“I don’t have the time for social media!”
This is the number one reason small business owners give me as to why they cannot run their own social media marketing. I am sympathic, but it’s really all about working smarter not harder.
The key is to step back for a moment and think about how you can incorporate social media into your entire business and your daily life. Once you are comfortable with your chosen site you can then easily start using it everyday.
No two businesses are the same and no two small business owners are the same either, which is why it is so important to find your own style when it some to social media. The most important thing is to be consistent. Once you find your groove, just stick to it and keep going.
Here are 9 ways which will help you find more time for social media.
Throughout the Day
One way to find the time to use social media is to use those quiet times throughout the day when you can write posts, answer enquiries, reply to comments or post a new product.
For example, Malin from Love Is A Place Photography, who only uses Facebook, spends small amounts of time throughout her working week:
I spend a few minutes here and there throughout the day updating statuses and uploading photos. Every now and then I have competitions which I spend time promoting and telling people about. I tend to do small amounts on a frequent basis
This can be easily achieved once you are comfortable with the site you are using.
You need to know your limitations and you need to think about how much time you want to give to social media. It’s okay to start slowly and build up momentum as you go.
This is why it’s important to start with one site and start using it personally first, to get used to how it works, its idiosyncrasies, and how others use and interact on it.
Just remember that like most things in life, the more you do use it the better and faster you will get at using it, which will start to save you time.
Start with One
When starting out it’s best practice to start with one social networking site and once you have that under control, only then branch out. For some it will be Twitter, for other Facebook – but whatever site you choose, just start using that one until you are comfortable with it.
Only then move on to the next. Don’t get distracted by the latest and greatest new site.
Set Aside Some Time
You don’t have to do all your social media live. You can spend an hour every few days or a few hours every week preparing what you want to say and then spread that throughout the week.
You can do this instead of creating content throughout the day or use it in conjunction with it. It all depends on your style, but remember that you will have to spend some time responding to comments throughout the day as well. Fully automating your social media is a bad thing to do. You still need to be engaged.
Scheduling some tweets to be posted throughout the day is a great way to spread you tweets out, but it can lead down the path of laziness and does not really help your level of engagement. One important thing to remember is to not do this with Facebook – Facebook penalizes you for using 3rd party apps to schedule posts.
You need a social media plan. Before you start and every 3-6 months after, spend some time writing out what you want to achieve, important dates and product launches over that time. Think about what you could talk about and what you want to offer and highlight. And also how you can help your customers and fans – after all, if you fill a need of theirs they will love you for it.
Get the Right Tools
Get Hootsuite to manage your social media presence and to monitor what is happening online. It’s free and is web-based so you can manage your social media from anywhere.
There are other tools you can use as well that will save you time, but there are also many that will waste your time. The key to a great social media tool is it will make a job you do easier or save you time – if it doesn’t do either of those (or both!) then don’t use it.
Re-Purpose your Content
By re-purposing, I don’t mean for you to simply use the same post for Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn. What I mean is to create content that can be used in multiple places in multiple forms.
For example, say you did a short talk at a conference. You could film it and post it on YouTube, get it transcribed and post it on your site, create a blog post out of the information in the talk, create a podcast from the audio, create a Slideshare with the Powerpoint slides you used, create an eBook from the same material, and so on.
Don’t create everything from scratch – use the content you have already to create new and interesting content across the entire web.
Google Alerts and Hootsuite saved searches are both a god-send and can be a great way to find content to talk about or people to connect with. This can be easily incorporated into a daily routine as well – checking them throughout the day or spending 30 minutes at the beginning or end of the day instead.
These are all simple ways that can be implemented to give you the time needed for you to use social media effectively to grow your business online.
The big take-away from this should be to start incorporating social media seamlessly into your daily routine – just like opening up your shop in the morning. It should be a mandatory part of any small business today.
Do you use any of these techniques to save time? Are there any I missed?