Up until recently, I wasn’t even thinking about social media marketing for my business. Now, I know what you’re thinking: But you’re a social media marketer—it’s what you… do.
That’s true. But, I’m also a time-crunched business owner whose clients’ needs come well before those of own my business. However, in a recent conversation, someone said to me, “Why don’t you use your marketing expertise to grow your business?” What a novel idea! That’s when I knew it was time to start taking my social media more seriously.
I didn’t start by creating an extensive strategy or plan. I didn’t start by dedicating two hours each day to social media. What I did do was find sustainable, efficient methods for making time for this aspect of my business.
The best part is I’ve already seen progress! Let’s look at Twitter, where much of my efforts go. In less than 10 days of using the suggestions I’m sharing in this blog post, I’ve had:
- 5 mentions from businesses, brands and other users
- Engagement on 95% of my tweets
- 10 new followers
While these are all vanity metrics (not tied to traffic or ROI), and they’re very small, they’re encouraging nonetheless. This is a reminder that we all have to start somewhere—even those of us who are experts in the field. Growing a social media following, and turning it into an awesome tool for your business, won’t happen overnight, or even in 10 days (without paying for it).
If you’re ready to put in a little extra work and take the first step, you’re in the right place. Here’s how I make time for social media marketing every day, and how you can do the same.
P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: @JThiefels!
I Focus On My Piece of the Pie
It’s easy to get discouraged when you see businesses with a massive following and tons of followers—and I feel that way a lot too. The content marketing space is owned by a small handful of large brands that I’ll never be able to compete with. But that doesn’t mean we can’t all own our piece of the pie. This is a piece of advice I got from a career coach a few years back and it really resonated with me.
There will always be another person, business, or brand that’s bigger, better and more profitable than you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be an awesome resource for your audience. That doesn’t mean you can’t connect with potential customers, building relationships that may be profitable for years to come. Those other businesses don’t dictate your success. If you only have 100 followers, but they all engage with your Tweets, you’re far better off than someone with 5K followers that gets no engagement at all.
Don’t let their success take away from the endless possibilities ahead of you. Especially when it comes to social media marketing, which is far from an indication of how well their business is doing.
I Have a Plan
You don’t need to have an extensive social media strategy to be posting regularly and engaging with potential clients and customers. You do, however, need a basic foundation for your efforts and a simple social media marketing plan does that. It gives you the framework for knowing what you’re doing with social media, what to share, and where to put your focus.
That’s why you need a plan. To create a simple framework, ask yourself two basic questions:
- What do I hope to get from social media?
- What sites do I want to focus on? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn?
From here, you can determine what you need to share, based on your goals and the audience on those social media channels.
What should your goals be? What do I mean by “based on the audience of those social media channels”? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, lean on me for a little guidance. Head to my Social Media Coaching page to learn about my 3-hour and 5-hour coaching sessions and how they can help you.
I Keep my Focus Narrow
There’s not enough time in the day to be present on every social media platform—especially if you’re doing all the social media marketing by yourself. Quite frankly, as a social media coach and consultant, I can tell you: it’s also not necessary. Many small businesses make the mistake of trying to be “omnipresent” when really they’re just falling short on every platform, as opposed to excelling on one or two.
This is why I’m only present on two social media platforms and one networking platform right now:
These are the sites where I know I can drive most value for my efforts. There’s a huge marketing audience on Twitter and LinkedIn is a great way for me to continually build my brand and get in front of potential clients (business owners and entrepreneurs like you). Choosing which sites you want to focus on will come back to those goals you set. Which platforms will help you reach your goals most effectively?
I’m Always Looking for Things to Share
One of the biggest concerns I hear from business owners is, “I don’t know what to share!” A basic social media plan will be your first step forward. This will answer that question. Next is answering the, “How do I find things to share?” question.
That’s where a running list of links comes in handy. If you love your work and your industry, you’re likely reading about it all the time. I’m sure you get email newsletters, see articles on LinkedIn, and maybe even find some interesting stuff on Facebook. As you read these articles, reports and updates, put them into a list.
Then, when it’s time to schedule your content, you have a long list of articles to choose from.
I love doing this because it also makes my posts more authentic. To make your tweets authentic too, include a note about what your liked, a line that stood out to you, or how it ties back to your business and what you can offer. When you go to schedule it, the post has more personality. Rather than simply tweeting the title, you’re putting your spin on it. This makes the post much more valuable, allowing you to show your expertise and passion.
I Schedule in Bulk
The only way to make social media marketing manageable for a small business owner is to schedule everything ahead of time. It’s impossible to keep up with posting on just one platform every single day, much less more than that.
Yet this consistency is also key, and if you’re taking time to share on social media, you might as well do it right by posting every day. To make this possible, I use Hootsuite, but you can use Buffer or any number of other free social media tools available.
I add “Social media scheduling” to my to-do list, like every other task I have (more about this below!), along with a timeframe for getting it done, and do it when my queue is empty. Each day, all you have to focus on is engaging, which you’ll do in the morning, and then throughout the day if you think of it.
I Set Aside 15 Minutes Every Morning
Engagement is one of the hardest things to keep up with. As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you have dozens of other things on your plate. Your own social media—especially when it’s not driving leads or any tangible value—falls straight to the bottom of your to-do list.
That’s why I started adding it to my list every morning as another task, just like checking my email or responding to a lead.
The key, however, isn’t just adding it to your to-do list. You’ll notice I also have a timeframe set. It’s easy to get lost in the social media black hole, and quickly lose 30 minutes of your day. With a timeframe set for the work, I know exactly how much time I have to spend.
If you still struggle to stay within that limit, use a tool like Harvest (I LOVE this time-tracking tool!) to keep you accountable. Simply start the timer when you’re ready and go until your time is up.
I Have Social on My Phone
We all have Facebook on our phones, and probably even Instagram. But, do you have Twitter or LinkedIn on your phone too? If you don’t those platforms regularly, you may not, but this is extremely helpful for small business owners. While you don’t need to be engaging all day, this allows you to respond quickly from your phone, while in line at the grocery store or waiting to meet with a client. It’s an easy way to stay engaged without taking nearly any time from your day.
I look at this the same way I look at keeping my house clean. When you’re regularly picking things up here and there, you don’t end up with a 2-hour cleaning headache at the end of the week. When you check your social profiles regularly—or respond in the moment—you have less to do later. You also look responsive and interested, which is important if potential customers and clients are engaging with you.
I Ask for Mentions
My mom taught me many important lessons. One of them was: “No one can read your mind, so you have to say what you want and be your own advocate.” This is as true with social media marketing as it is in life, which is why I ask for mentions when I can. There are plenty of opportunities to do this, both in person and online. Here are a few examples:
- When a customer tells you they’re really happy with a product or service. Your response: We’re so happy to hear that! We’d love if you mentioned us on social media!
- When someone includes you as a source in a blog post. Your response: Thanks so much, please be sure to tag us when you share it and we’ll do the same!
- When ending a conversation with a lead that’s no longer interested. Your response: We hope to work with you soon. Don’t hesitate to reach out on social media; just tag us!
- You got the approval to be a vendor at a local event. Your response: Thanks, we’re so excited to participate! We’ll be tagging you on social media and we hope you do the same for us!
Not only does this give you some social media traction, but the engagements are authentic. Though you’re asking for the mentions, it’s up to that person to craft the tweet, and they’re likely speaking genuinely about you, your business or your brand.
I Take the Pressure Off
We put so much pressure on ourselves to drive revenue from every possible angle, including social media. While it’s not impossible to do that with organic social media management, it’s not going to happen right away. If you have a small following and are trying to build your presence, it will take time.
Yet, if you continually put that pressure on yourself, you may find you’re stuck in analysis paralysis. Instead of simply doing the work of posting, you’re overthinking it all. Will this drive leads? Is this even worth it? If I’m not linking to my website, I’m screwing up!
None of that is true, which is why releasing some of the pressure is important. Not to mention, there are a few other steps you should take before you’re actively trying to drive leads to your website. Want to know what those are? Get in touch with me!
Social Media Marketing IS Possible
I get it. As a small business owner, I’m always putting my business last. Yet, if you want to grow, at some point, you have to start making your business as important as the work for you do for your clients. This piece of your organic marketing is important for your business, providing you with an outlet to connect with potential customers, show your value, and position yourself as an expert within the field. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by—use my tips to make social media marketing a reality for your business.
Better yet, let me help you.
Let me know how I can assist with your social media marketing!