Who has time for social media?

Social media is a really big, sometimes scary, proposition for a lot of businesses that don’t have the budget of a Coca-Cola or Target. If you can’t afford to hire a big agency, how are you ever going to find time to do social media along with all of the other tasks you have going on? You can make the time with a little focus and planning.

1. Figure out where your audience is. To be successful at social media, you have to have a realistic plan. So, it’s important to pick the best places to spend your limited time. Figure out the demographics of your customers and prospects and where they spend time online. You can ask them in person if you have a brick-and-mortar business or through an enewsletter poll. You can also find statistics for various channels in secondary research, like this report from the Pew Center.

If your customers and prospects don’t spend time on a certain channel, then don’t use it. It would be like advertising car supplies in a home decorating magazine. Once you have the list of places your prospects and customers go, make a short list of the top 3 or 4 you want to focus on. Again, make the list realistic. Maybe you start with only 1 channel, and that’s OK.

2. Make a content plan. Before you ever commit to social media, start making a content plan for one of the potential choices. Understand how that platform is used, and then plan out content for the next month to see what you could do. For example, if Facebook was one of your choices, many people post about twice per day. (See below for more information.) What kind of content could you find to post twice per day for 30 days? The best content is the content in which your audience is interested, not just thoughts about your business. For content, think about the questions you get from current customers, tips that could help them, and industry events they would find interesting. Can you plan enough content for a month? You’ll be generating content like this every month once you start.

3. Make a schedule. Did you know that there are some times of the day better than other to post to certain social media channels? The infographic below by KISSMetrics, posted on Socialtimes.com shares research about the best times per day to share on various channels. Use this data to figure out when would be the best times to post for your top channels.

As a next step, figure out how many times per day you might need to post. For example, according to this study by Socialmediatoday.com, if  you are on Twitter, you should post relevant and interesting content at least 2 to 5 times per day for maximum impact. Looking at Facebook? Maybe start with 2 or 3 relevant and interesting posts per day and see the response, and check the metrics. This article from tracksocial.com has more information.

Once you have this information, start planning a schedule of when you would post each day. Block out that time on your schedule, even before you start posting for real. Treat it like a standing appointment that can’t be overbooked.

This is just a starting point, but it’s an important one. Try doing these activities for a couple of weeks before you go live, from content research to scheduling time to writing the actual posts you would use. It’s a great trial run to see what actually committing to adding social media to your day would be like.

Infographic by KISSmetrics posted on socialtimes.com

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