How To Get Going & Keep Going on Social Media 3

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Most of us start out with good intentions, but business gets in the way of maintaining an active, consistent presence on social media. Like most things, however, the more you put in, the more you get out. Getting any real value from social media means being active every day.

Step 3 in our series on how to get going and keep going on social media is managing your social media platforms – using tools that will help you post regularly and consistently, respond to posts on your pages, and more.

There are different approaches and tools, the ones you use will depend on your particular needs and how many social media platforms you have.

Simply creating a schedule for yourself (e.g. posting content every Monday at 11 am) is one tool.

Then there are social media tools you can download to your desktop that will help you manage all your social media platforms in one place – some are free, some not. Hootsuite’s basic offering is the most popular free social media management tool, but you might opt for a paid tool like AgoraPulse or Buffer if you have several social media pages and want to do more with them.

A third option is to outsource; this can depend on your budget and finding the right provider that you feel resonates with your business and your brand.

 

Plan A – A Simple Schedule

You can allocate a specific time each day to your social media activities, for example, first thing in the morning before you get to your emails. By blocking out a dedicated time, you will get into the habit of regularly posting content and interacting with followers.

Social media coach Chanelle Segerius-Bruce says consistency is the key. She suggests going live with a blog post at the same time and on the same day each week and then using the rest of the week on social media to promote your blog post. The social media posts should also be done at the same time each day.

 

Plan B – Get Tools

Social media management tools are a great way to publish content to several platforms and schedule posts ahead of time. They can also help you get information on and find new followers.

There are many tools to choose from; here’s an introduction to five:

Hootsuite – One of the most widely used. The entry package is free with payment options for the more feature-rich packages. The free package supports most of the major platforms and you can manage up to five platforms for free.

Every post – You can connect your Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Tumblr accounts. You can also pull visual content from many different sources such as Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest to create your own unique content.

AgoraPulse – Packages start from 29 euros per month but offer lots of value. AgoraPulse integrates Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so this can be a good option if you have these three platforms. A big advantage with this tool is that you can quickly reply to people who have mentioned you.

Buffer – This tool looks simple and is easy to navigate. Once you create your account, you can choose which social networks you want to add. Then use the content tab to create and share your content. You can also use the analytics feature to get reports on your social media reach.

MavSocial – Supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and others. This tool also stores and manages all your images, videos and audio files so that you can easily re-use them.

For more information on social media management tools, check out the Tools Guy, Ian Anderson Gray. He also offers a free tool guide on over 30 social, SEO and marketing tools.

 

Plan C – Outsource

Outsourcing your social media management can be a viable option if you don’t have the time but do have a budget. You would need to develop a close relationship with the person or company you outsource to so that they get a real feel for your business and are in touch with what’s happening in your business.

Small business owner Debbie Logan (of the Organic, Natural and Whole-Food Emporium) outsourced her social media management and says it has been invaluable in helping get her business to the next level. “Linda’s initial focus was on helping with marketing and social media and the website, but as she got deeper into our business we got so much more than that,” says Logan. “In a short period of time, Linda’s become indispensable, helping me with things I could never get to, helping us be more focused in the communication points with customers, and helping us understand them better.”

Take out: To be really effective on social media, you need a regular, consistent presence. You can do this yourself by sticking to a simple schedule that gets you into the habit of posting regularly at the same time each day. Or, you can try a social media management tool like Hootsuite or Buffer that helps you do a whole lot more. If you decide to go the outsourcing route, take the time to find someone who resonates with your business and your brand.

 

Part 3/3

Author: Nicky Grandin

 

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13 comments
    Social Media is so mission critical for all businesses these days yet so few people know how to run a social media campaign effectively thank you for a great article! In terms of tools... I also find IFTTT.com quite helpful as well.
    Gareth it's true... social media is mission critical for small businesses. The tools mentioned above are helpful and I will also try out IFTTT.com - I have never heard of it before.
    Awesome advice on the social media tools... Even with all the great tools one has at their disposal if you don't allocate time to be regularly active on social media you miss out on the value presented by social media.
    I've found that content creation can get a bit out of hand especially if you’ve made the brave decision to outsource some of the work. And if you go at it blindly expecting it to be a breeze you’re in for a rude awakening. But if there’s one thing entrepreneurs understand well it’s wearing several hats at once! There are 5 main points to consider when outsourcing this: Choosingthe right content developer -Review their websites. I like to look for writers that are invested enough in their career to create a solid site with compelling and helpful information. If you like what they are doing to promote themselves there's a very good chance you willbe happy with the work they do for you.
    Another point is to look for a specialty in your industry: Find specialist writers. If you have a technical industry such as manufacturing medicineor even marketing a specialized writer can bring a level of experience and knowledge that a typical generalist can’t. Also read through samples andreferences:Ultimately good writers will prove their worth through writing samples and client references.If they’ve got great writing chops and a portfolio to back it up it’s worth taking a chance on them.
    On plan C of the article-Outsourcing. I think you need to alsodefine the value outsourcing brings. Don’t get me wrong outsourcing can be a huge relief to the busy entrepreneur’s mind. But don’t mistake relief for a lack of work.In fact when you’re just getting started outsourcing can seem like just as much work as writing the content yourself. It’s only a worthwhile investment if you’re willing to put in the initial work up front. But you need to be clear about the value of outsourcing so that you can see things through to the end. What do you get out of outsourcing your content development work?More time to work on sales?The ability to build more local business connections?Freedom to build social media another branch of the business or any other new development? Define the value first and it’ll keep you from throwing in the towel too early.
    TastyChef yes outsourcing is tempting when you are busy but it is your responsibility as a business owner to first decide what information you want to be communicated and provide that information to a third party. Its quite similar to creating a website... you still need to write up all the information that will populate your website.
    To lighten the burden of posting on social media as a small business you can appoint a number people within the business who can take turns posting on social media. The content plan needs to be understood by all those participating so that all the messaging is aligned. So this can form part of the daily schedule and different people bring a different flacour to keep the posts engaging.
    That is a fantastic alternative GameChanger! I love the idea of keeping it in-house and changing it up to bring different personality into the posts.
    Social media is great for engaging customers but it can be a tool for keeping tabs on your competitors. You can follow all your competitors so that you have first hand knowledge of how they are engaging their customers. Also any other information they reveal about their business can be useful to you. As a business owner youcan possibly learn a thing or two from them or even copy certain strategies. This gives you the opportunity to be one step ahead of the competition.
    Gareth what is your take in protecting yourself from exposing your business to your competitiors so that they don't use information shared on social media against you.
    TastyChef what is your take in protecting yourself from exposing your business to your competitiors so that they don't use information shared on social media against you.
    GameChanger to be honest it is not something I really focus on I would rather expend my energy on focusing on my own business and ensuring that our product on service delivery speaks for itself as well as building long lasting relationships with my clients that establish trust and loyalty.