I am a social media convert; I believe that social media is good for business and also often adds value to the conferences and events we organise. I also appreciate however that it can take up a lot of time; time which can often be in very short supply when running a business and juggling numerous event projects!
I believe that you can effectively monitor and manage your social media presence in less than 10 minutes a day, IF you are disciplined and get into a daily routine. In this blog post I share some of my tops tips to manage social media effectively.
Use a Single Platform to Manage All of your Social Media Accounts
I highly recommend that you set up and manage your accounts for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn via a social media dashboard such as HootSuite, which is free for up to 5 social profiles. I personally use SproutSocial which is a paid dashboard, however I find that it works well for me and so is definitely worth the small outlay each month (around £5, free to cancel at any time). I am often managing a few different accounts at any one time for my different businesses, individual event profiles/accounts and also for a regular client so a dashboard helps to keep everything organised and focused without having to log in and out every time I want to post something. It will take a little time to set up and get right at the beginning but you will soon notice the time savings it can give you.
It is worth noting however that although social media platforms do allow you to post the exact same message to Facebook and Twitter I generally avoid doing this as hashtags and Twitter handles look lazy and messy posted into Facebook in my opinion. Instead I will copy and repost the message separately to Facebook, often making use of the extra characters to write a longer post. It only takes a few seconds longer but I think it is worthwhile.
Check and Respond to Mentions, Direct Messages and Comments Every Day
However busy I am I do endeavour to check my accounts every day specifically to respond to mentions, direct messages and comments, even if I don’t have time to do anything else. People often expect immediate responses and I definitely like to acknowledge or respond within 24 hours. Social media is all about the conversations so you don’t want to keep people waiting for too long – strike while the iron is hot!
If you are often office based it may be useful to set up sound alerts or emails to alert you specifically of mentions, direct messages, comments and RTs. You may prefer to be notified and quickly respond and then get back to work. If this isn’t workable perhaps you will get into a routine checking social media at the start or end of the working day as I generally do, whatever works best for you.
Social Media Searches
Twitter in particular is a hub of information on every topic imaginable. I recommend that you set up and save searches for your particular areas of interest. I like to run one or more of my saved searches every day if possible to stay up to date with interesting news, content and developments in the events industry. My essential hashtags include #eventprofs #eventprofsuk #meetings and #smallbusiness. I can then share the most interesting content and news with my own followers and friends.
Schedule Tweets and Posts in Advance
I think that it is important to post interesting content regularly but I hardly ever have time to tweet or post in the course of a working day. Instead I will often schedule content to be sent out the next day or sometimes up to 3 months in advance. Scheduling send outs also makes it easier to repeat valuable content perhaps to go out the following week or month and to send out at different times of day to catch different audiences. Having popular searches set up and saved, as described in the last post, makes it easy to find interesting content to share and to set for send out at an appropriate time. We also send out links to our most recent and archived blog posts, recent event presentations and pictures, news, special offers and forthcoming events.
We also schedule tweets on event days to help create a buzz and excitement around the event at times when we know we will be too busy to post but want to engage with our audience.
I detest having any downtime during the working day so having Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn apps on my phone means that I can stay up to date and post on the go whenever I happen to have a spare minute. If I arrive for a meeting early, if I am travelling by train or on site at an event I will often turn to these free apps to fill the time available. It is also often enlightening to read content at different times of the day to your normal social media routine!
To save time ensure that you have different social media apps for business and your personal accounts so you do not have to log in and out when on the move. I personally use the free SproutSocial app to manage my business social media presence and then the individual apps for my personal social media accounts (which if I am honest are generally neglected anyway)!
Via SproutSocial I have also set up web alerts for mentions of the company name across the web. This is useful to keep track of any mentions of your business to give thanks or answer people accordingly on a daily basis. Google Alerts is a free tool which will allow you to monitor and stay up to date in the same way.
I am sure you will agree that the above basic daily tasks are easily achievable within 10 minutes per day for most small businesses and will enable them to stay in touch and keep on top of their social media presence. However whenever you do have more time to spend on social media I would recommend that you look at doing other tasks I have omitted from my daily routine such as returning/reviewing/finding new followers, keeping on top of your Twitter lists, looking at your social media stats and reports, searching for relevant business opportunities, getting involved in group discussions on LinkedIn and generally getting more involved in the conversations across all of the relevant platforms your business engages with. Whether this may be once a week or once a month the extra time and effort whenever you can spare it is highly recommended – after all with social media the more you put in the more you seem to get back out from it.
People have often said to me that they are too busy to use social media for business, however for Events Northern Ltd it is a vital part of our marketing strategy. For us we can’t afford not to engage and be a part of it, especially as so many of our clients large and small are a part of it. Other than the regular time investment being active on social media channels doesn’t cost anything, which cannot be said for most other marketing activity. Naturally it depends on what suits your organisation but for us it seems strange when small businesses are not embracing the opportunity the social media revolution offers!
I do believe however that “little and often” is the best way to engage with social media and spending 10 minutes each day is definitely preferable (and probably more achievable) to spending an hour online once a week. I hope sharing this blog post of my own top tips and daily routine has been useful to you. We would love to hear your social media top time-saving tips and hope you will comment and share them with us below.