By Pamela Muldoon, Next Stage Media Group
Time is a commodity that always seems to be in limited supply. Add the concept of social media marketing to a small business owner's already busy week, and it’s easy to see why so many become overwhelmed to the point of paralysis. Just like so many of the items on your list, setting up systems and developing a process for social media can actually allow you to manage your time better and get solid business results from your efforts.
Here are 5 time management tips to help you leverage your small business social media marketing:
1. Learn One Platform At A Time
It may only take five minutes to set up a Facebook page, but it still takes time to learn what content and conversations work best to connect your audience to your brand. The various social media platforms all may offer your business some kind of opportunity to grow your brand and customers; however, learning to all of them properly, efficiently and to your best business advantage does take some time. Your Target Audience should direct you to the platforms that make the most sense. Where does your audience hang out online? How do they use the social platforms? Example: If your audience is 15-24 young adults, Facebook may be a great fit to build your target audience. Are you a service business that sells to other business professionals? LinkedIn may offer the better platform to reach your target audience.
Once you have done some research and chosen the one or two platforms you want to focus on, take the time to learn them! Attend webinars, read articles and blogs and connect with others that focus on this platform for best practices to learn what you can on how to best leverage the tool for your business. Give yourself a solid 90 days to get comfortable with a platform before launching another one.
2. Create A Social Media Conversation Calendar
It’s important to take a proactive approach to social media just as you would if you were developing a T.V. commercial, a billboard or a direct mail campaign. One way to do this is to set up a social media conversation calendar. Every industry is somewhat seasonal. Every business has elements connected to a season or time of year. Your prospects and customers have questions or needs that you can provide to them via social media. Look ahead to the next 30 days. What events, holidays, sales, items of interest are coming up in the next month that your audience will need or want more information? Write out your social media status posts 2 weeks to 30 days in advance to get a nice foundation for your content marketing strategy. You will still want to post as needed when interesting items or timely discussions happen, but by setting up content ahead of time for social media, you ensure stronger consistency of implementation. This consistency will provide more data as well as organically grow your presence online.
3. Use A 3rd Party Implementation Tool
Third party implementation tools such as Hootsuite
and Sprout Social
are great tools that can really leverage your time with social media marketing. You can set up status updates in advance to automatically post at specific times and days. This is especially important for small business owners who have multiple obligations on their time. These tools also allow for the ability to monitor keyword conversations to better understand other influencers in your industry or locate possible customers who may be interested in your content, too. When used well, tools such as these can provide multiple functions to assist any small business owner with social media organization and reporting. They are also quite cost effective for a 1-2 user capability.
4. Set A Timer
Being proactive with a conversation calendar and auto-posting in advance are great timesaving tips. But making connections in real-time is also important to your social media marketing efforts. A great way to ensure you don’t end up spending hours online once you log on, set a timer to ensure you stay focused and use your time wisely. You cannot necessarily be online all day and night. Yet, your customers may be online at various hours. By setting up specific times of the day that make sense for your target audience and then setting up a specific amount of time you will be online, you ensure you are connecting in real-time, yet you continue to manage your time more effectively. Perhaps your audience is active at 7:00am, 12:00pm and 4:30pm. Mark your calendar to work on social media during these times each day and then set a timer for 15 minutes. If your audience is also active on the weekends be sure to also take this into consideration as well.
5. Outsource Implementation
When your time budget is more expensive than your money budget, you may need to consider outsourcing your social media marketing. Whether you decide to hire an in-house employee or work with a consultant, be sure to hire a marketing professional that really understands how social media and the various platforms work. Having a professional that also understands both traditional and digital marketing strategies will also better leverage your investment in this resource. Content marketing is a 360 degree approach. Merging traditional and digital messages are integral to ensuring consistency with your marketing efforts. Don’t base your decision on the age of the person or technology use. Social media requires the voice of your business to be authentic. You will also want to ensure this person is savvy in handling consumer interactions.
Social media marketing has leveled the playing field for small business. Don’t let the obstacle of time prevent you from using these amazing digital platforms that can help grow your business.
Pamela Muldoon is Principal of Next Stage Media Group and the Host of Content Marketing 360 Radio Show. Follow Pamela at @pamelamuldoon.
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