Businesses of all sizes want to find a way to streamline the effort they put into social media. Why? There’s one simple reason. Regardless of your level of success, cutting costs through more effective time management is always a winning concept.
I have worked with major corporations that move the brunt of their social media efforts to part time teams or an army of inexperienced interns. Similarly, I have worked with a variety of small businesses and startups that find themselves needing to impress a mix of potential customers and interested investors without dedicating tens of thousands of dollars to social media that some of these larger corporations have at their discretion. However, the answer to pinching pennies doesn’t always have to be at the cost of quality.
Have you ever heard someone say, “In order to be in business you have to spend some money first?” Well, here’s a similar concept for you. In order to save money, you have to spend money. Likewise, in order to save time, you need to spend some time.
Here are some tried and true concepts that will help you streamline the time and money you put towards your social media campaigns.
Spend More Money
Wait, what? Isn’t this post about saving time and money? Yes, it is. However, in order to save your money, you’re going to have to be willing to spend it.
Let’s do some math. As the owner of a small business you want to hire your best friend’s niece to do your social media because she seems to be pretty active on Facebook. She’s practically family and you think she can do the job, so you pay her a reasonable $10/hour with a dedication to no more than 20 hours per week. You just dedicated to spending $200/week on someone who likely only has the skills to post to one or two social media platforms in a way that appeals to their peers.
Now, I want you to imagine another scenario.
In this scenario, you find an experienced professional with a proven track record in social media management and social pay per click (PPC). This person charges $30/hour. While the number may make you cringe at the idea that this could cost you $600 each week, step back for a moment and take a deep breath.
Note that, an experienced professional will never need 20 hours per week just for posting to your social media profiles (unless, of course, part of your business is to run dozens of different social sites for your own clients). An apt social media professional will be able to quickly schedule posts about your business in addition to working in some effective calls to action boosted by a social media PPC campaign. These types of posts will drive more traffic to your storefront – whether your business exists online or around the corner.
Now that you have the right kind of professional working on your social media, see what he or she can do with only five hours a week dedicated to posting and social PPC. Allow them at least a $100 monthly budget for social advertising. While this combo won’t always prove to be enough, it is sufficient enough to see just what your new hire can do for you!
Similarly, you want to be present on any social media platform that makes sense for your business personality, demographic, and overall needs. That being said, you don’t want to start off opening up pages for Facebook, Google, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, YouTube, Snapchat, etc. when the majority of your customers are active on only a portion of these sites. Learn where your demographic exists online and what works best in reaching out to these potential customers.
Don’t Copy From Your Neighbor
Growing up, your teacher would slap a big F on your paper for copying off your neighbor. Life isn’t very different. Don’t try to copy what you think your competitors are doing well. At least, don’t try to copy too closely.
Benchmarking is a necessity for improving all types of business. This includes you and the skills you need to have an effective online presence. You do want to learn from your competitors. In fact, you’ll want to learn from all your favorite social media profiles regardless of how they relate to the type of business you run. However, I want you to consider more than just their social media posts.
Find a similar business to yours or scope out your favorite company across all social platforms – Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Ask yourself these questions:
- How often do they post to each social profile?
- How are these posts different or the same from each other?
- Which posts receive the most engagement? Why do you think that is the case?
As you poke around social media land, you’ll start to see patterns of what makes for a good social media presence and what will define you as middle-of-the-road quality.
Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself
If you’re searching for helpful, timesaving social media tools, you’ll find a lot of advice about scheduling your social media posts. This is great advice, but I’m going to give you something new to read by adding to this advice.
Don’t schedule all of your posts all of the time.
The most engaging posts are usually the most human. While many individuals and companies will try to schedule posts with a more relaxed, human tone, your users can tell when you’re posting because you need to versus posting when you want to.
Consider this concept similar to the tried and true advice that sales persons should always smile on the phone. While a sales person is not always seen face-to-face, their smile is easily detected in conversation just like your genuine personality (aka the way your business smiles) is easily seen between the lines of your social media posts.
Give it a try! Drop in on your social profiles at least once a week to post something in real-time. Bring up current happenings in the office. Share a breaking news article. Show off your employees. When you do schedule, don’t schedule out more than two weeks in advance. Things change. Content changes. Leave room for these real-time interactions.
Collaboration is to interaction as interaction is to that source of human engagement we talked about above. If you do a little eavesdropping on highly engaging posts from pages that interact often, you’ll notice that more than one person dives in to answer pressing questions.
As your company grows, you’ll want to diversify how you reach out to potential customers both in your web content and your social media content. On your website, you may choose to start including guest bloggers or regular articles from various professionals within your business. With your social media content, you’ll want to do something similar. Just as some of your demographic prefers one social media site over another, your social followers may prefer the way one employee portrays your brand’s voice and personality over another.
More than one person in the company should be trained in how to use your social media tools to interact with users under your company name. That way, your social media interactions exists regardless of sick days or employment changes. If you’re receiving a lot of engagement on posts and have more than one person interacting, sign off (i.e. Thanks for your question! – Caz Bevan, Communications Manager) on each of your interactions to have a better understanding of who has interacted with the user. Likewise, the user can refer to that person by name for any further questions. When multiple people interact as the company, signing off on the post is just one more human element to help promote who you are as a company.
Don’t want to give too much access to your social media tools? Have your employees interact and answer questions from their own personal Facebook account. If you want a particular group of managers or marketing professionals from your company to interact personally, ask them to update their Facebook profile with their current position within the company. Even if no information on the profile is listed as public, be sure the employee allows the work and education portion of their profile to remain public. That way, “Marketing Manager at Boostability,” for example, will be visible to anyone they interact with.
Another great way to collaborate is to include posts from different departments – highlighting who you are as a company and how you work. Ask your social media manager to reach out to various departments and executives for a quick note followed up with a photo. A great example of this would be, “Hired 32 new employees today! Excited to watch our team grow.” Combine this post with a photo of the new hires, new hire training, or your valuable HR department employees.
Collaborating with more behind-the-scenes posts will personify your brand with even more of that human touch.
Keep It Simple
The start of any social advice is to be organized! We’ve all grown up hearing, “No news is good news,” and sometimes, that works into your social media strategy as well. If you’re not receiving high levels of engagement or collaboration from team members, post less frequently. Focus on your message. Brainstorm how to include more of the human elements we’ve discussed above.
Try a new strategy to help promote more social engagement and drive more traffic to your business. Need some great ideas? Boostability offers a social media package that will help you revamp your social media strategy with a variety of posting examples and daily messages you can use to promote your company online. Find out more by visiting www.BoostSocial.com.
Have a question? Let us know in the comments below! Something to share? Tell us about your favorite social media time saving tools.