As I mentioned last week, I was lucky enough to attend the BritMums Live! blogging and social media conference in London at the end of June.

Another of the very useful sessions I sat in on was ‘Social Media for Advanced People’ with Paul Armstrong from Digital Orange Consulting, who help top brands like Google, 3 and Asos with their social media and digital marketing.

I wanted to share some of Paul’s expert advice for making social media manageable even if you don’t have much time to dedicate to it (although you should!).

Calendar

You need to plan. Perhaps you have an event like a promotion or sale coming up, or do monthly themes. Perhaps you run contests or you curate useful web information for your readers. Whatever your content, it needs to be balanced and have a strategy or plan.

Paul suggests your content should be 80% about your audience and only 20% about you.

Curate

Sharing content others have created that’s related to your niche is one of the best ways to become an authority in your field. Reading and curating (selecting and organising content) not only turns you into an authority, doing the hard work for your readers, but it will help you build connections and be shared across wider networks. It can also inspire you to create your own original content.

Paul recommends the following curating tools:
Beatrix
Overblog (the basic plan is free)
Twitter ListsTwitter List Manager
Flipboard

Schedule

To make the most of your (limited) time, schedule your social media posting ahead of time.

Paul proposed the following scheduling tools:
Sproutsocial
Hootsuite (the basic plan is free)
Buffer
dvlr.it
bitly
Google+ Do Share

Look out for Part 2 where we’ll give you some of our tips for managing social media when you don’t have much time.

Update 8 July 2014: Paul is closing his Digital Orange Consultancy, but has opened the fabulous Here/Forth which is continuing to give out expert advice. You can also subscribe to their weekly C_NCENTRATE newsletter, full of useful advice and everything you need to know to keep up with the latest social media trends.