For many small businesses, social media has been a big boom/blessing.
Freeing them from expensive yet low ROI traditional forms of marketing, social networks have helped improve marketing, publicity and customer relations.
A study by LinkedIn in February 2014, found that roughly 80% of SMEs are active on social media networks. With 56 percent of SMBs increasing their social budget over the previous year, companies are reaping the profits that come from the increased exposure.
With this increased growth and opportunity, comes the increased complexity of actually using these platforms. From sourcing striking visuals to use on Pinterest to posting epic thought-leader articles on LinkedIn to creating engaging videos on YouTube, effectively using social media can quickly lead to overwhelm and spiral into inaction.
Social media is relatively new and using it for business growth is even newer.
Whether you are having a go at doing it yourself or working alongside an agency, the following are our tips for using social media done quickly and effectively.
While we all like to think we are mega-super-creative, the reality is that our creativity only comes in spurts and bursts. Add that to constant chipping away of your time by customer service, business meetings, family etc., and you find your time is never enough.
Accepting that, prepare yourself by spending time each week making a plan. Decide on the focus/theme for this week? Are there any holidays or events coming up that you can tie your message in with?
Some marketers advocate having a content/marketing calendar planned out, sometimes up to a year in advance. We prefer to focus on shorter bursts and remain consistent. A clear hour of focused planning will help you put the finer points in place, see the bigger picture and effectively manage your social interactions.
Accept that you can barely keep up with ALL your existing responsibilities and roles. Taking on the social management aspect will simply overwhelm you and potentially lead to you spreading yourself too thin and neglecting your core business.
Learn to use other people’s skills. Let’s say you have a good grip on the social interactions, but can’t find time to write the posts, you can hire a freelancer to help you. Give them a good enough outline of what you want and you can quickly have stellar content created.
If you can, come up with multiple titles so that you can schedule out content and stay ahead.
Make use of downtime.
We all have those pockets of time when we are not doing anything that requires enormous brain power e.g. standing in line at Tesco or waiting at the car wash. Most of us also have smartphones. You can use this time for something other than beating your Flappy Bird score.
Installing apps that can help you reply to emails (Gmail), manage social networks (HootSuite, SproutSocial) and taking notes (Evernote) will greatly improve your overall productivity. Oh, and most smartphones take amazing pictures, so you can ditch stock photo sites and ‘create’ your original photos.
Make it easy with Cross Promotion.
Bundling your social media tasks can save you time and yield results. You have time to make only one Facebook post? Take a few seconds to tweet about it to increase the amount of views to the post.
You can also embed social updates in all your posts. All the major social platforms allow you embed their posts on your blog. Give your blog readers options to share your content by having share buttons on your blog. These ‘small’ steps are compounded and will help increase the visibility of your content.
Stay tuned for the concluding part of this article, where we discuss how you can stay productive in a world of social media overwhelm.