Guest post from Clare Evans. Social Media is not a standalone activity but is part of your overall Marketing Strategy. Think about how social media fits in, is it appropriate and how will you use it? What do you plan to get from it and how can you find time for it alongside all your other business activity?
Start by deciding what you’re going to focus on and how much time you’re going to spend on it. Which are the primary social media sites you’re going to use? Find the ones that are likely to work best for you and your business and commit to spending time on those – don’t worry or feel you need to be active on everything that’s out there!
Plan your time
When are you going to do it – once or twice a day, a few times a week? Morning, afternoon or evening? If you can’t commit to every day, less frequently is fine but stick to a plan and be active every 2-3 days at least. Plan in the time and …
… set time limits. Just 10-15 minutes a day or 3 x 10 minute slots throughout the day or even a couple of 30 minute sessions once a week is all you need. Make sure you stick to the time limit so don’t get distracted.
Create a checklist to keep you focused and on track. A simple spreadsheet to list your activity – for instance:
- Respond to mentions and RTs (re-tweets) – daily
- Find new followers/connections – weekly
- Connect with new and existing contacts – weekly
- Share information – RT, links etc. – daily
- Join in discussions
- Respond to questions
- Use social media tools like Hootsuite or TweetDeck . This makes it much easier and quicker to read and respond to postings and messages across your various accounts and includes Facebook and LinkedIn
They will also enable you to schedule tweets in advance (useful for when you’re going to be away or if you want to spread your posts out throughout the day). Automate postings from your blog or newsletter to your social media sites, so you don’t have to manually post to each platform. Bufferapp is another useful tool for scheduling social media posts ahead of time.
N.B. don’t over-schedule! Don’t automatically update ALL your platforms – be selective and don’t become an automation robot.
social media is about the conversation and connection, so make sure you engage with your community and make it two-way and not just a constant sales pitch – people will just switch off and stop following. Part of your time is about developing conversations, saying hello, connecting and sharing.
Be professional and consistent.
Remember that everything you say reflects you and your brand, so be careful of what you say and how you say it. What you post is visible for all to see – don’t say anything in public you wouldn’t say face-to-face or be happy to see in print. Yes, it’s ‘social’ and people want to see a personality but there is a line which can be easily crossed.
It may make sense to have two or more accounts so you can reach different audiences or post on different topics.
If you really don’t have much time for social media (but you still want to do it), there are plenty of people out there who can advise you on the best strategy and do it for you. They’ll plan, organise and post on social media sites, leaving you more time for your business and to add the personal touch.
Measure your results
While social media is about connecting, building relationships and conversations it can have long-term results which aren’t always easy to measure but you can monitor things like click-thrus on links, sign-ups, new connections, traffic through to your blog or website, views etc.
Image source: CityGypsy11