Almost two-thirds of American adults use social networking sites, and 90 percent of young adults, between 18 and 29, use social media, according to Pew Research.

No one can deny that the growth of social media has completely changed marketing and advertising. In fact, 74 percent of consumers rely on social media to influence what they buy, according to CeBIT.

You know you need to be active on social media, but you’re probably struggling to figure out the best way to keep up with it all and build a following. Yes, social media is a quick way to communicate, but it also takes a lot of time to maintain multiple accounts for your business with everything else you have to do.

If you want to build a following, not only do you have to provide awesome content, you have to stay consistently engaged with your audience. Here are 5 things you should be doing everyday to stay on your game. Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, or Pinterest, or a combo of them all, make sure you set aside time each day, or hire an outside social media agency, to get these 5 things done to maximize your social media presence.


To start off, get on each of your social media accounts and check to see if there are any messages or comments waiting for you. If you have any, make sure you respond even if it’s not a question. Social media is your way to make relationships with customers, increase loyalty, and show your audience that you care about them. By responding in a timely manner to every comment or message you receive, you’ll make sure your audience feels valued.

Facebook has a new feature that displays your response time on your Facebook page. The quicker the response time, the more comfortable your followers or customers will feel about sending you a message.

71% of consumers said they‘re more likely to recommend a brand to others if they received a quick response from the brand on social media, according to CeBIT. Social influencers are becoming more and more important, and every interaction you have on social media is a chance to make customers fans and gain referrals. Think of your social media platforms as being an extension of your customer service. Hopefully you wouldn’t wait weeks to respond to a direct email from a customer, and you shouldn’t wait on social media either.


Commenting & Following

Of course, your time is limited. But do take a few minutes to browse your feeds, search relevant tags, comment on other posts, and follow some pages. By staying engaged with what relevant pages are posting, topics being discussed, and seeing what your audience is paying attention to, you stay in the loop and will gain a better understanding of your industry trends and audience.

Industry news is often spread through social media, and this is the time to get up to speed on the day’s happenings. Commenting on other pages and following people is a great way to network, get more exposure for your brand, gain followers, and get noticed by people or pages with larger followings.

Don’t just give your brand a face; use your social media to give it a personality your audience can interact with.


Actually Posting

Now that you’ve given some time to staying engaged with your audience, it’s time to post things for them to see! Make sure you’re posting regularly to keep your followers interested, engaged, and to attract new followers.

Consistency is key with social media, but don’t bombard followers with several postings back to back within a small amount of time. People don’t want to follow accounts that barely ever post, and at the same time, they don’t want to follow an account that’s going to flood their feeds.

Deciding how many posts to make each day can be tricky, and definitely depends on the platform. On Facebook, one per day is usually good, but two at most. For YouTube and Pinterest, it really depends on your audience and the type of content you’re posting. Most likely you won’t have enough content to post everyday to YouTube, but it is beneficial to find a consistent weekly or monthly schedule to keep followers engaged.

On Twitter and Instagram, you can post more frequently. It is important to post at least once a day on Instagram, though you don’t want to be posting every hour. Twitter, on the other hand, is a whole other animal, and it may actually benefit you to post more frequently. On Twitter, you can post several times a day, even every hour or two if you have the time.


Researching & Planning Future Posts

Posting everyday can be time consuming, especially when you are on several platforms. Save yourself some energy and set aside some time to plan out and research for future posts.

You can start by scanning news articles and researching trending topics, and you’ll hopefully find interesting material to share. Setting up Google Alerts for industry and geography specific news articles is the quickest way to sift through the internet.

You can plan out the types of posts you’ll make in the next few days, from sharing articles, writing a brief update on your business or a project, to sharing a blog post or a service from your website. In many cases, the posts you make on Facebook can also be adapted to be shared on other platforms, like Twitter. You can use the tweet to link back to your Facebook or website which will increase traffic. Just make sure you aren’t sharing the same exact post on Twitter that you made on Facebook as the platforms have different character constraints and guidelines on how to get the most engagement. Always adapt the posts!

If you won’t have time to log on to all these accounts everyday to post everything you’ve planned, there are several ways to automate posts. Although it’s not always best to automate all of your tweets, it can be helpful to automate larger Facebook posts.

When logged in to your business’ Facebook page, you can schedule posts under “Publishing Tools”. This will allow you to write posts in advance, schedule them to be posted for a specific day and time, and lets you edit and preview the post before if gets published.

Although you may not choose to write out all of your posts in advance, taking the time to brainstorm and come up with ideas for the next few days’ posts will help you stay organized and on track.


Reviewing engagement, feedback, and analytics

You should be checking the analytics and engagement data for all of your social media accounts. By looking at when your audience is seeing your posts, which posts they are engaging with the most, and trends in what boosts your followers, you can figure out what days and times to post, and what types of content to keep posting.

You may find that you get the most engagement from followers on a certain platform on the weekends, while another gets the most on the weekdays. You might also find that your followers are the most active with your content in the mornings or that you gain a surge of followers right after you post a video. The trends will most likely be a little different for each platform, and it will help you adapt your strategy for each.

Twitter and Facebook have analytics platforms set up on their sites, which makes it easy to get all this data. For Facebook, just visit the “Insights” section on your business page. For Twitter, click on your profile picture and click “Analytics.”

Instagram doesn’t provide built-in analytics (as of May 2016), so you’ll want to hunt around for a free or paid app that will collect all the data for you.

Looking at the analytics for your social media accounts will play a huge role in the planning of your posts and the type of content you choose for each platform. If you really want your accounts to thrive, you’ll have to use analytics to figure out your audience and test different campaigns and strategies.

Social media can seem like a bear. There are so many platforms, each with their own culture and etiquette. If you’ve struggled to grow your business’ following, or keep up with all the different platforms, this daily “to do” list will definitely help you out. If you can make time each day to get your social media accounts organized and planned, you’ll be able to maximize your online presence and grow your following.