I Don’t Have Time for Social Media Marketing – I Have a Business to Run

“Social media sounds interesting, but I just don’t have time to get into it. I’m too busy running my business!”You’re right. If you want to be effective in social media marketing, you have to invest some time. But there are ways to effectively manage a social media campaign(s) in less than an hour a day. The reality of the time suckOK, so the truth is that social media CAN be a major time suck. You can (and I often do) go on Twitter “for just a minute” and end up chatting for two hours. You can come across a new forum and spend an hour setting up a business profile. You can hop from article to article, just reading and commenting on stories and tips for half a day. You can – and you should. These are all things that will help you learn the ropes, engage in networking opportunities and promote your business. But you don’t have to get caught in the social media time suck every day.Your business comes first. Social media is just one way of promoting it. At a meeting the other day, a successful and socially-savvy REALTORĀ® explained that they key to evaluating how to spend the time you have available for promoting yourself was by repeatedly asking yourself, “How will this activity bring me business now or down the road?”So what do you want out of social media?Sales? Brand recognition? A positive name in the community? Connections with people who can help promote your business?Think about this question, look at your overall marketing goals and write down your campaign objectives. Be as specific as possible here. For example, if one of your goals is to have your restaurant packed full of patrons every Friday night, your campaign objective for the week might be to get five diners to come in as a direct result of your online efforts. (You could measure this by using a coupon code throughout your online campaigns.) If your goal is to increase your brand awareness in the community, perhaps your campaign objective is as straightforward as getting 20 new local followers on Twitter.Jessica Andreola is the Operations Manager at the Courtyard Burlington Harbor Hotel. Active on Twitter (@CYBurlHarborVT) and Facebook, Andreola says she keeps up with social media throughout the day by checking in on her profiles on her mobile phone and iPad periodically.”It is important for us to keep up with local news and events, to promote Burlington and to connect with clients/potential clients,” she said. “For us, social media is integrated into our marketing plan. I don’t sit down and post all at once… I check Twitter a few times a day and post on Facebook a few times a week.” Andreola’s says the brand enhancement, client engagement, community knowledge and referral rate numbers make social media well worth a little of her time.You now know why. Here’s the how:The #1 key to managing social media marketing time is having a strategy in place and sticking to it. Here are a few tips:
Block out time – It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, it just has to be a focused and consistent part of your day. It could be half an hour in the morning and half an hour at lunch, or perhaps an hour at the end of the day. Put this time in your calendar and turn off everything else. Use this time to really focus on developing your online presence, engaging with clients and building your brand.
Follow your customers – With limited time, you need to go where your customers are. Sometimes, you know exactly where they hang out (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). Other times you need to test the waters in a few places and see where you get the most feedback. Wherever it is, spend at least 50% of your time there.
Don’t get distracted – If you see an article you’re interested in, bookmark it so that you can read it later. Skim articles and look for relevant nuggets of information or helpful tips. You want to get a sense of what is going on with your friends, followers, colleagues and industry experts, but you don’t have to read every single word. You don’t have to keep clicking. Focus on YOUR BUSINESS.
Embrace the tools – There are many options available for accessing your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare sites all in one dashboard. I use Sprout Social, and many people find TweetDeck or HootSuite helpful. By having all your feeds in one spot, you can be much more efficient in monitoring activity and promoting across multiple platforms.
Schedule your promotions – Spend a little extra time one day a week setting up scheduled promotions (tweets, blog posts, etc.) to automatically go out at specific times throughout the week. There are a number of tools for helping you do this if you are not using a platform such as SproutSocial or HootSuite. I always found time.ly to be simple and easy to use. By scheduling your promotions, you free up your daily time to respond and engage.
Take it mobile – Smartphones are wonderful things, and they allow you to call up your accounts just about anywhere. So use that 20 minutes you are waiting at the doctor’s office to reply to a few tweets! Snap a photo at the conference you’re at and upload it to Facebook, Google+ or Twitter. Set your accounts to notify you on your phone when you receive a direct message, so that you can shoot off a quick response in a timely manner!
Note: Depending on the traffic to your sites, you may need to adjust the notification alerts on your phone depending on your promotions, plan for responding to feedback, etc. If you are aggressively promoting your Twitter page, you may not want to get a cell phone alert about a new follower every 2 minutes!
You DO have timeSocial media does take a time investment. But if it means reaching new customers, connecting with current clients, engaging with industry peers and promoting your brand – isn’t an hour a day worth it? Other ResourcesWORTH READING > Amber Naslund wrote an excellent series of articles and ebook on Social Media Time Management.