At the SBDC we are always talking to clients about how to better market their product or service. Many folks don’t realize the Small Business Development Centers actually help businesses grow. We do more than just work through business planning with start-ups. Social media can be an effective way to reach customers and we hear a lot about how clients plan to rely heavily if no solely on social media for marketing. Please understand that even though it may appear to be free, social media carries a heavy cost in time and resources.
In order to do social media correctly, you must understand that posting is less about the selling and more about creating relevant content that places you in the position of “expert” when your client is ready to buy.
So how do you balance the low-cost, usefulness of social media with the time required for quality content generation? Work smarter, not harder. You need a strategy. Not all social media platforms are created equally and each one has different purpose and value.
The average lifespan of a Facebook post has been estimated at under 2 hours. That means it takes less than 120 minutes for your well crafted, brilliantly planned Facebook post to run it’s cycle and be tossed into the deep dark hole of archived internet drivel. For this reason, professionals in the field suggest a minimum of three posts per day to have meaning on Facebook. Twitter is even worse with tweet lifespans of mere minutes which result in recommended postings of five to nine times per day. That is a lot of “free” time you will be putting into social media to do it right.
Sharing content from others (reposting, liking, retweeting etc.) can help with frequency but instead of spending time writing well crafted targeted content, you are using your time to read and curate others’ content. Reading is good but you might actually spend more time with this method than creating your own content.
Don’t forget that with every good post there needs to be an equally good, if not better, graphic attention grabber. Pictures, graphic text, infographics and other eye catchers are a must if you hope to get your audience to pause on your post. These also take time to create.
So, we’ve taken a few minutes to pull together a list of tools to help reduce your time in social media land. Here are a few tools that come highly recommended:
- Hootsuite – Social media content manager, monitor and scheduler
- WordSwag – Add words to photos (mobile app)
- Overgram – Jazz up your Instagram pics (mobile app)
- Canva – Create eye-catching graphics for posts
- PowerPoint – A dinosaur yes, but create slides and save them as .jpg files
- PicMonkey – Online photo editor
- Pablo – Photo editor and text overlay
- Pixlr – Add creative effects to your photos
- Feedly – Currate relevant content for use in your posts
- Flipboard – A magazine style curration tool
- Buffer – Content creation and scheduling tool
- Pocket – If you’ve ever tried Evernote, this is very similar (mobile app)
Try out a few of these tools and work smarter, not harder on your social media marketing and remember, it’s not about the sale, it’s about establishing rapport and becoming the expert in your field.