How business owners can get started on social media with only 20 minutes a day. There are some steps you can take to get started with social media and still have time to get the rest of your work done.
As an experienced small business owner, you know that spending long hours running the day-to-day needs of your business is just part of being an entrepreneur. Your days include revenue generating activity, employee/contract management, paperwork, marketing, and then planning: for tomorrow, for next week, for next month, etc. There is little time at the end of the day for new initiatives, but you’ve managed all these years. You have your routine, you are making it work.
So when someone says to you, a well-established business owner, that your business should be spending more money and time online, on social media, you laugh. Okay, maybe you didn’t laugh, but you wanted to.
“I’ve being doing fine all along, why should I bother?” “My customers know how to find me” “That social media stuff is for young people”
… and the big response is “Who has time?”
The fact is, there are very few businesses (if any) that can say none of their customers are online looking for information about what they want to buy, and who they should buy from. The bottom line is, if you want to continue to stay competitive and to grow your company, you need a digital presence. This is not an option…your customers will expect to find your company online.
- First you need a website (mobile-friendly & up-to-date).
- Next, you need to be on social media.
Not all social media sites are relevant to all businesses. Find out where your customers are, and that is where you should be. Depending on the size of your business, and how active your audience is on social media, will determine the resources needed for it to be successful. Social media is not only about marketing; it is an opportunity to communicate better with the people that matter to the success of your business: an avenue for sales, public relations, SEO, customer service, stakeholder engagement, etc.
Steps to getting started with Social Media
Have a plan
Hire a social media advisor to help you develop a plan. This plan will include goals and objectives to align with your business goals, help develop your social media profiles, suggest other tactics to promote your business through social media (i.e. blogs, content development, forums, campaigns, etc.), budget will be created, timelines/milestones set, and show you how to measure the success of your efforts. It will help you target your budget and get the best results to align with your business needs.
Who will manage it?
If you will be managing this yourself, you will need to have a basic understanding of social media. If you don’t, hire a senior level person to do the job. I don’t recommend an intern or someone new unless their work will be overseen by someone with experience.
20 minutes a day
For a small business owner who will be managing their own social media, you can do it in 20 minutes a day. This won’t include setting up your profiles, the planning, content development, and meeting time with your advisor, but it does include what you need to do every day to make sure your are posting new content, listening to your audience, and responding when necessary.
1. Set a designated time every day to Social Media.
Put it on your calendar, with a reminder! It will keep you focused, and become of your everyday routine. This is the time to read your news feeds, share relevant content, schedule posts, and respond to questions or conversations on your sites. More people are contacting companies through the direct messages on profiles such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.
2. Use your mobile phone.
Link to your social media accounts through your smart phone. You can monitor conversations, reply, and also share content such as photos or videos taken with your phone.
3. Subscribe to a scheduling software such as Hootesuite.
All your profiles can be monitored in one central location, and you can schedule posts to be sent out to your social media sites.
4. Brainstorming Folder
During the day, if you come across some interesting information online, or have an idea that you would like to do on one of your Social Media sites, make a quick note and file it away to do during one of your social media scheduled sessions, or one of your planning sessions. I use Evernote and Google Drive.
5. Get your staff involved
Creating content takes a long time! Get your employees involved to look out for stories and have them share it with you. You can have them post on Hootesuite and set it so all content needs to be approved, you can have them email the information to you, or you can used a shared content management site where they can give you ideas (both Evernote and Google Drive can do this).
6. Content & Coffee-Time
I find that using my iPad with an app called FLIPBOARD helps me with my online research. It looks like a magazine and it brings all my social media news feeds into one place. It also lets you search on topics to find content in other users magazines, email articles to myself for future reference, and even share articles directly to my profiles. I spend a few minutes each morning over coffee, so it doesn’t take any extra time out of my day.
These are a few tips to help a busy entrepreneur get started, and realistically manage social media in only 20 minutes a day. This is the basic amount of time any small business owner should expect to put in to managing their social media.
Having a plan is the first thing to do because it will help target the time spent for the best results. Once you get started, make sure you follow through. Your customers will expect that someone from your organization is updating and listening to their social media profiles. More or less, make sure you are consistent with your efforts, and respond when necessary.
If you have any questions about how to get started, or advice on growing your social media presence, call for a free consultation.