Social Media in 7 minutes a day.
How to have a presence online,
without compromising your presence offline.
As a busy business owner you know that there are lots of things you need to do in order to reach your target market. You might go to networking events, do email marketing campaigns, send out direct mail or exhibit at exhibitions. You know that social media is one of the things on that list, but many business owners I know find it difficult to get their head round it and think that they don’t have enough time to do it all.
Unfortunately most people think there are only two ways of approaching social media: either do it a lot, or don’t do it at all. I’m going to show you how you can have a social media presence that doesn’t take up too much time, but still delivers the basic results you would want from it.
Remember, I’m no social media expert, but I am an expert in business growth and time management, so that’s where I’m coming from here. I am sure the social media experts who read this will have a whole lot more to say on this, but this guide is for business owners who need to do many things at once and want to know how to get results quickly and without too much time spent on it.
Why do it?
I do believe that Social Media is an important part of anyone’s online marketing strategy, and therefore you should definitely do it, whatever your business. Not doing it would be like refusing to use that new-fangled invention the telephone when it was introduced in the late 19th century.
If you really want to increase your sales through social media you will need to speak to an expert and spend at least one hour a day on it, but there are other reasons to use social media. It can help you to:
* establish yourself as an expert
* increase your organic SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and come up higher on Google
* subtly stay in touch with your customers and prospects
I also think you should ask yourself what are people going to find when they look you up online? Are they going to find one outdated website, or are they going to find a lot of useful tips and information on a wide range of platforms? And people do look you up so if you don’t make sure that the information about you is what you want it to be, they will still find something.
Here are my basic rules for social media:
1. Post things that are useful, relevant and interesting to your target audience
2. Post regularly but spaced out (i.e. not 5 tweets one day and then none for the next 4 days)
3. Interact with people who interact with you and be personable
Let’s look at that in more detail.
1. Type of post
Remember that you want to establish yourself as an expert in your field; you want to show off your skills and expertise, so make sure that every business post does exactly that. I like giving business tips and advice, as well as inspiring quotes that are relevant to business owners. Think about how you can show off your skills or expertise.
Here are some things you can consider:
* Pictures of your designs / products
* Links to articles / websites
* Promotions (although make sure you don’t become too ‘salesy’)
* Ask questions / polls
* Interesting facts
* What inspires you
One way to plan your posts is to think of one thing to do for every working day of the week. So you might do 2 tips, 1 article link, 1 picture and 1 interesting fact. And in the weekend you can do jokes or personal comments related to such things as sports or hobbies or TV.
2. Posting schedule
You want people to see you regularly, but you don’t want to flood their timelines with your stuff on any given day. You can set yourself some rules on how much you post on the various platforms. The main ones are Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. On LinkedIn you should have a company page as well as your personal page.
Here’s a reasonable schedule for a solid online presence:
* Twitter once a day – 7 days a week
* Facebook twice a week
* Google+ twice a week
* LinkedIn (personal account) once a day – working days
* LinkedIn (company page) twice a week
* Pinterest – once a week
Now I know that some of you are looking at this and saying ‘I don’t have time to do all that!’. But this is where the most excellent tool of all comes into play: scheduling.
If you use Hootsuite, which is a free piece of software that is easy to install, you can schedule your posts, and link the various platforms, so you don’t have to type in everything 6 times, and you can schedule posts months in advance. There are others that do this too, but this is the one I use and it works perfectly for what it needs to do.
You don’t want to link everything though, as you want to use the right language on the right platform. However, you can link Twitter and LinkedIn as well as Facebook and Google+. For Twitter and LinkedIn you stick to your 140 character post, whereas for Facebook and Google+ you can write a slightly longer post. Just expand on the tweet of that day, for example:
Sales tip: don’t give up after the first try – people need more than one contact before they buy from you #biztip
Most people don’t buy from you after just one contact, so don’t give up after your first try. Regularly stay in touch with your prospects and when the time is right they will remember you and buy from you instead of from that person they met ages ago and can’t remember now.
So here’s what you need to do.
1. You decide which 7 things you are going to post daily and on what day (Monday tip, Tuesday photo, Wednesday article etc.)
2. You write 3 months’ worth of content. This is one big job that might take a few hours, but when you do it in one chunk you’ll find it easier to come up with things that are related. And remember, if you only write one tip per week for example, you’ll only need 12 tips, and the same with photos, articles etc. Break it down and it won’t seem as daunting.
3. Save the content in a document called “Social Media Posts”
4. Go to Hootsuite and start by scheduling the tweets and LinkedIn personal posts. Just copy and paste from your document and post one a day for 3 months.
5. Schedule your Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn Company posts by expanding two of the daily posts to a longer post. Again do this for 3 months.
6. Rinse and repeat after 3 months. Nobody remembers what you said a week ago, let alone 3 months ago, so you can absolutely recycle your posts (provided they weren’t on something topical of course). Also, during those 3 months you will have seen other things, been inspired by other people and found other articles, so they will have gone into your Social Media Document, which is now getting bigger and bigger. And because you make sure that your content is relevant, useful and interesting, it will still be so 3 months later.
This whole process will initially take anything from a few hours to maybe even a whole day, but once in place, you can have a solid online presence in less than 2 hours per 3 months! That’s 2 minutes per day on average, but the beauty is that you don’t even have to go online every day and you’ll still be there.
3. Interact with people
The scheduled tweets ensure that you have a constant presence, but social media does require personal interaction. You don’t want to be seen as a robot and above all you don’t want to send automated responses to people. Therefore I suggest you spend maybe an additional 5 minutes twice a week to go on your various platforms, check out what everyone has been saying, and interact with them. Retweet some of their tweets if they are relevant and useful to your audience (and remember to schedule those as well – you still don’t want to flood people’s timeline with 20 retweets in one day!), comment on posts and definitely respond to people who have retweeted or reacted to your posts.
Have some conversations now and again, but you don’t have to do this every day to still have a good online presence.
So there you go. You’ll still have to put in some work at the beginning, but once that’s done you can focus on all the other things you need to do to grow your business. Good luck!