A question I get asked a lot is how to use social media to market your business with limited time. I thought I would address it here with a simple process for getting going with social media marketing for your business without spending all day on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!
People assume that I spend a lot of time on social media, which I guess would be ok as that’s part of what I do anyway, but the truth is that I don’t. I don’t have time, I have clients’ projects and my own projects to work on. I have a ‘day job’ like everyone else!
How to be ‘ever present’ on social media, authentically
So, how am I seemingly ‘ever present’ (albeit less so than I have been in the past) on social media whilst getting on with other stuff? And how do I do that authentically. I’m not suggesting that you ‘pretend’ to be on social media whilst getting other people and tools to do it all for you. I believe that you can outsource some of your social media marketing but not all of it.
There is a marketing ‘guru’ who I follow whose social media is clearly outsourced (they are more talented in other ways of marketing their business, obviously!). There is no personality in their status updates, most of which are ‘sales’ messages – and in that I include status updates that say things like ‘Like my Facebook Page’, ‘Watch this video I made for you’ even if they’re not directly selling something.
There is no personality there, which turns me right off! It must work to a certain extent otherwise they would be doing something different but it could be working even more effectively if they added in the ‘social’ bit – that is the point, after all!
Social Media Marketing With Limited Time
So, what do I recommend that you do? It’s all about having a process that is fairly ‘slick’ and ensuring that you consistently apply it.
Determine your keywords
Start by determining the keywords that you think your target market are searching for online. Be very clear that you pick up those that your prospects and customers would use (which are being searched for already – use the Google Keyword Tool to find this out) not those that you would use to describe the same thing. We can be guilty of using jargon in our own businesses.
Start by ‘listening’
Set up ‘listening’ tools like Google Alerts and use http://search.twitter.com and searches using Hootsuite (more on that later) to find conversations already happening around those keywords so you can determine things like: what people want, how they want it to be presented to them, how you can best join the conversation etc.
What useful, relevant content can you share with your followers and connections?
Determine what content you have already to share with your followers, and set up ways to find other content e.g. the Google Alerts will do that job too; and RSS feeds from authority sites in your niche coming into a Feedly account will be helpful too. You can link to other content directly, with or without ‘your take’ on it, or write your own content inspired by what you find elsewhere.
Set up your social media profiles
Set up your profiles on the platforms relevant to your audience. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are likely to be useful in most cases. LinkedIn is needed if you are marketing to businesses. YouTube, Pinterest, Slideshare and possibly Google+ are likely to be of interest.
Add the icon links to your website / blog as well as social share buttons on your pages and posts to encourage social sharing and to give you ‘social proof’ when people share your content.
Set up an account with Hootsuite to help you to manage your profiles all in one place, which saves loads of time. Set up lists in Twitter to keep your contacts together and help you to keep up with the conversation (I have lists like ‘local contacts’, ‘mentors’, ‘clients’ etc).
Set up columns in Hootsuite, one for each Twitter list. You can also set up columns to monitor your keyword searches so that you can find new content and people to connect with from within the Hootsuite application.
Share your useful content and engage with people
Start sharing useful content, chatting and interacting on the platforms. What time you do this will differ depending on the platform as well as according to when your audience are online (and Tweriod can help with that for Twitter). You can also take advantage of the functionality on Buffer and Hootsuite to hit the right timings for your audience.
Buffer is a tool that you can use to share content with your audience on a regular basis. It allows you to set a publishing schedule for each platform and then as you share content to Buffer via your smartphone app or browser link it adds it to a publishing queue for that particular platform.
‘Pop onto’ Hootsuite two or three times a day to respond to messages, thank people for their help and retweets. Check your Twitter lists and Facebook page comments to see if you need to respond to anyone or if you can answer any questions or join in any conversations.
Follow and connect with people in your target market
Start following and connecting with people. One quick route to getting your target market following you on Twitter is to find your competitors and people who are active in your niche too and follow their followers. Many of them will follow you back.
Make sure you use ‘calls to action’ and links as appropriate
Make sure you have calls to action / links to your website in your profiles. Every so often put out a sales status update or two but make sure that they’re adding value to the conversation rather than becoming outbound advertising (depending on your business and the expectations of your followers you may be able to send more sales messages but do be mindful that social media is all about ‘inbound marketing’, attracting people to you, not interrupting people with your marketing and sales messages).
Don’t forget to connect with me!
What other hints and tips do you have to share with other people about how to manage and develop their social media relationships and social media marketing without it taking over your life?