Small Business: How to Find Time for Social Media

Social Media: 3 Tactics To Create Your Daily Routine

Clock At Grand Central Photo By Heidi Cohen To reap social media results, businesses regardless of size must spend time engaging on social media platforms, invest budget and wait for sales or other benefits.

For most small businesses, these three resources are scarce. As a result, social media often winds up at the bottom of the owner’s to-do list overlooked in favor of handling the latest, easy-to-measure emergency.

According to Social Media Examiner’s 2013 Report, most small businesses spend under ten hours a week on social media. This makes sense given the challenges confronting most small business owners but if you’re on social media only when you have time, it’s not going to work.   Report-2013-Hours vs Co size

Rather, to improve your social media performance, you need an easy-to-implement routine you can stick to because social media isn’t a one time advertising campaign that’s run and done. It’s an on-going process that, like real life relationships, builds momentum over time.

Don’t believe it? Check out Syncapse’s research that proves Facebook yields revenues from existing customers.

Get your small business’s social media engagement on track with these baby steps to build a daily social media routine.

1. Create a social media strategy you can successfully employ.

Without a plan it’s difficult to achieve your business goals. Don’t get scared off by the word “strategy.” You need to spend an hour thinking about what you want to accomplish and the people you want to reach via social media.  Get your business on track to succeed by answering these three questions:

  1. What do you want to accomplish by using social media? For most businesses, social media marketing gets down to five major objectives: build your brand, acquire new leads (or drive traffic), close more sales from new and existing customers and engage with fans. (Social Media Examiner’s 2013 Research revealed nine major business goals.)
  2. Who do you want to reach on social media? Think beyond your prospects. Include your buyers, users, their influencers and the public. To this end, develop a well-defined marketing persona and a social media persona.
  3. How will you measure social media results? Don’t assume that buyers will come in and tell you that they found you on Facebook. Integrate processes to nudge your potential customers to act with a call-to-action and a way to track the results such as  a special code or other method. Then set up metrics so that you can monitor your results. Check them once a week to see your progress. (Time allotment: fifteen minutes per week)

2. Start a blog as the centerpiece of your social media offering.

Blogs are an owned social media home base where you publish content that you and others share elsewhere and you can engage with readers via comments. The hardest step is establishing your blog and then creating a regular publishing routine. (To get your blog started, here’s what I wish I knew when I started blogging).

  1. Determine the five to ten categories you want to rank for to support your search optimization.
  2. Answer customers’ questions.  Keep a running list of customer questions and whenever you or one of your staff has time, respond to one question in one blog post focused on one keyword phrase. This article should be at least 550 words. The best part of this tip is that you can reduce conversion time and save employee time by answering these inquiries. (Time allotment: one hour per post.)
  3. Leverage the search power of links. This also helps drive readers to buy. Include at least one link to a reputable third party and one to your product page. Also, add a link on the product page to the column so prospects can find out more information.

3. Make social media interaction part of your routine.

Instead of doing social media whenever you have time, schedule a daily chunk of time with a list of defined activities. Otherwise, you may find that you’ve spent hours trolling Facebook without results. This assumes that you’ve set up your social media outposts.

  1. Give your social media colleagues a shout out over coffee. Monitor what’s happening on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and your favorite blogs while having coffee or waiting for your train. Leverage otherwise wasted waiting time by checking in via a mobile device, smartphone or tablet. You must be prepared to engage and respond. (Time allotment: fifteen to thirty minutes per day)
  2. Set up time to regularly share information on major social media platforms. Take time every morning, lunch or after work to let your followers know what’s happening with your business. The goal is to keep your name top of mind. Craft these interactions by hand. Also, respond to comments and questions on your blog and other social media outposts. Include Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest. (Time allotment: fifteen minutes per day)
  3. Capture images of your customers. Give your customers the spotlight by taking their photographs for social media sharing. Of course, don’t forget to ask their permission. Prepare for success by having a camera or mobile device handy. Here’s how the Lion Brand Studio gives its customers a shout out on Facebook.  Lion Brand Yarn Studio-Facebook
  4. Ask customers to engage with you on social media. Create a sign in your retail establishment, on your business cards or in your email communications. This is a one-time investment.
  5. Maximize social media interaction at live events. Use conferences and other real life events as an opportunity to engage with your audience and to provide commentary on the event.

 

To make social media work for your small business, you must make it part of your daily routine. By being focused in your time allocation, your social media interactions can yield measureable results.

What’s your social media routine? What are your biggest hurdles? What are your biggest achievements?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .
 

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Photo Credit: (c) 2013 Heidi Cohen – You can use this image but you must link to this article.

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