We’re now firmly into the second decade of the social media revolution and, thankfully, much of the original hoopla surrounding the use of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook in a business context has passed. Though the more outlandish hype about overall effectiveness is behind us, there’s still a highly significant role for social media to play in small business marketing.
Facebook in particular has emerged as an extremely useful way of targeting specific local demographics, and its suite of paid advertising tools is increasingly impressive. That said, there’s a very real need for entrepreneurs to exercise discipline when planning their social media strategy – approached in a haphazard manner, it can all too easily end up being an impossible to measure timesink that distracts you unnecessarily from other parts of your business.
With a view towards keeping things manageable across the board, let’s look at a simple three-step process that will enable you to use scheduling to take effective control of your small business social media.
- Start With A Plan
Regardless of what platform you’re dealing with, social media is an inherently transient medium. That’s good news in terms of attracting people’s fickle attention, but potentially disastrous when it comes to actually managing your own time.
Make sure you’ve actually sat down and worked out a quarterly social media plan that includes a clear description of why you’re using social media to begin with, along with clearly defined metrics that you’ll use to measure its effectiveness.
- Establish A Daily And Weekly Schedule
With an overall plan in place from step one, you then want to put some hard borders around your weekly engagement with social media. You do not want to be dipping in and out of your various accounts on an ad hoc basis throughout the day or week – that’s a recipe for distraction and lack of focus.
Give yourself clear, boxed off times per day when you’ll actually be taking care of posting and interacting on your accounts, along with a weekly limit of how much time will be spent on this marketing channel.
- Use The Right Tools
Even by taking care of the first two points, you’ll be light years ahead of most other small businesses in your use of social media. The final piece of the puzzle is using the right set of tools to efficiently plan and produce your content.
Though a certain percentage of your social media output will naturally be responsive and very much in the moment, a huge percentage of it can be automated and scheduled in advance. Get used to the idea of thinking about your content in terms of campaigns that can be planned. Then start investigating simple but powerful tools such as Buffer which enable you to schedule posts across all your social media channels from one central location for a very reasonable monthly sum.
Though the relative importance of particular channels will vary from firm to firm, there’s a very important place for social media marketing in most small businesses. You do, however, need to exercise discipline in your approach to avoid getting side-tracked.
Clear a small bit of time to set up our simple three step process, and you’ll be well on the way to take control of your small business social media channels!