Social media is a powerful tool to grow your business, but it can also take up a lot of your time. As a busy professional or small business owner, you don’t have all day to surf the web—business related or not. How can you maximize your time while building your brand and growing your business on social media?
Check out these five quick tips to make the most of your time online!
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” French pilot Antoine De Saint-Exupery shared this lesson in his best-selling book, The Little Prince, in 1943, but he could have been talking about social media. Take the time to think about why your business is getting social and what you want to accomplish. Are you aiming to make new connections and build awareness for your brand? Are you looking for a non-obtrusive way to stay in touch with your clients and strengthen your relationships? Or are you ready to build a thriving, engaged community of brand advocates to share your story and refer new business?
While you can have multiple objectives, they do need to be ranked so you know where to focus. Ranking your objectives in order of importance may require discussions with your team or business partners to ensure that everyone is on the same page—and can move forward together. This process may take time now, but it will save you a lot of time and so much frustration later.
Think of your strategy as a road map to help guide you on your social media journey. Without it, you’ll just be wandering around the digital wilderness wondering if what you’re doing is having any effect and whether the resources you’re devoting (i.e. time, money, staff) are worth it.
Looking at the bigger picture, your social media strategy should fit into your content marketing strategy and overall marketing strategy. They’re all pieces of the same puzzle!
Social media is a vast landscape littered with platforms, so it can be intimidating. The good news is that your business or brand doesn’t need to be everywhere! In fact, overextending your resources can dilute the power of your message and hurt your brand. Go where your audience lives, so you can focus your efforts and make the biggest impact.
Where does your audience live? You can look at the demographics and psychographics of the overall audiences on specific platforms to get started or focus on popular platforms in your industry. For example, about 1 in 2 people surveyed have used Instagram to discover new brands, products or services¹ while 63% of respondents surveyed say Instagram allows them to form meaningful connections with brands.² Meanwhile, 90% of people say they discover new brands or products on YouTube,³ and it has the highest penetration of any social media platform.⁴
Better yet, ask your audience about their favorite social media platforms and how they like to interact with brands. Email or text your current subscribers with a quick survey and offer an incentive to participate, from a discount on their next order to free branded merch. Ask your customers and prospects when you communicate with them via email or over the phone to gain more insight. Note that everyone won’t be fans of social media or may prefer to communicate with brands in another way, such as email marketing or via direct mail.
Creating content that delivers value to your audience can be challenging and time-consuming, so share a mix of other people’s content in addition to your own. Curating content from other sources will help you make new connections, growing your audience and building awareness of your business or brand. It will also expose your community to a wider range of voices and viewpoints on topics leading to a better understanding of the subject matter. Always give credit when you share someone else’s content, so people know who created it or where it came from.
Publishing original content will help you establish thought leadership in your field. Share your knowledge to help your audience members achieve their goals or solve pain points, and they will probably tell others about you. Referrals or word of mouth marketing are critical to helping you grow an active, engaged community and attracting new customers.
Regarding content, keep on top of what’s trending but stay true to your business or brand as well. You don’t need to jump on every trend; stop and think about how a trend fits into your social media, content marketing and/or overall marketing strategy first. Create a content calendar so you can plan out your content in advance, and you won’t be left scrambling for something to post at the last minute. Get started with this free content calendar template from Hubspot, or find (or develop) a system that works for you.
When you think of social media, you probably think of content first. While content is important, it’s critical to focus on community. Create lists, search hashtags and keywords and scroll your feed, so you can engage with other people’s content—in your community and beyond. The best way to build your brand and grow your community is engagement!
Set aside 10 or 20 minutes a day (or even 3-4 days a week) to engage on your preferred platforms. React to posts, leave thoughtful comments, ask insightful questions and share other people’s content to amplify their voice. Engage, engage, engage! Engaging with others will draw more eyes to your content and introduce you to new people, who could be potential customers, collaborators or friends.
Engagement is a vital part of building your brand and growing your business with social media, so give it the attention it deserves. Spending time engaging with your community (and beyond) should receive equal treatment with content creation, so make sure it’s part of your social media strategy. If you want to publish content to a platform but never spend any time on it, you probably won’t have much success.
Technology can save you time, so utilize it when you can to assist with your social media efforts. For example, you can schedule your posts ahead of time, so you don’t have to be available at the times your audience is most active. This doesn’t mean you should schedule it and forget about it. You’ll still need to engage with your audience, respond to comments and answer questions.
Note that some features are only available when you publish content directly on the platforms. If you’re scheduling posts via a third party software, you won’t be able to use these features, or you’ll need to edit your post after publishing to incorporate them (if possible). Also, platforms love original content so your post may reach more people and generate more engagement if you create it directly on the platform. For example, there’s growing research that Reels created on Instagram are given more priority than outside videos posted to the platform.
Scheduling posts is helpful, but you always need to have access to your scheduled posts in case of emergency. If something happens at your event, in your community or around the world that suddenly makes publishing your post in poor taste, you’ll need to reschedule or delete it. While technology can be helpful, don’t allow it to run your social media efforts. Don’t buy likes, followers or automatic comments. A member of your team (internally or externally) should engage on behalf of your accounts, bringing a human touch to your social media presences.
We hope these tips will help you maximize your time while building your brand and growing your business on social media.
By: Maple Ridge Farms Team