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Social Media for Your Business: Finding the Time
Posted on May 24th 2014
The most common excuse for small businesses not being active on social media is almost always that there isn't enough time. Hey, I can relate. Running a small business usually means working 80-100 hours each week, and that's just taking care of the everyday run-of-the-mill stuff to make sure that you'll still be open for business next week.
There are only two primary options for getting your social presence out there: do it yourself or hire someone else. Having an employee, or a group of employees, on your staff to handle social media marketing kind of falls under both categories, but there are glaring problems with that scenario. First, if you don't already know what to do yourself, how will you train anyone else to do it? Second, the costs involved with hiring people aren't small, and once they're hired you have to go back to how to train them.
Outsourcing your SM marketing isn't a bad option, but then you're dealing with an unknown third party. That could be potentially dangerous for your brand if things don't go well. So then you're back to where you started: either do it yourself or don't do it at all. If I can give you some advice, it would be this - not doing it at all isn't an option either. The world is different now whether you like it or not, so really your two options come down to getting on the social media train or closing up shop.
So, how do you make the time to implement a good social media strategy and still sleep at night? I have six suggestions that will lighten your burden a bit.
1. Prioritize it
If it's not a priority, it won't get done. There are too many things begging for your attention every day. Only the things which are considered important will always get done. Social media marketing is important, and you need to view it that way. Put it on your calendar. It doesn't really matter what days or times you choose, as you will soon see, as long as it is in your face and unavoidable.
2. Make good notes
This article isn't a full class on what to do, but you should know the 80/20 rule of curation and creation: four interesting posts that don't promote your brand directly for every one that does. The reasons for this can be found in other articles on this site. Curating content means finding interesting items on the web to share, of which most should be in the same area of interest your company deals with. Google is a great resource, but making good notes about what you find is vital.
I recommend using Evernote to capture your ideas for publishing later. Evernote is one of a handful of tools that is more useful than you can almost imagine. I use it personally every day, for a wide variety of things from shopping lists to birthday present ideas to, of course, work.
3. Schedule ahead
You need a solid piece of software to help with your social campaigns, or you will spend entirely too much time on them. A social media dashboard will allow you to take all those ideas you've collected and schedule them out over time. You can set something to post Monday morning at 8am, then Wednesday at noon, then Friday at 5pm all in one sitting.
This is a simplistic explanation, because you can schedule as much as you want for pretty much as long as you want with a good dashboard. Setting up a week or a month at a time means more time saved.
4. Post across platforms simultaneously
There are more than a couple social platforms out there, and almost every business should take advantage of at least four of them: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Pinterest is also a must for any business with retail items or that markets to women - which is almost all of them.
Using good software, you can send the same post across all of these platforms at one time, rather than having to log into each one and post separately. Using a hashtag will tie together your campaign across all of the platforms, but don't forget to use the hashtag on your website or blog as well for continuity.
5. Make it a group effort
You may not have a team dedicated to social media, but that doesn't mean that you can't use your existing team to help out. The problem comes when you can't control what they post, which could potentially be devastating to your company's good name.
Thankfully, a good dashboard will give you a modicum of control over the posts, by allowing you to approve or disapprove anything before it goes out into the land of evermore (meaning that once it's on the web, it's there for-ever-more. believe it). Setting up users to share the load can shave significant time from your own social marketing responsibilities, and will give them something to do in their down time. Productivity, baby!
6. Create, post, repeat
Maybe you can't come up with something original to say every day or every few hours, but that's okay too. Using a repeating post option like Sendible's Smart Queues will let you re-post something several times, although you do want to spread it out to avoid overkill and the wrath of Facebook and Twitter's rules. This will also tell you what the optimal times are to schedule your posts for, based on several factors including how well your past posts are received at different times.
Dont' give in to the "not enough time" cop out. Make it happen, because your business' future literally depends on it. Just don't try to shoulder everything yourself. Use quality software to lighten the load.