So many small businesses have a desire to harness the power of social media, but there’s one constant grumble I hear – But I don’t have the time to do social media. It’s tough running your own business and there never seems to be enough hours in the day to do everything you want. You’re constantly juggling customer enquiries, doing the accounts, answering the phone, deadlines to meet and the kids need picked up from school. Then you need to do the gardening, attack that pile of ironing and make the dinner. Always juggling and you can never find the time to send those tweets or update your Facebook page.
Social media IS important and there’s always something more important to do right? – Wrong! Find the time and make social media a priority. With a little thought and forward planning you can always find the time for social media, here’s 5 tips to help you find the time.
1) Outsource your household duties
Instead of outsourcing your accounts to an Accountant or Marketing to a Consultant, do it yourself. It’s important to understand all the different business functions and the best way to do this is to do it yourself. So instead of paying an Accountant, pay a Gardener or pay for someone to do that pile of ironing or house cleaning. Be dedicated to your business and take the stress off your shoulders, free up time and dedicate this to your business, in particular your social media functions.
Write down a daily schedule and stick to it. 15-20 minutes in the morning and the same in the evening and make this a daily habit of your everyday working practices. Just make social media a daily priority and ensure you don’t fall behind the times, it’s where your customers are. Form a strategy and write down your plan, always write down your goals and objectives.
HootSuite is a fantastic auto-scheduling tool which can help free up time to post for you at optimum times of the day. I like to post when people will be sitting on the bus/tube going to work, at lunchtime and evenings. You can’t always be ready to send out posts at these times so use the schedule function on HootSuite to do the work for you. You can post to all your social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn all with one click. The free version will be ample for small businesses.
4) Twitter Lists
Open the homepage to your Twitter account and the volume of tweets can be daunting; the solution is to use Twitter lists. Sort all the people you follow into distinct lists, as a Marketer I have a number of lists which include Social Media Marketing, Entrepreneurial posts and Market Research. This way I can look at each individual subject from my lists and pick out the best posts to write about or re-tweet. Lists can easily be set up on your HootSuite account for ease of access.
5) Involve your employees
If you have employees, then get them involved in your social media strategy. If you involve your employees make sure of you have a social media policy in place and ensure your employees have received adequate training. Failure to do either of these 2 things can lead to damaging your brand, so training and a social media policy are essential.
Social media is important to your small business, it’s a cost effective way to market your business and allows you to personally engage with customers on a 1:2:1 basis. Remember that large businesses struggle to answer every customer on social media, but you can. Social media is where your customers are communicating, so go and find them.