Chances are, you’re either not utilizing Social Media enough for your small business, or you’re spending way too much time on it. You can however, manage all your social media accounts in just one hour per day. Keep reading to find out how.
When you have enough on your plate just running your business and a few employees if any, finding time to conquer Social Media seems impossible.
However, it’s just too important for your business to let it slide. With the right tools, you can give your business the Social Media presence it needs, in just one hour a day.
Social Media Management
Is your business connected to all the social networks available? If not, it should be! These networks are a gold mine when it comes to gaining referrals and new customers — but don’t worry!
You don’t have to spend all your time on social media. That is what a management system is for.
Social Media Management Systems (SMMS) have become as necessary as any business software you use day-to-day, and the amount of time it saves is almost immeasurable.
Instead of signing on to Twitter, then Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ , and posting on each individually, you can streamline the process by auto-posting on all of your profiles at once, scheduling posts, and managing follower engagement.
Some SMMS also offer valuable analytics to help you see what works for your business and what doesn’t. So how do you choose a SMMS for your business? Which one is the perfect fit for you?
Most Popular Social Media Management Systems
- Hootsuite: With over 10 Million users, Hootsuite is the most well-known SMMS, and it’s both reliable and efficient, though it may take some time to get the hang of it. The free version has enough features to keep a small business’ social network running smoothly.
- Buffer: Comparable to Hootsuite if you only need the scheduling and automated posting features, but generally easier to use; if time spent learning a new tool is an issue, it’s a good choice. The trade-off for ease of use is fewer features. The free version allows up to three profiles (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn), and you can only schedule 10 posts at a time.
- Sprout Social: Great analytics, ease of use, and accessible customer service make Sprout Social a top choice, but it’s costly for small businesses that don’t have a large number of profiles, since it has a moderate monthly fee.
- Socialoomph: Not as slick-looking as the others and only offering Twitter compatibility in its free version, Socialoomph has some nice features, including a time-saving auto-responder that sets it apart, as well as retweet notifications. You’ll have to upgrade to add Facebook, LinkedIn, Plurk, and App.net, for a moderately low monthly fee.
- TweetDeck: Twitter’s own TweetDeck is always free, and offers many of the basic features offered by the others, with limitations. While you can use it to auto post to Facebook and LinkedIn as well as Twitter, if you have pages on other sites such as WordPress or Foursquare, you’re better off using an SMMS like Hootsuite. The lack of analytics is a drawback for businesses, too. But there’s no risk to try it out.
- TweetCaster: If you do all of your social media updating via smartphone, this free app will post to both Twitter and Facebook, and offers a tweet-blocking feature. Most SMMS tools offer smartphone access, but if you want something very basic that doesn’t cost anything, it’s good for out quick updates on the go.
What Should I Post on My Social Networks?
If you’re spending an hour just looking for something interesting to post, you’re not utilizing Social Media effectively. Have a clear vision of the types of posts that will most appeal to your followers.
For example, if you have a fitness or health food shop, share articles on healthy living; if you repair computers, share tech news.
But where do you find the information to share? Search engines are the obvious choice, but if you’re having hours sucked away searching for content, it’s time to streamline things with a content discovery tool.
4 Content Discovery Tools That Will Help You Find Something Interesting to Post
The most popular RSS reader, with over 15 million users, Feedly allows you to save and easily access all of your favorite blogs to save time searching, and to quickly view new content.
Content can be shared on Twitter and Facebook directly, but you can also integrate it with Hootsuite using the Zapier app, for maximum time saving. Feedly is free, but for a small monthly fee, you can search articles and have one-click integration with organization tools Pocket and Evernote.
Don’t have your own self-curated list of go-to websites? Zootrock does the curating for you — simply enter your subject of choice, select from relevant results, and let it auto post for you. It’s easy to use and, while it’s more expensive than an SMMS alone, the extra features may be worth it for you. A mid-range fee per month for one profile, with the option to add-on up to eight.
This curation tool is a bit more limited than Zootrock, with Twitter and Facebook as the only sharing options. With its free “Researcher” plan, you can find content to curate, though you’ll have to upgrade to “publish content to your social media profiles” for a moderate monthly fee.
Inspirational quotes are some of the most re-tweeted and shared content, and they make people feel good — which can help make them feel good about your business. Find sharable quotes for free on this site, for simple text posts that can spread far and wide.
Original Tweets and Facebook posts shouldn’t take much more time that posting links or quotes, if you think of social media as a way to hold conversations with your followers that are relevant to your business. What’s happening today?
Even if the answer is “nothing much,” you can throw out a question, such as — “What’s your favorite (something related to your business?”) — or hype up something that will be happening soon, whether it’s an event, new stock, or a sale. And when you do have a sale or promotion, don’t be shy about it. Your followers want to know about them.
Get the most out of your networks
Having a hard time making a splash in social media, and find yourself spending lots of time searching for people to follow in the hopes they’ll follow you back? There are time-saving tools that can help with that, too.
#1 ManageFlitter: This tool simplifies Twitter, helping you find similar accounts to follow and engage with, while keeping your account clean by regularly un-following accounts that don’t follow you, are dormant, or are spam accounts. Other features include analytics and remote account access. Free for a limited plan.
#2 Tweepi: A sort of “lite” version of ManageFlitter, Tweepi clears out unwanted twitter followers and helps keep your account organized with a few clicks. The free version is all many small businesses will need.<
#3 Qwaya: A very helpful tool for small businesses on Facebook, Qwaya helps you create, organize and schedule Facebook Ad campaigns, with plenty of analytics to help you see what works. This tool is on the expensive side per month, cost of Facebook ads not included — but if you’re serious about advertising on Facebook, it’s worth looking into.
Finding the right tool (or combination of tools) can help you reduce the amount of time you spend on social media every day to just an hour — with better results than high-maintenance, high stress manual methods.
We regularly use Hootsuite, Buffer, ManageFlitter and Feedly for various tasks and have found them to be great time savers.
What have your experiences been like with these (and similar) tools?
Share your recommendations in the comment section.
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