Small business owners, especially those businesses with under 10 employees, find it extremely difficult to justify the time on social media because it doesn’t lead to predictable, measurable cost savings or revenue. But it’s difficult to measure the value of a relationship and that’s what you’re building with social media.
Just as you make time for other important relationships in your life, you must find a way to build that relationship with potential customers. That’s something that won’t happen in a post. It takes times and a commitment to consistent posting.
But how do you find the time in an already busy schedule?
We have some ideas:
Keep Content Handy
The first thing you’ll need is a place to keep content you find. Not all content will be applicable for sharing the moment you come across it. We’ve all seen people on Twitter who post 10 tweets at a time and figure they are done for the day. It is better to deal out your posts at multiple times than all at once. Often you’ll find content that you’ll want to share later so select a system in which you can easily access your content gems in the future.
Upload content to DropBox, use Evernote, or keep a notepad handy (paper or electronic). It doesn’t matter if you keep fortune cookie messages in a shoe box. Never let what you deem to be a valuable piece of content escape. Keep it somewhere handy and build a cache of it so you always have content at the ready.
Find a Scheduler You Like
There are many options to help you pre-schedule posts. Scheduling is important because you can’t spend your whole day posting, nor do you want to be that person who bombards others with a firehose worth of content once a day.
Find a scheduler you’re comfortable with. Many systems allow you to control when you post and often give you the ability to do it several days out. One of the most basic is Buffer. It allows you to schedule across multiple platforms. It offers a free and several paid versions. The lowest paid version starts at $15 a month.
Another popular option is Hootsuite. Hootsuite’s interface is busy but allows you to monitor in real time. If you’re developing relationships, this is a powerful ability to have. It offers a 30-day free trial with paid packages starting at $49 per month.
There are a lot of options out there. Try them out and select something that works for you and the number of social media channels you are managing.
I’m not telling you to turn off the TV when you get home, but there is no reason if you’re “vegging out” that you can’t use that time to schedule a few posts for the next day. Don’t let mindless tasks, like television watching, steal your productivity.
Speaking of stealing…
We all have moments where we’re waiting – before doctor’s appointments, before meetings, on the phone, while the kids finish up with practice, you get the idea. Many of us fill this time with other mindless tasks like scanning pictures of our friends’ pets on Facebook. Instead, use this time to be productive by finding content, scheduling it, or responding to people on social media.
Scheduling posts is important for productivity but interacting on social media cannot be scheduled. Use this stolen time (when you’re waiting) to reach out and connect with people.
Look for Content Everywhere
Content ideas are everywhere – airplane magazines, overheard conversations, commercials, popular TV shows, as well as all over social media. Use the many messages that bombard you daily to find gems you’d like to share. Retweets are only the beginning.
Along that line, take pictures of everything that moves you and some ordinary things that don’t. Pictures you take can be used in blogs, memes, and image quotes without concern over cost or copyright. Links with pics are more likely to get shared and clicked. Encourage your employees to do the same.
You don’t need huge chunks of time to make connections on social media. The key to success in this area is the same in most business- or relationship-building. Give people what they want/find valuable; do so without expectation. Become a resource for them and help them. Be consistent in your efforts so they know they can count on you. This take minutes a day. Schedule good content and steal time for interacting. Then watch your relationships grow as people share your resources with others.