It’s the end of the day—have you posted your latest photo to Instagram? Shared that latest Facebook post? Responded to everybody on Twitter? Posted in your LinkedIn groups? Uploaded your new video to YouTube?
Frankly, that sounds exhausting. Don’t get me wrong—social media is incredibly valuable, and if you do it right you can reach new customers, develop relationships with your current ones, and build out your brand. But it’s also easy to do it wrong. It’s easy to find yourself spending more and more time on social media for less and less return.
So what are some things you can do to keep the balance in your favor? How can you get the most bang for your social media buck? Here are a few simple things that’ll help.
Focus Your Channels
Go look at that first paragraph again. That’s five different social media channels listed—and that’s only the beginning! We still haven’t gotten to Google+, Pinterest, Foursquare… you get the idea. It’s possible another social network has been making the rounds just since I started writing this.
The problem is simple. You have limited hours in the day to do everything you want to achieve, including social media. Instead of trying to be all things, on all networks, to all audiences, you need to focus. You don’t need to be everywhere. Instead, you need to be focused on a limited number of social media channels. You’ll be way more effective if you try to do a great job on just, say, two or three channels, instead of giving half-hearted efforts at ten.
So how do you decide where to put in the time, and which ones to set aside? You go to where your audience is. Think about who the kind of people are who become your customers. Which social networks do those kinds of people spend time on? If your average customer has never heard of Instagram, you probably don’t need to worry about that one too much. But if the first thing your customers do when they walk in your store is pull out their phones and start snapping pictures, you ignore it at your own peril.
Keep a Regular Schedule
Not all days are the same. Sometimes you’re so swamped you barely have time to breathe before the day is over. And sometimes—well, sometimes you have a little extra time. Many business owners see social media as something they fit into that “extra” time. So they let it slide for a few days, then try to make up for it on that slow day. Don’t do that!
The best way to get more out of your social media efforts is to keep a regular schedule. It’s not necessarily about the volume of posts, but about maintaining a regular, consistent presence.
Consider two businesses, that each make 10 posts on a particular social network over the course of a week. One consistently posts twice per day for five days. The other posts nothing for four days, then posts 10 times on Friday. Which one will be more effective? All else being equal, the everyday schedule will win every time. When you take care of social media regularly, you have a more consistent presence in your audience’s lives. When you post nothing for a long time only to rush everything out all at once, people first forget about you and then get frustrated at the page that is spamming their News Feed or Timeline. So make social media something that you schedule regularly. Even if it means scheduling posts in advance when you know you’re going to be busy, be consistent.
Find Someone to Do It for You
Finally, it might just be the most effective thing for you to hand the keys to your social accounts to a professional. You started your business because you’re passionate about—and good at!—what you do. Letting someone handle your social media presence who has that same passion and talent but in the social media realm frees you to spend more time doing what you’re best at—the things that only you can do.
Good social media account managers learn about you and your business, what kind of brand and message you want to present, and what makes your business tick. Then they get to work creating and sharing the kind of content and messages that you want your audience to see. They’ll share analytics with you to measure your social media strategy’s effectiveness, and help you get the most out of those social channels.
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So get the most out of your social strategy! Work smarter and use these channels to your benefit. Focus your efforts on the channels where your target market is already engaging, develop a regular social media routine, and determine whether your best option is to enlist some professional help.