Firstly – if you’re using Social Media for your business – it’s not a standalone activity but is part of your overall Marketing Strategy. Think about how social media fits in. What do you plan to get from it and how can you find time for it alongside all your other business activity?
Decide 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!
Mine are primarily Twitter and LinkedIn – some Facebook and occasionally a few other more niche sites.
Plan your time. When are you going to do it – once or twice a day, a few times a week? Morning, afternoon or evening? Plan in the time and …
… set time limits. It can be done in 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. Stick to the time limit so you stay focused and don’t get distracted.
Create a checklist to keep you focused and on track. I have a simple spreadsheet on which I list all my social media activity, the different platforms I use and timings. 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
Twitter I access almost daily, LinkedIn I might only access every other day and other platforms less frequently. (Disgraceful JP)
Use automation. Platforms like Hootsuite enable you to schedule tweets in advance (useful for marketing campaigns). 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 your social media posts. (BufferApp is fab! JP)
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.
If necessary – have two or more accounts so you can reach different audiences or post on different topics.
While Twitter is instant, LinkedIn is more business oriented and Facebook more social or consumer based. If you can’t commit to every day, less frequently is fine but stick to a plan and be active.
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.
Part of social media is the conversation and connection, so make sure you engage with your community and make two-way and not just a constant sales pitch – people will just switch off and stop following.