Today, it’s hard to ignore the fact that social media is playing a larger and larger role in the marketing strategies of businesses. According to a January 2015 report, the average user spends 1.72 hours on social media a day; 40 of those minutes are spent on Facebook (according to Mark Zuckerberg).
These are LARGE numbers, and businesses around the United States are acknowledging them. In fact, according to the latest report (May 2015) from Social Media Examiner, 96% of marketers say that they use social media to promote their business; at the same time only 45% think that their Facebook marketing is effective. So there are two realities: One, social media is a necessity if you want to promote your business. Two, marketers are unsure they are effectively reaching users!
So we’ve come up with 7 ways to simplify your social media marketing.
Choose your networks
There are SO many social media networks out there: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIN, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, Snapchat, YouTube, Vine, to name a few. So unless you have the resources of a huge company that has a number of full time marketers, you will want to pick 3-4 networks to focus on. When you have too many social networks to manage, you probably won’t have time to invest in any of them properly.
How can you decide which networks to join? Know your demographics, and do a little bit of research. Is your target audience teenagers, adults, parents, singles or senior citizens? Then, just do some Google searches on “most popular social networks” or “social network use statistics”. You will find statistics about which networks are best for your demographic. (For example, according to Business Insider, March 2015, American adults prefer LinkedIN over Twitter. Who knew?) Because social media trends are constantly changing, it’s a good idea
Set a goal, then set a strategy to attain that goal
There are probably more social media marketing strategies than there are social media networks, and some are more complicated than others. While choosing a strategy is something you should definitely do (perhaps with the help of a one-time consultation from an expert), prior to that you need to decide what your goal is. Once you realize your goal, it is much easier to choose a strategy that will help you attain it.
Here are a few examples of goals that companies might set: Get people to sign up to your newsletter, drive traffic to your site, or establish yourself as an expert in your field. If your goal is to get people to sign up to your newsletter, some of your posts on social media might be links to the sign-up page, or intriguing excerpts from your newsletters. If your goal is to drive traffic to your site, your posts should be sharing great content from your blog. If you want to establish yourself as an expert in your field, you will need to curate content from a variety of sources. All of these goals require different strategies, which is why it is so important to choose your goal first, and then establish a strategy.
(On a side note, getting Facebook likes or Twitter followers should not be a goal in and of itself; it can be a means to a goal, but the likes and followers won’t actually help you unless your sole purpose is to promote your page, not your company.)
In the same vein, realizing your goal will help you decide which areas of social media to invest in – the content, the images, the monitoring and engaging, the hard sells and/or Facebook ads (usually it’s a mixture, but it’s up to you to decide the percentages). Remember, you do not have unlimited time, so focusing on your goal will help you spend your time on things that are worthwhile, not on methods that look promising but actually won’t achieve much for your particular goal.
On that note, set a time limit
It’s easy to spend hours and hours on various social media sites, without even realizing that the hours are flying by. So don’t! You are a busy person, and have better things to do. Set yourself a realistic time limit for how long you will spend on social media. This will go hand-in-hand with your goal and strategy.
Making a monthly schedule of social media posts is really helpful. It means that you have to invest 2-3 hours at the end of each month to plan for the following month, but then, your entire month is freed up. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t post relevant or timely items that come up, but your main framework will be established. (It also doesn’t mean that you should ignore your networks for the month – it is important to monitor followers, comment on what they say and share, and answer relevant questions.)
Use a scheduling tool
Scheduling tools for social media are God’s gift to earth! Could you imagine having to post each day on 3-4 social networks individually? It would eat up such valuable time! So once your monthly posts are planned, schedule them all, on all your social networks. Here is an up-to-date list of the most popular scheduling tools.
Don’t think you need to post ALL the time
You can get so caught up in maintaining a presence that you might over-post. This is not good for two reasons – first, it’s unnecessary work for you, and second, followers might unfollow. Here is an up-to-date infographic about the frequency of posting for various social networks. When you don’t over-do it, you will be able to stay within your time limit and not turn off followers!
Integrate your social media network with what you are already using
If you have a WordPress website, take advantage of a social share plug-in so that when you post a blog, it gets posted to your social media sites (I use this one, but there are many more out there). In your email signatures, include links to your social media networks. (Everyone who works in your company should do this, not just you!) On any other online or print materials you have, include links to your social media networks.
If you are new to social media, even these “simple” tips might seem overwhelming – so just take it one step at a time! If you have experience in social media, you can use these tips to organize your existing-social media accounts and hopefully free up some time for yourself. The goal of using social media effectively is driving greater traffic to your website or increase clients/sales, while not taking up all your time or making your head spin.
Submitted by Elana