This post, a dispatch from KB Concepts’ Paris bureau, is the result of the many times recently I’ve heard small business owners, new clients, friends and several members of Arlington Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) share their perennial struggles to keep up with the demands of running their businesses and staying active, current and relevant with their social media.
For most business owners – even those who advise others on social media and marketing like I do, and especially if you have a small staff and business is good – this is a universal challenge. Rest assured you are not alone!
The following tips are not original. I am simply putting them here in one place, as promised, for those who might find them useful in their hectic business lives.
- Have a plan. Once every two or three months, sit down for 20 minutes and think about where your business is going in the next 3, 6 and 12 months. What are your goals, what are your long-term plans, what events are already on the calendar, and what holidays, seasons, local and world events can you tie into your own social media content?
- Create a social media schedule with your Google or other calendar and check it every week. Half the job is now done. Coming up with ideas can be the hard part, especially when you’re rushed and have a full plate; then just create the interesting content to go with it!
- Use the social media that makes sense for each type of post. Quick photos that tell their own story, info-graphics and inspiring quotes? Pop them on Instagram and share to Facebook and/or Twitter, and on Pinterest too. For more in-depth content that includes text and links, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus are great. Short intros with links are the lifeblood of Twitter, and creative info-graphics full of good content are perfect for Pinterest too. For short video clips, Instagram, Vine and Snap Chat are hugely popular. For longer videos, YouTube is the way to go, and then link to it from your other social media accounts and website.
- Speaking of websites, don’t forget that driving traffic from your social media back to your website is always your top goal. Then be sure those who visit can find what they’re looking for quickly when they get there!
- To schedule posts in advance – for the truly organized – there are several useful tools. Rather than list them, here’s a link to the Top 10, according to Search Engine Journal, including the number one tool, Hoot Suite. There are now also great tools for scheduling Instagram posts – read about them here on Social Media Examiner.
- Even if you do schedule posts ahead, there will always be opportunities that arise spontaneously: research and news stories that are related to your field; events of the day; things in your personal life that are appropriate to share and celebrate; and of course other great content from people you follow and want to engage with. Liking, commenting and sharing others’ good content is one of the very best ways to connect and have them follow and support you too.
- Hashtags: I cannot emphasize enough the importance of using those sometimes annoying words and phrases preceded by #. While it can feel forced or silly, this is how others with similar interests find your posts. Try it and see: when you start using hashtags, people and organizations you have no other connection with will find, like and share your posts. It works! Hashtag people, places, events, subject areas – whatever will help the right people find you.
- As for frequency, many will tell you to post as often as possible. One blogger I follow says to post something so many times you are sure people will de-friend you, and then post once more! For business owners already spread too thin, once or twice a day is ideal, a few times a week is the minimum. If you’ve made a schedule, it should really take no more than 10 minutes a day to post across all your accounts. Regardless of how often you post, be sure to monitor your posts, respond to comments, and follow new followers.
- Better yet, hire a savvy social media helper – a recent grad, college or even high school student looking for part-time work – and have them do it for you. This is the best, most affordable way to get the job done. You and your assistant then must periodically analyze your activity to see what’s working, what’s not, best times to post, etc. This is a crucial next step; most of the information is available right in your various accounts.
- Try to have fun with it and let your personality, passion and pride for your business shine through. For success with social media, that is the secret sauce for sure!
For more in-depth help with social media strategies and other assistance, such as reaching your target audiences via influencer marketing and other public relations support, KB Concepts is here to help. Contact us for a free consultation.
Graphic from Recruit Loop