Social media is a great way for small businesses to promote themselves as it is fairly inexpensive and very effective when done right. But as a small company or start-up you have limited resources to devote to this important platform. Very often you struggle to keep a basic Facebook Page up and running, as it requires constant time and effort.
Here are a few tips to help you better organise your social media efforts that are will save you time:
1.Understand how social media will benefit you – There are dozens if not hundreds of ways to use social media for business. Not every strategy will fit your business goals. So first of all you need to step back, look at your marketing plan, and pick two or three ways that social media can fit into that plan.
2.Have a schedule in place – Despite what you might think—or have read or heard—you do not have to add a new post to every social network every day. This can eat up a lot of time from your daily schedule and leave you feeling just plain overwhelmed. The important thing is that when you do post, make sure it is valuable content that will generate a good response from your fans and followers.
Figure out what is going to work best for you. Know what time of the day/week you can expect to get more interaction from your target audience. If you know that the majority of them are only online in the evenings, then make sure you are posting in that window. Otherwise, your fans will likely miss your latest update because they’re at work.
3.Limit to Two or Three Platforms – Target and master a couple of platforms, rather than dabbling in many. Social media has become complex. Each social platform has more features and the learning curve is steeper. Focus on the platforms your customers spend the most time on or that fit your industry. The 80/20 rule applies here. By focusing on just two or three, you use your time efficiently and you’ll have a bigger impact on the platforms because you can learn more about how to use them
4.Create a content stockpile – As a part of your social media schedule, set up a time during the week where you or a chosen employee sit down and brainstorm content ideas for blog posts, status updates, tweets, etc. This will eliminate the stress of having to come up with something on the spot from one week to the next. Then, when the time comes to update your posts, you can just select something from the pile and post.
5.Link your networks – When you are doing things on your own, it can be hard to find the time to post to multiple accounts. You can link each of your profiles so that when you post on one account, say your Facebook page, then it is also sent out to the others and vice versa. Tools like Buffer, Tweetdeck and even Facebook Scheduled Posts can make this happen in the background for you.
6.Use social networks for customer service – Take advantage of social media as a way to provide better customer service. You can quickly and easily respond to any issues or comments that customers leave on social networks rather than having to wade through e-mails or have customers waiting to speak to someone on the phone. This can be done by offering a specified time of the day for any customer service issues on your Twitter or Facebook accounts, and letting the customers know when that is.
7.Get automated – Use tools that allow for automation and scheduling posts in advance from your content stockpile. This will save you a ton of time. You can schedule certain things, but you still need to go back and make responses where needed and take time to actually interact with your followers when needed.
8.Combined engagement – Other tools make it simple to monitor and update your accounts from one spot. You can use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to create a dashboard that lets you handle multiple social media accounts from a single platform, saving you time. Create alerts for important topics such as your company name, product names and competitors. Create Twitter Lists of your most important customers, partners and media contacts so you can monitor their activity in real time.
9.Set up topic alerts – Save yourself time from searching for industry news articles by setting up a Google Alert for specified topics. You can search through the results for news that relates to your business. When you find something of interest, you can share it with your followers.
10.Measure — but Only What Counts – Social sites like Facebook and Twitter keep adding increasing amounts of social analytics. Pick a few metrics that directly impact your business. For example, track which types of posts get the most click-throughs to your product pages or lead capture form. When deciding which metrics to track, ask yourself: how does this benefit my business?
Social media is going to be an important marketing tool for businesses for a long time to come. With useful tools and planning, you can save plenty of time on social networks while still getting the most benefits from them.