But social media can be confusing, intimidating and a black hole that swallows up big chunks of your day. Developing a plan and a schedule to handle the job will make your efforts more productive and free up hours of time in of your work week.
The Basics: Before you start with scheduling updates, you need to decide which social media to concentrate on for your small business. The two that most small businesses consider essentials are Facebook and Twitter.
But don’t stop there. Get control and develop a routine for them, then experiment with one or two others. Grow the number slowly, working your way up to three to fives social media outlets. If you try for more than that, you will scatter your efforts too far, making less effective use of your time.
Do some research to find out which other platforms attract your target audience and have features that will let your products and services shine. Consider Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.
Managing Your Time: As a small business owner, you are an expert at the services you provide and the products you sell. You probably aren’t a professional writer or marketer. But it is natural to aim for the best possible posts, tweets, videos and images for your social media accounts.
This leads to a bad case of perfectionism. It can slow you down, or even bring you to a complete stop, as your try to polish each post. Give up the idea of perfect and go for good enough.
Get into a rhythm with your posts. It is better to consistently to add one or two posts five days a week than to post ten or twenty once every two weeks.
A common concern is the fact that social media is a giant sinkhole of time for both visitors and posters. Protect yourself by setting a time limit for your daily social media efforts.
Each day, you use part of your time budget for browsing and answering posts, scheduling more and monitoring their effectiveness. Check the 18-minute sample plan outlined by social media veteran Hootsuite.
A typical plan might include:
Best Apps: You can write your posts and then post them each day, one by one. Or you can make use of the many apps available, both paid and free, to pre-schedule your content across a range of platforms a week or more in advance.This provides several advantages:
Here is a look at five excellent apps:
Hootsuite: This popular management tool helps you coordinate your posts over a range of platforms like Facebook and Twitter. It lets you schedule posts, track conversations and check your statistics. It has three levels of membership, free, pro and enterprise.
Buffer: This flexible app lets you queue up your content for a range of platforms. It will post them at a variety of times, which you pre-select, throughout the day and week. It has both free and paid plans.
IFTTT: This powerful tool is actually made to automate all types of internet actions, from finding job leads to posting on social media. It is entirely free, and can be used to enhance the effectiveness of both Hootsuite and Buffer.
TweetDeck: This is the most popular Twitter-focused app for scheduling your tweets and monitoring their effectiveness. It lets you apply filters to better manage your Twitter feeds. It offers a free and a paid version.
You can make the best us of your time and effort with social media by creating a plan, staying consistent and aiming for useful, but not perfect, posts. Using one or more of the many social media scheduling apps can help you stay on top of your content and reduce the time spent posting.