Social media provides you with a great opportunity to reach and engage with more potential clients and customers than ever before.
But it can take over your life if you let it.
If you don't come up with a plan for managing social media, then it will manage you.
A successful social media presence can benefit your company in a number of ways. But if you waste too much time or money on ineffective tactics, then it doesn't matter how efficient you're being.
Instead, we need to identify the 20% of our effort that makes up 80% of our success -- and double down to produce results in record time.
Here are 5 ways to make sure you're being effective (and efficient) in social media.
Tip #1. Reverse Engineer Your Success
The single, most common reason people struggle with social media is because they don't have a clear direction.
If you don't know what target you're aiming for, then you'll never know how to get there.
So before opening a Twitter account, write down your goals. Social media can benefit your business in 3 major ways:
- Increase awarenessfaster and cheaper than other methods
- Reduce costsusually spent in customer service and advertising
- Increase profitability through improving conversions and re-purchases
Depending on your resources (i.e. time, budget, energy), it's probably best to prioritize one or two of these goals MAX. Then you can outline a few key steps to hit your goal, and start tailoring everything you do to make sure that it's feasible.
Not only will you be more effective in hitting your goal, but you'll also save a lot of lost time that would have been spent chasing down ineffective tactics or distractions.
Tip #2. Funnel Fans from Other Sources
Successful marketing always requires filling the top of your funnel with potential leads and prospects.
In social media, that means acquiring new fans, likes, or follows on a regular, consistent basis. So once you've tapped out your small circle of friends, family and close customers... how are you going to do this?
The best way to grow ANY social network is to funnel fans from an existing resource.
Some of these you might "own" (like your street traffic, website traffic, or email list), and some of these you might "borrow" (like cross-promotions or advertising).
For example, you could incentivize your loyal customer database with "free reward points" if they leave you a review on Yelp.
Or you could get more Facebook fans by identifying business partners and running a joint Facebook promotion that you can both cross-promote.
In the long run you need to be careful about driving people to something you don't own (like your Facebook page) instead of something you do (like your house email list).
But in the short run, funneling fans for quick growth is the best bet.
Tip #3. Chunk and Divide Your Time
There's an old adage that says if you want something done, then give it to the busiest person you know. Whether that's true or not -- who knows.
But it does raise an important point about setting constraints and prioritizing your time.
There's almost never a reason to spend longer than 20 minutes on social networks at one time. For example, you can schedule your updates to go out automatically using a variety of tools like Hootsuite or Buffer.
Then if you have a clear plan of action (see #1 above), then you should know exactly what needs to take place on a daily basis. Check-in a few times through-out the day (like once in the morning, noon, and night) to monitor, respond, and engage, and you significantly limit how much time it takes to create a successful presence.
You'll also appear more active and be more purposeful (because you're on a strict deadline). And you can use time tracking software like Toggl or RescueTime to keep yourself accountable. You'll be more active throughout the day, and each time you check-in you'll have a purpose because you have no time to waste.
You can set an alarm, or use a time tracking tool like RescueTime to help you manage that 20 minutes effectively.
Tip #4. Let Data Be Your Guide
The best way to be successful in marketing is to do more of what people like, and less of what they don't. And the best part about digital marketing is that you can see -- and track -- exactly what people do and don't like.
So stop guessing about what to say or do, and use more data to glean insights and drive action.
For example, Facebook Insights gives you a wealth of information about the audience on your Facebook page. You can drill down into their demographics to understand who they are. Or you can dive deep into what they "Like" and click to see what motivates them.
After consulting this data, you can come up with conclusions about what to do next. And you won't have to guess or post something random to "feel" like your being efficient.
Because in social media (and Facebook especially), it doesn't matter if you have millions of fans. It all depends on how many of those people you can actually reach and if they're paying attention or not. That's why engagement is so important.
You can save TONS of time and increase results by taking advantage of the tools and information at your disposal to make better informed decisions.
Tip #5. Start at the Top, Not the Bottom
There are basically two different ways to build up a social media presence...
The first is to "start from the bottom" and get new fans on a one-to-one basis. This approach works (slowly), and takes hours upon hours of effort.
But if you can work from the top down, and reach a lot of people at once (think one-to-many), then you can accelerate your results.
For example, find other partners that have influence over many of your target audience. They could be other websites, communities, organizations, blogs, or influential people. And figure out what you can give them that they don't already have.
Do NOT ask them for a favor.
A media website probably wants content, while a nonprofit wants volunteers and donors.
If you can identify and provide what they need, then it will be easy to get what you want (i.e. promotion).
And by reaching large numbers of highly targeted people at once, you'll drastically multiply your results while minimizing your time investment.