Social media is a cheap marketing tool, they said! But when it comes down to it, it’s taking a huge amount of time for small business owners to create meaningful engagement with current and potential customers through social media sites.
Small business owners have limited resources and time. Constant Contact did a survey of small business owners which showed that they value one hour of their work time at $273. So, if they are spending a couple of hours a day trying to figure out what to put up on their business’ Facebook site, social media will actually be very expensive for them.
You may be overwhelmed by trying to connect with your audience on social media, and if you may not be seeing a return and are ready to give up. When done well, social media is a fantastic marketing tool to increase your brand, sales and reach locally and globally. You don’t have to spend hours a day crafting the perfect tweet. Diginormous has some great Social Media Tips for you that will help you to have an effective and efficient social media presence.
Use Social Media Tools
There are a huge range of tools out there that will help you to save time by
A) Allowing you to access all your social media sites in one place and
B) Facilitate the scheduling of messaging through Twitter, Facebook and more
Some popular tools include:
On these sites, you are able to check all the messages, posts, tweets, mentions and more that are relevant to your business. Instead of logging into three or four different sites, you can just log into just one and respond quickly to enquiries, comments or complaints.
Furthermore, you can use the scheduling element to draft messages and tweets (including photo and video) and choose the appropriate date and time for their release.
Some digital media experts recommend that businesses should be tweeting up to 9 times day, and updating Facebook statuses twice a day. Whether that is relevant to your business or not, it is difficult to sit down and quickly come up with dozens of relevant, engaging messages.
This is where curating comes in. You might not have known that it is not plagiarism to share or retweet someone else’s message, as long as the author or owner is credited. Not only does this save time for you, and diversify your messaging, but it could also help you to build relationships with other businesses. As long as authors are credited, they are generally happy to have their content shared, therefore reaching a larger audience.
When you appreciate the beauty of curating, you will also realise that making your own content sharable is beneficial; the more retweets and shares you are getting, the wider the audience you are reaching.
Trying to think of new, fresh content on a daily basis and searching for relevant images, GIFs or videos can be really time consuming. This is why Diginormous recommends that you start stockpiling content. Open a file where you can put photographs, newspaper articles, relevant links and videos so that you always have an easy place to access content.
Some good places to find free images and GIFs are:
Ideas for messages
Using social media for marketing is only worthwhile if businesses are making meaningful connections with their audience. If social media posts are boring, irrelevant or inappropriate, businesses may be in danger of losing followers. Here are some quick tips to start your social media juices flowing!
- Brainstorm with staff: Two heads are better than one! If you have colleagues, you could ask during a staff meeting for some quick ideas. Even if the messages are not perfect, ideas from others can be inspirational.
- Ask your audience questions: If you are not sure what your audience wants, or what would be helpful to them, just ask them! You will be surprised at how responsive the audience is when you ask them questions.
- Use quotes: When in doubt, borrow the words from someone else! People love inspirational or funny quotes, just make sure you credit the author.
- Use excel to avoid repetition: Your messages may get tired and repetitious if you do not keep an eye on what is going out. We find it helpful to keep an excel worksheet with a list of messages which can be broken into categories so that you are hitting lots of different topics.
- Reuse old messages, freshened up: The months roll by when you are a business owner, although it is not advisable to repeat old messages, you can visit your excel sheet to freshen up and recycle old messages.
- Set up Google alerts: You probably don’t have much time to trawl the newspapers and Internet for relevant updates. Set up Google alerts for topics or people relevant to your business to keep your content up to date.
The best news of all is that, like everything else, it will get easier. But if it is all too overwhelming, there are some options available to you. If possible, you could think of assigning these tasks to a member of staff, preferably someone with a marketing background.
Otherwise, you can hire a consultant or digital marketing agency to take away the stress of it all!