A recent survey, published by InformationWeek, analyzed social media usage among small and mid-sized businesses. While 63 percent of those surveyed are trying to market their business through social media, 62 percent of small businesses said social media time managment is their number one obstacle. Similarly, mid-sized businesses put time management in the number two slot. How can your business overcome this challenge and reap the benefits of an effective social media strategy? Consider these top three tips.
- Define your objective. Identifying your reason for using social media is the first step to creating a strategy. Are you trying to attract new business, connect with industry leaders, keep up with current trends or all of the above? Figure this out first. Then, start drafting your strategy.
- Create a strategy. It seems simple, but the above mentioned research found that ad-hoc social media usage had gone up among mid-sized businesses while structured strategies had actually decreased. Plan your strategy by first creating a schedule for social media. Don't leave your tweets and postings to chance. This way, visiting social media sites will not eat away hours of your day or get pushed aside while you are working on other priorities. Secondly, focus your strategy on the sites that reap the most ROI. Thirty percent of companies surveyed said they are confused about which sites to focus on. Don't feel like you have to be everywhere. Quality is better than quantity. You do not need to "friend" and "connect" with everyone. Think about the virtual world in real world terms. You wouldn't develop a direct mail campaign and include everyone. You would research, define your audience and target them. The same holds true for online marketing. Find out the sites your customers are visiting. If they are mainly on Facebook and LinkedIn, then focus your attention there. Is there a smaller industry-specific site that would be worth your time?
- Utilize tools. The right tools make any job easier. Take advantage of the social media tools available. There are tools that allow you to update your status across multiple sites at once instead of having to log-in and re-type your status over and over. Use applications, such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or MarketMeSuite, to collect numerous online activities in one place and follow colleagues and other industry leaders without having to go to multiple sites. Set up RSS feeds to have your favorite blog updates, social media searches and other key information delivered right to the media reader of your choice. However, be aware that the survey found "ill-fitting tools" to be another challenge to effective time management. Consult with others in your industry or social media marketing specialists to identify the right tools for your business.
My team and I understand navigating the world of social media is not easy. Contact us for help developing your time-efficient social media strategy.