Many of my clients are either small business owners or managers of small departments. Inevitably, the topic of social media comes up, usually in the form of them asking a question like, “I’m on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook but I don’t have time to keep posting all day long. Any ideas? Oh, and I have no budget.”
Although I don’t consider myself a social media specialist, I have found a way to keep things current and active, and to do so in about 20 minutes a day. For those of you looking to get started in a regular rhythm of utilizing social media, I hope these steps prove helpful. I have reviewed this approach with a few social media experts, and they have all affirmed it. (Note: these steps assume that you have created accounts and profiles in the major social networks that make sense for your market and audience).
The goal with Social Networking is to become “known” to your audience. It certainly can be a lead generator, but its real power is in allowing you to establish yourself as an expert, resource or thought leader. Therefore, the majority of posts should contain information that helps your audience. Creating and finding audience centric content will allow you to this.
So, how does one create or find this content? There are two simple places to start:
Your blog: Yes, if you want to establish your company, you’ll have to blog. If you are not currently blogging, a post every 7-10 days with timely, relevant content should suffice. Blog posts don’t need to be long…sometimes 2-3 paragraphs will be enough. The blog is a place where people can come regularly for timely, relevant information. It serves as a “home base” to which you can point people. You may be thinking, “I don’t have time to maintain a blog”. Let me challenge you on this. Most anyone can write three 500-700 word posts per month. This should take 2-3 hours tops.
Other content: You can supplement your own content with articles, blog posts, etc. that others write for your audience. One of the best ways to find these is via Google Alerts. (www.google.com/alerts). Using key words, Google Alerts searches the web and sends you an email link to news stories, blogs, videos and discussions on topics that interest you and your audience.
Between your blog and other content, you should have more than enough to post regularly to your social networks.
An Essential Tool
In addition to Google Alerts, there’s one other tool that will let you keep current on social media in just 20 minutes a day: Bufferapp (bufferapp.com). Bufferapp helps you manage multiple social media accounts at once. You can pre-schedule content from anywhere on the web, get suggestions on content, and even analyze how your posts perform. It’s a MUST for those with limited resources.
The Daily Process
The following process will take you 20-30 minutes each day, depending how much content you review and how often you want to post each day. I suggest you begin each day with this process.
Collect your content
First, go through your email, delete all the Google Alerts that don’t have relevance, keep those you want to share. Then, review your own Twitter and LinkedIn feeds. Note which articles/posts you want to share. Finally, go to sites that you visit regularly; pull useful content for your audience.
Schedule your posts in Bufferapp
Once you find a relevant piece of content, post it by using Bufferapp to schedule it. Remember to craft a headline, shorten the URL for the content (Bufferapp will shorten it automatically for you), ascribe any credit for the article or quote (for example, “Stupid is as stupid does” via @forestgump) and add a hashtag if applicable (for example, #socialmedia).
Throughout the day, you will most likely have experiences, ideas or perhaps even original content that you want to share. Share as much of it as you feel appropriate. Just follow this one simple rule: Keep it timely and relevant to your audience. No one cares that “I ate lunch today at Panera”, but they may be interested in knowing about a “new audit process that uncovered $20 Million in sales potential for a manufacturing company”. With Bufferapp, you can post to any of your networks at any time.
If you are not doing anything with social media, then taking these steps and making them a habit will increase awareness among your audience. Make this a habit for 60-90 days, then analyze and make adjustments. I’m certain you’ll be happy with the results.