No time for social media? Try these 7 tips to maximize your efforts.
The main challenge with social media is that it is always on, even when you are not. Customers expect to have timely access to your company and be able to interact with you on their time, not necessarily during business hours. Many businesses choose not to use social media for these reasons, but they are leaving a lot on the table by doing so.
Social media allows a business to show a more personal, sometimes casual, side. It can give people a glance into what the business is working on, who the people are behind the brand, access to new promotions, and can provide an opportunity for sharing teachable content. As a business owner, social media allows you to control the narrative and connect with your customers in a more casual setting. Done well, social media can create great value for a business by showing customers that you are the expert in your field and can be trusted.
Customers want a chance to peek behind the veil – see what the business is doing, and what they care about. If your business chooses not to utilize social media, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with customers and create community around your brand. When social media is done well, it can humanize your business and create a bond with your customers.
The big question is: as a busy business owner, how do you carve out time to be active on social media? Below are some tips and tricks that any business owner can utilize to make their social media experience less daunting and more fun:
1. Choose your channels wisely
Think about where your customers are when choosing your social media channels. Facebook has the most world-wide users, while Instagram appeals to a younger audience. Twitter can be a great platform for customer service and engagement, and LinkedIn is essential if you have a B2B business. If you have a business that has a very visual product, Pinterest can be a great option to showcase your products or services. Other platforms like TikTok and Snapchat are used by a younger demographic.
Think about who your ideal customers are and join the social media channels they are most likely on. Start with one or two and devote your time to being present and active on those channels. From there, work on creating the type of content your customers can’t get anywhere else.
2. Create a Social Media Policy
Your social media policy acts as your online code of conduct. It sets the tone for how your brand will communicate through social media. For example, will you be funny, professional or helpful? A well-written social media policy is straight forward and easy for anyone to understand.
Share your social media policy with your team so that anyone can post on social media and be able to represent the brand consistently. Make sure to include procedures for addressing negative or inappropriate content as well as guidelines for responding to customer feedback. Decide how your brand will monitor comments and on what grounds any will be removed.
Finally, consider having an on-call social media person and rotate the duties with your team. That way if someone decides to post a negative or inappropriate comment on your channel, you can address it quickly rather than waiting until the next business day and risk people forming a negative opinion of your company during that time. As silly as it sounds, sometimes there are social media crises that need to be resolved in a timely manner.
3. Create a Content Strategy
Creating a content strategy can lessen the burden of running a social media account significantly. Decide how many days a week you want to post, what content you want to post about, and share the plan with your team so everyone is on board. We recommend creating a social media document that everyone has access to. Encourage your staff to add ideas to the document of what they think would make great content. Ask them to include a caption and a photo, so that whoever is posting on the account can simply grab the details and post it.
Think about the types of content you want to routinely share and consider allocating that to a specific day of the week with a fun hashtag. For example, a renovation company could use a #TransformationTuesday to showcase some of their before and after projects. Or a hair salon could post styling tutorials once a week and call it #TuesdayTips. The options are endless and only require a bit of creativity to figure out the best way to share your content on your social media channels.
4. Use the resources available to produce content
There are numerous services that offer social media post scheduling. We like to use Hootsuite as they offer a basic free version that allows you to schedule social media posts for up to 3 different accounts. By using a scheduler, you can carve out an appropriate window every week or even every month, to create all your social content ahead of time. You simply schedule it and then forget about it (although be wary; real-world events can affect a post and make it appear distasteful when that was not the intention). That way when you are at your busiest, your social accounts are still active and sharing valuable content with your followers. The paid version of Hootsuite has many awesome features, like insights on the best time of day to post to reach the most followers, unlimited scheduled posts, and allow users to schedule for more than 3 social accounts.
Another great resource we love is Canva. Canva is an amazing tool that allows anyone to come up with beautiful designs for their social media posts. They have a ton of free features but we personally love the paid version as you can save your brand colours, resize your designs with the click of a button, and have access to a ton of free stock images. Canva allows businesses to come up with a visual aesthetic for their social media that allows for consistent branding on all posts. We highly recommend anyone who has a social media channel, to check out Canva and take advantage of the thousands of templates available to polish your brand.
5. Carve out time to interact
Even though you can schedule your posts ahead of time, it’s still so important to interact with comments, shares and engagement on your posts. Not only is it important to be present on your own channels, but social media is… social. It’s a two-way conversation that does not end once you post your content.
You can build a community around your brand by interacting with other businesses and accounts by commenting on their content. Try and find a few moments during your day to like a few photos, leave some comments, and create some engagement on the platforms your business is on.
6. Have fun!
Okay, this isn’t necessarily helpful, but social media is an informal channel. If you try too hard, you risk coming across stiff, and that defeats the purpose. The best social media channels have fun with the medium. Stretch your creative muscles to come up with fun ways of sharing information and giving your audience an inside look at your business. By creating a positive social brand, you add credibility to your business and provide people with a source of familiarity with your company and the people behind it. That way when they are ready to purchase your product or enlist your service, they may feel like they already know you and find it much easier to support your company.
7. Consider outsourcing your social media needs
You can follow all the steps above but at the end of the day, if you don’t have the time or interest to invest in an active social media presence, you can always outsource this to a professional. Outsourcing your social media can be as simple as hiring someone to write posts for your account or handing the reigns over entirely and hiring a professional to post, engage, and respond to comments on your behalf.
At Unicycle Digital, we offer digital marketing services to help businesses put their best brand forward. We can create your social media policy and content strategy so that your team is confident taking on the challenge. Alternatively, you can hire us to manage your account with one of our social media marketing packages. If your business could benefit from having a custom content strategy created for you, or needs a professional to take-over, reach out today to start the ball rolling.