Social media is powerful for small businesses. But while it may be free to use the majority of social media features, there’s still a cost. That cost is time. It can eat hours every week of your time or that of someone on your team.
Here are 11 surefire ways you can save time on your social media marketing and still be powerfully effective:
- Don’t Waste Time Looking at Pretty Follower Charts
It may make you feel good to see how many likes and followers you’re gathering. But that’s not usually a good measure of your impact. Focus instead on measuring something that has a business effect, like how much traffic comes to your site from which social sites or which types of updates get the most engagement. That sort of knowledge keeps you from repeating fruitless techniques and helps you decide how to better spend your time in the future.
- Limit your Platforms
Would you rather dabble on 6 or 7 different social networks and not gain significant engagement on any, because you’re spread too thin or haven’t learned how to use any of them properly? Or would you rather post updates on just 2 platforms and do a good job on those?
- Pick the Platforms Where You Will Find Your Customers
You can spend half your workweek on a social platform, and still accomplish nothing — if you haven’t chosen the right platform. Ultimately it’s about advancing your business and for that you need to reach target customers. Pick the main platforms where your customers can be found. For those selling to consumers, for example, that’s likely to be a platform like Facebook or YouTube. For those selling to businesses, it might be LinkedIn or possibly Twitter.
- Consistency = Efficiency
Once you get in the habit of doing something repeatedly, it becomes easier — and faster. Set aside time regularly for social media. You won’t fumble around due to unfamiliarity.
- Chunk it
Nothing fritters away time faster than flitting here and there to one social network or another multiple times a day. We lose concentration and our ability to complete anything efficiently goes down the drain. Instead, set aside a few minutes once a day to check in at all networks, in a dedicated block of time. Oh, and shut off email notifications so you’re not being interrupted every time someone repins or retweets you!
- Give it to Someone Who Loves it
When we love something we go at it with gusto and without procrastinating. When we hate something, we can spend more time dreading it than actually doing. Besides, the person who hates an activity may not be very effective anyway. So whether it’s you who loves social media, or someone on your team, or a third party — give the job to someone who will embrace it.
- Automate — with Moderation
Automation tools like Hootsuite, IFTTT and Social Oomph make posting updates faster and easier. Just don’t take it to extremes. No one wants to follow an accounts that seems like a bot. Use a mix of automation along with personalized interaction such as responding to others, asking questions or simply chatting occasionally.
- Outsource it
Today you can hire a virtual assistant (a human being) to help you by managing your social accounts. If it frees you up to focus on strategic business growth, it not only will help save you time, it may be a wise financial move.
- Find a Tool or Service to Curate Content
All this talk about updating social channels begs the question: how do you get all the content for updates? The good news is, you don’t have to CREATE all the content. You can share content from others (provided you give attribution, of course). There are plenty of content curation tools. Or use a service like $99 Social, where trained people manually go out and find interesting third-party content to share on your behalf.
- Cross Update
Use automation to cross post on multiple platforms, where it makes sense. You’ll get more bang for the buck. Have your blog posts auto tweeted to Twitter. Share your YouTube videos on your blog. Share your Facebook posts on Twitter. Some people advise against this activity, saying it is not engaging enough. But here’s the reasoning: every platform attracts a different audience, and not everyone visits every platform daily. By cross posting intelligently you may reach different followers. Just remember to also respond to comments and questions, read what others post, and do similar “high engagement” activities.
- Use Automated Reports and Dashboards for Efficiency
Measuring the right activity (see #1 above) is crucial. But you also should take advantage of technology in how you measure and monitor. Set up regular reports and have them emailed to you once a weekur website, you could have social analytics reports emailed to you once a week. Also, take advantage of tools that allow you to view all activity from a single central dashboard, such as Hootsuite, instead of taking the time to log into individual analytics on each platform.
By following these 11 tips, you can streamline your social media activities to become more effective and efficient. Isn’t that the name of the game for profitability?