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Social Media doesn’t have to be a ‘time suck’ and here’s how!

It’s fair to say that you either love or hate social media. Personally, I am a huge fan.  However, social media can be a real ‘time suck’ and for those starting out, it is a little daunting too.  In this blog I will share some of my top tips to staying on top of it and making it work for your business.

I can see the many benefits the varied platforms offer not only for my own business but most importantly for my clients’ businesses. It is no longer solely a tool to socialise with friends and family but is now fundamental to the success of any business.

Recent statistics from brandwatch reveal that there are almost 3.4 billion people worldwide actively using social media.  The average daily time spent on platforms is 116 minutes. With over 80% of small businesses now using some kind of social media platform to market their products/services, can you afford not to?

Here’s how not to let Social Media ‘suck up’ all your time!

Have a strategy

If you do not have a social media plan, then you will not be able to measure if your investment is worth it.  Planning really is everything.  Don’t worry as it can take time, up to a year, to build the right brand image for your business and become confident in your content. You will learn and evolve on the job, you won’t get it right first time. If you can understand ‘WHY’ people would want to follow you and remember this purpose every time you post something it will help. Investing in a social media planner will help you keep on track with your strategy.  I’m using Janet Murray’s Social Media Diary which is great.

Which platform is the best?

It’s important to choose the social media platform where your ideal audience can be found.  Then master that platform consistently instead of covering them all ad hoc. LinkedIn is very different to Twitter and Instagram which is very different to Facebook.  Tailor the language and content to align to each platform.  LinkedIn is huge right now and is a great lead generator.  I’d recommend you invest some time in understanding this platform first.  Getting your professional profile spot on adds lots of kudos to your professionalism as a business owner.

Content

In order to attract, delight and engage the right audience you should post content which is relevant to your brand and your industry. Posting about topics that you are passionate about and which are ‘useful’ will encourage audience engagement. Steve Howard CEO from Finally, a digital and creative marketing agency recently spoke at the LinkedIn Local Kent event I attended.  He reiterated the importance of not being ‘Content with your content’ and that you should remember to ‘Don’t sell, Give’. Both are great mantras to have!

I use my weekly Tuesday Top Tips to share time-saving ideas/apps with my followers. In return for this, they connect with me in a meaningful way. I have attracted several clients who have followed my tips for a while and built trust in the services I can offer them.

You shouldn’t struggle to find engaging content but if you do need some inspiration I would recommend websites such as Feedly, Buzzsumo, Reddit.  Setting up Google Alerts is a great starting point, in addition to news and industry-specific websites.

Sharing is Caring

You do not need to post fresh content every time. Sharing other people’s content and making relevant comments on their posts will help you build your audience too. Just remember to credit anyone if you do not directly reshare their content. Tagging the author and others will increase your audience.

Staying on top of it

A scheduling tool can help to take the ‘pain’ out of social media planning. There are many tools you can use to manage multiple social pages in one go and analyse the results.  Hootsuite, MeetEdgar and Sprout Social are good but I make the most of Buffer and Later as they are easy to use and free. Paid versions will give you more features and insights but aren’t necessary for beginners.  I’d also advise that you don’t over schedule, leave room for spontaneous off the cuff posts too.  These are often more natural and your audience could well engage with these more.

Be You and Be Visual

Don’t be afraid to show your personality in your content by sharing your thoughts and experiences.  Also, thanking people who have helped you on your business journey works. By using a variety of different visuals such as images, photos, videos, infographics, links etc you with keep your audience engaged and interacting with you.  Be brave and experiment with using video. Just remember to keep them short (30 or 60 seconds max) and to the point.  Make sure they are good quality and add subtitles as viewers rarely watch with audio on.

If you are still daunted by social media or simply do not have the time to use it as a tool for your business then why not outsource it to an expert? Choose someone you can trust, check out their work and testimonials and be clear about what you want to achieve. I support several of my clients with their social media, so if I can be of any help please don’t hesitate to contact me.