One of the most attractive aspects of social media for many small businesses is that it’s free, right?
Well, burn up half a day trying to figure out how to promote your new Facebook page and you might start to realize it’s not that free after all.
While many social media tactics can benefit your marketing and business-building efforts it’s essential that you find ways to get the most from the time you invest as well as the money you invest in marketing.
To save time on social media for your small business, here are seven ways to get yourself organized.
1. Set up a schedule. 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.
It is okay to post every other day or even once a week. When you start to get a feel for what your fans want and when, you will have a clear picture of when you should be concentrating on social media.
2. 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 any 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.
3. 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.
4. Use social networks for customer service. Many small businesses are starting to 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.
You can do this by offering a specified time of the day for any customer service issues, letting the customers know when that is. This can be done easily on your Twitter or Facebook accounts.
Anything you can do that benefits your customers will make social media return even greater.
5. Get automated. One bonus of having a content stockpile is that you can use tools like Socialoomph, Buffer and Timely for Twitter to schedule its release automatically. This doesn’t mean you can put all of your social media posts on auto-pilot though, because that just defeats the purpose.
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 fans.
6. 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.
7. 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.
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.