As I professional marketer who specialises in social media, I’ve been to a lot of conferences and seminars on social media. Almost without fail, someone at some point will describe social media as a “free” way to promote your business.
Sure, you can set up a profile for your organisation for free but can you really have a significant and profitable presence on with your audiences without any investment?
Social media isn’t free because your time isn’t free. Have you asked yourself these questions? Are you making the most of your time? If you weren’t online posting on Facebook, what else could you be doing? Are you stretching yourself too thin? Would you be better off focusing on your core business? Do you find yourself disappearing down a social media rabbit hole every time you go to check your feed?
Don’t worry; there are lots things you can do to make sure you are making the best use of your time – here’s a few tips:
Be clear what you want
Many people fall into the trap of thinking their business needs to have a presence everywhere and spend a lot of time jumping on the next new thing or new platform. If you are clear what you want to achieve, you can really focus your activities and make sure that you do fewer things but do them well.
Know who you want
Are you really clear who you want to talk with through social media? Are they your current customers, press, possible customers, potential funders or partners? Are they local? Are they old or young? What work do they do? What do they do in their spare time? What are they interested in? Do they read newspapers or magazine, if so, what? What social media platforms are they using?
If you take a little time really getting under the skin of your audiences, you can make sure you don’t waste time later by focusing your efforts talking to the right people, on the channels they use about things that interest them. The time you invest in social media will be much more effective.
Use the tools
There are plenty of tools available to help you manage your time and activities efficiently, and many of them are free.
If you are like me and find it hard to stay focused when you pop on to social media and find yourself distracted by interesting threads then you might benefit from setting aside an hour or so a week to schedule your posts in advance. If you do this then you only need check in briefly twice a day to respond to engage with your followers and on other accounts. Tools such as Buffer, Hootsuite, Edgar and Tweetdeck help you organise your social media in advance so you don’t have to remember to do it all week.
Or if you can’t dedicate the time or don’t feel confident you have the skills to manage this, consider outsourcing your social media. An agency or freelancer will have the knowledge and experience to help you develop a targeted social media strategy and can even manage all elements of your social media. When your accounts are in expert hands, you can concentrate on your core activities.