Social media marketing can be a daunting task which takes time away from other important responsibilities. This is especially the case for small business owners who don’t have the staffing power to fully maximize the benefits of social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In. Buzz, etc.) with regard to their online marketing strategy. Such benefits include increased brand awareness, networking, customer interaction which can turn leads into sales.
- Formulate a strategy. According to Diana Huff, a leading Internet Marketing expert, there are strategies that small business owners can implement that will help them manage their social media campaigns effectively and save time.
Before interacting on Facebook or Twitter, know why you wish to maintain a presence on each site. Without a strategy you will not be able to market your product or service effectively. The following are some key questions to ask as your create your online strategy:
- What is your company’s marketing objective?
- What results do you wish to achieve?
- How will success be measured?
- Who on your team will be responsible for monitoring your firm’s online presence and interacting with prospects and customers?
- How much time will this employee be able to devote exclusively to social media?
- Which of the platforms are best for your business?
- Start slowly with one platform. Many small business owners mistakenly believe that they must jump into all social media platforms at one time. This is simply not the case. You can start with any of the sites and once comfortable on that site, build a presence on the others. It is also fine to elect not to participate in some sites at all. What is most important is that you develop a consistent presence on those sites you do choose to use. It does not good to develop a page or profile, post a couple of comments and then disappear. It takes time to develop a following but well worth the effort once you recognize the viral effect of online marketing.
- Set a social media schedule. Tim Ferriss, author of the 4 hour Work Week, includes much discussion on how to manage email overload. One of his suggestions is to simply stop checking it 50 times per day. The same advice can be followed with regard to social media. Schedule a set period of time each day when you will post a question for your Facebook fans, post a comment to your LinkedIn group, check your Google feed, or post and article to your company blog. As per Diana Huff, setting aside as little as 30 minutes twice per week should suffice for carrying out each of these tasks. Grouping your social media time in this way lessens the anxiety associated with building a social media presence.
- Use tools to help manage multiple platforms. If you have several employees posting to the sites or if you are an Internet marketer with several accounts, it helps to use such tools as HootSuite or TweekDeck. These tools shorten your URL and eliminate the need to log in and out to multiple platforms
- Outsource if necessary. While there is much discussion on the ethics of ghost-blogging, it is a fact that many small companies are not able to manage their social media campaigns effectively while trying to grow their business. In light of this, hiring ghostwriters is a smart move when trying to balance the competing needs of your firm.
An effective social media campaign is managed in the same way as any marketing effort: with a strategy in place based on your business model and objectives.