So many people mistakenly believe that a good social media strategy for their business is a total time suck and not worth the effort. Not so! If you are one of the people living under that misconception and not taking advantage of what social media has to offer, you are missing out on important conversations and networking opportunities that can greatly benefit your business’ bottom line!
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that it takes no time at all to implement, develop and maintain a viable social networking strategy, but I can tell you that it’s not as daunting an undertaking as you might think – the risk of missed opportunities far outweighs the risk of time lost. And, you are in complete control of how much time you put into it. Here are some tips to help you manage your time wisely on social media activities for your business:
First, focus on why you want to use social media. Depending on industry and company mission, business owners use social media for different business purposes. Do you want to use it for research? Networking? Sales? Or, a combination of all of the aforementioned?
If research is your aim, you’ll want to source out blogs and relevant news sites that provide you with the quality information you require. You can subscribe to their RSS feeds (news feeds) so that you can keep up with any updates posted that are of importance to you. Imagine having all of that information literally at your fingertips? If you ask me, it sounds like this will actually save you some time!!
If you want to use social media for networking, it’s imperative that you build a community or audience. This is easy to do on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Once you have created your accounts (a snap), it’s just a matter of building your communities by posting on a regular basis (again, this does not take a whole lot of time) and interacting with your audience. Depending on how much engagement you’re interested in, this can take anywhere from only minutes a day to a couple of hours – not necessarily any more than that, unless you so choose.
If your motivation is sales and marketing, it’s important that you get your brand name out there. You’ll want to let people know what your brand is all about – what services and/or products you offer – how these services and products can benefit people. Again, engagement with your audience via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogging will be key here. Social media sites are currently the most innovative methods of marketing your brand’s products and services. They provide an unprecedented means of getting the word out.
Secondly, it’s important to develop a strategy to manage your time wisely. Once you gain perspective on your purpose for using social media for your business, it won’t be difficult to determine how much time per day or per week you’ll require. Here are a few ideas that can help:
– Create a schedule. Set some time aside each day (at least at first) to check your Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn accounts. Take a few moments on each account to post something relevant and especially to respond to any inquiries or concerns that people in your communities may have. Make it a point to join in on conversations/dialogue wherever you can contribute something meaningful. (Remember, it’ll take a bit of time to build an audience.) If you decide to blog, ensure that you post something at least once every other week or so. Blog posts take on average anywhere between an hour to a few hours to research and compose, but unless you’re a very ambitious, avid blogger, a post a week or every other week should suffice.
– Focus on activities that will have the most impact. A crucial thing to remember here is that you have to be where your customers/clients are. If you have identified that they are mostly on Facebook, then by all means, concentrate a good chunk of your social networking time there. But, you don’t want to neglect the other networks, as they are all beneficial.
– Although you want to garner a wide audience, it’s not necessary to overdo it. You don’t have to be friends with or follow each and every person with whom you come into contact. If a relationship will be mutually beneficial, you want to be connected to that person, if not, then don’t be afraid to be selective. If you’re connected to absolutely everyone, you will be spending more time than you have to on social media.
– By the same token, it’s imperative to stick to your purpose. It’s easy to get sidetracked with irrelevant activity on social media (do you really have to watch that YouTube video right now??). Stay focused on your business purpose and you will spend your time much more efficiently on social media.
If you use your time wisely and keep your focus in mind, you will find that you social media endeavors significantly pay off and that you actually enjoy your time spent with your connections.