Running a small business is more than a full-time job. You may be the sales department, accountant, HR department, and receptionist. When people say you “have to be on social media,” you agree, but can’t imagine where to find the time to sit down and start tweeting.
We aren’t going to lie to you; social media does take time. But with a little planning and a focused strategy you can make a big impact in only a few minutes a day.
Choose the Right Channel and Stick with It
Different channels (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn) have different audiences. Choosing the right platform is as simple as understanding who your best customers are, and focusing on the channels they are most engaged with. If you’re not sure where to start, ask them which social media they use.
After you choose one or two channels, plan on posting to the account a few times a week: a minimum of three times a week, and a maximum of once a day works for most businesses. If your posts are helping you connect with new people, stick with those channels. Don’t worry about all the hype of the other platforms that your customers don’t care as much about. It is tempting to be on every channel, but creating that much content is exhausting.
Every marketing campaign has a goal. What’s yours?
Before creating your first tweet or Instagram post, determine the objective of your social media campaign. Are you trying to generate return visits, draw in new customers, improve awareness of your brand, or highlight specific events or sales promotions?
You should compose your posts to match your larger sales and business goals. For example, if you’re trying to connect with customers, consider posing questions (e.g., “What’s your favorite pizza topping?). If you want to create a sense of need or to touch the customer’s pain-points, statistics may be effective (e.g., “90% of employers judge job applicants on their clothes and grooming.”). If your objective is to create goodwill, generate “shares,” and stay on the customer’s radar, creative pictures that make people think or laugh may do the job.
Be Social to Start and End Your Day
What do you do in the morning when you first sit at your desk? Check your email? Check your voicemail messages? Add five to ten minutes for checking your social media accounts to your morning routine. Reply to any comments, messages, or tweets you received, then post fresh content yourself. Do it again at the end of the day, just before you shut down. When you start and end your day with social media, the routine allows you to treat it as a priority without it getting in the way of other tasks.
Leverage the Technology
If you have three or more social channels to manage, switching between them can be time consuming and confusing. But there are third-party platforms that let you manage all your social channels from a single dashboard. With tools like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, SproutSocial, and Buffer, you can keep up with all your followers, respond to comments and conversations, create and schedule posts with ease.
Use these tools to separate your work accounts from any personal accounts you maintain. When your business accounts are consolidated in an app, it helps you avoid being distracted by friends and family posts.
Write Your Posts Ahead of Time
It’s hard to have creative ideas on demand. Too many business owners waste time staring at their screens trying to write something funny when they have other work to do. It’s more efficient to write 5-10 posts at the beginning of the week. Create an Excel or Word document where you can jot down good ideas that can later be organized and edited before posting to social channels. Take an afternoon to curate videos, ideas and images that are relevant to your business that you can use when you run out of content for the week.
After your accounts are set up, just 15 minutes a day is enough for some businesses to manage their social media. If you have trouble connecting to your audience, it may be helpful to work with an expert to identify where your customers are seeking connections on social and craft to a strategy to reach with them. If you can’t afford the time to find enough valuable content to satisfy a large and strongly engaged audience and carry on true conversations with them, consider using an agency to craft the posts and manage the channel.
To learn more about how social media marketing can help your business grow, talk to one of our media experts.