0815_Simplify-Social-Media

How is your to-do list looking this week?

With the range of offline and online channels to manage, marketing tasks have grown exponentially. And nowhere has the challenge become greater than managing social media. As a small business marketing team (of one, most likely), anything that can make marketing simpler is welcome news.

To do social media well isn’t “free” – You must invest in people and content to be effective. However, social media doesn’t have to be difficult, and often we make it more complicated than it needs to be.

While it might be tempting to ignore social media in your marketing plans, keep these statistics in mind:

  • 79% of U.S. adults use Facebook. (Source
  • 76% of Facebook users check it every day (Source)
  • 44% of local businesses said they depend on social media to generate brand awareness, and 41% depend on it to drive revenue (eMarketer, 2016) 
  • 81% of all small and medium businesses use some kind of social platform
  • Less than 75 percent of SMBs use social media regularly. (BIA/Kelsey) (Source)

Whether you have an employee dedicated to marketing your small business or whether marketing is just one of many job functions you have, social media marketing doesn’t have to be neglected. The following tips will help you simplify social media and maintain an effective online presence for your small business.

 

Simplify Your Social Media Strategy

Does your small business even have a social media strategy? Odds are, you don’t. While it sounds like a lot of work, a social media strategy will help you to be more efficient with your social media marketing activities.

A good social media strategy will include the following:

  • Business objectives for social media
  • An audience persona
  • Core topics your business should be known for
  • The social networks where your business will have a presence
  • The type of content about your core topics that will engage your target audience
  • Outline of resources – Who will manage social media? How will you create content?
  • Metrics you will measure to track success

With a plan in place, your small business can use social media to achieve business objectives and to reinforce business messaging on other channels, like direct mail.

 

Simplify Your Social Media Line-Up

Repeat after me: You don’t need to be on every social network. With the rapid addition of new social networks, trying to be on ALL of them gets overwhelming quickly. Aside from being opposite of simple, having a presence on every social network is unnecessary.

It’s essential to select the social networks that make the most of your limited time. Use your social media strategy – particularly your business objectives, target audience, and core topics – to determine the best social media sites for your small business. Here are some basic considerations:

  • Facebook remains the most popular social network, with the most users and most frequent use. Facebook works for building a community or reaching a broad demographic. However, most people use Facebook to engage with family and friends, not businesses. For this reason, Facebook may not be a fit for your business. Or if you still want to have a Facebook presence, tailor your strategy for the platform.
  • LinkedIn users are in work mode, making it a powerful platform for B2B companies. It is also optimal for sharing industry-specific information.
  • Twitter is social media’s broadcast network. Information moves fast, and individual tweets have very short lifespans. Twitter is more effective as a two-way engagement tool. Do you have the time required to engage with your followers?
  • Pinterest is a highly visual social platform. It’s great for businesses that naturally express themselves through images. However, it can work in unobvious ways as well. What images might someone collect to inform their purchase decisions for the products or services you offer?

If you already have a presence on multiple social networks, conduct a social media audit. Dig into your account analytics to determine which social networks are performing best based on your business objectives. Prioritize the platforms that are helping you achieve your goals.

 

Simplify Content Creation and Curation

Content is the fuel that runs social media. This content can be your own, such as blog posts or company news, or it can be from other organizations and news sources. Creating and finding great content takes time and lots of it. However, not making the time for content diminishes your social media investment.

How can you simplify content creation and curation? Here are some ideas:

  • Create evergreen content. Evergreen content is content that can stand the test of time. Focus a portion of your content creation efforts on this type of content. There will still be a need to create time-sensitive content – company news, industry reports, and trend updates – but make sure that you are also developing an evergreen content library. You can regularly pull content from this library to feed your social channels.
  • Answer questions. What questions are your customers asking? If you don’t know, ask them. Your prospective customers are probably asking the same things. Answer frequently asked questions on your blog.
  • Use content curation tools. You don’t have to create all original content for social media. In fact, it’s best to share a mix of your content and content from other sources. Make it easier to find great content with the use of content curation tools. Use a feed reader such as Feedly to subscribe to your favorite industry blogs and news sites. Set up Twitter lists to organize the accounts you follow, and use a tool such as Hootsuite to monitor your lists and find great content being shared.

 

Consumers expect your small business to be active on social media. Don’t disappoint them. With a smart plan for managing your social channels, your business can be efficient in taking advantage of the opportunities social media provides.

Still overwhelmed? Download our white paper to learn more about the benefits of outsourcing some or all of your social media marketing.

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