schedule, how do you ensure you’re learning new skills? I learn a lot as I go along each day. The truth is that you can’t know everything there is to know about the digital marketing landscape. You have to learn and apply what you need in that moment. I naturally enjoyed Instagram and adopted the app early on. Working as a brand manager, I’m a visual person. Campaigns have to be beautiful to the eye and although I’m not a designer, I know what good design is and isn’t. I’m always trying to improve my copywriting and the speed at which I can create content for social media. Top skills for social media managers to have in 2019 are: Great copywriting skills An eye for design Strategic thinking How do you keep up with industry trends? I make sure I’m signed up to the most relevant newsletters which include: AdWeek, Glossy Co and Mumbrella. It’s important to keep up with what’s making news and what industry insiders are talking about. I also have the Medium app on my phone to access rich content each day before I start work. I also attend talks from digital marketing influencers to hear their perspective on the social media landscape. In my downtime, I do quite a bit of social listening. By monitoring digital conversations I try to understand: What customers are saying about a brand How they’re engaging with brands and friends on a brand’s social media account Quick fireside #SMM chat: What are some of your favourite brands to follow on social media? Rimowa: For their creative campaigns that showcase luggage from a different perspective Girlboss: For their message, consistency in their tone and helpful branded content Billie: For their bold, edgy and empowering brand purpose What tools do you use on a daily basis to help you succeed? Grammarly for the final checks Sked Social for social media scheduling Google Docs for planning and making notes Book or podcast you’re listening to and loving right now? Seth Godin’s ‘This is Marketing’ and Shoe Dog by Phil Knight One piece of advice for SMMs just starting their career? Up-skill in the areas you’re struggling with, keep your finger on the pulse. Always test and try new things. Want more time up your sleeve to take your social media management skills to the next level? Sked Social helps you organise, curate and plan Instagram content in advance. Save your hours for more important things. Start a 7-day free trial of Sked Social today!