“It’s not worth it to be on social media anymore.”
I’ve heard this phrase over and over this year — and I get it. Between the constant algorithm changes and the risk of an out-of-context tweet tarnishing your business’s reputation, social media seems like a hassle with little ROI. Why spend hours on social media in exchange for a few likes that don’t translate directly to profits?
Simply put, you have to.
Thirty years ago you couldn’t be a credible business without a telephone or even (gasp) a fax machine. Nowadays, no one will take your company seriously if you have no social media presence.
And there are still ways to incorporate social media into a successful marketing strategy. But it’s about working smarter, not harder.
Here are four social media tricks to see a measurable impact from your marketing, without investing a ton of time:
1. Limit your scope
Since social media invaded our lives, we’ve seen dozens of platforms come and go (Just look at Google’s repeated attempts). Still, when there’s a big buzz about the “next big thing,” many marketers’ first instinct is to jump on the train.
The truth is, not every platform is right for every company. If a platform’s purpose, user experience, or target community don’t align with your organization, you’ll only waste time trying to build a presence there.
Just look at YouTube. The platform — which, yes, is a form of social media — has over 2 billion monthly users. Based on the numbers, it would seem like companies have the greatest chance of gaining customers if they invest their time and money in YouTube marketing. But only a few, highly visual companies, like GoPro, find success on the platform.
It makes more sense to find the right platform for you and your brand. Consider who your target audience is and where they spend their social media time. For example, if you’re a B2B HR tech company, LinkedIn will be your social media bread and butter.
Also, think about what type of content you produce and which platform aligns with the rest of your marketing strategy. If you have tons of long-form, informative blog posts, Instagram won’t fit your needs.
2. Automate, automate, automate
When you’re a small business, you have to pinch every penny possible. And since you can manually schedule every social media post, why invest in an automation tool? The straightforward answer is for your own sanity.
Even if you’re posting the bare minimum, taking time out of your day to tweet takes its toll on your productivity. You can save time by using a scheduling tool that meets your needs. And bonus: many tools have a free version.
Look into the following options:
- Hootsuite: With Hootsuite’s free plan you can manage three social media profiles and schedule up to 30 posts ahead of time.
- MeetEdgar: The platform lets you build out a regular schedule and will even write posts for you by pulling “quotable” text from the content you want to share.
- Hubspot: While a more expensive option, Hubspot offers endless marketing and business tools. For social media, you can bulk upload posts to save time.
3. Harness your followers
At its heart, social media is about building a community and a conversation. Use this to your advantage and let your followers do some of the heavy lifting with content. Find a way to get them posting about your business and then reshare their content on your feed. This will save you time when it comes to creating and publishing unique shares.
Make sure there’s a way for followers to label their posts so you can find and track them easily. Create a hashtag related to your brand customers can use. Not only will this help you curate content, but also build a way for your followers to have a conversation together.
While it will take some planning upfront, starting a user-generated content campaign will also save you time in the long run. Clearly define what type of content you’d like your followers to create and have a way to show appreciation for their contributions. Then you can sit back and click reshare.
4. Find reliable content wells
Many small business marketers make the mistake of thinking everything they share on social media should be their content. But this approach prevents discussions from developing on your feeds. Plus it means you have to spend more time creating and posting about your own content.
Instead, share relevant and helpful content from other reputable sources in your industry. Chances are you already spend a portion of your day reading about trends and opinions related to your company. Multi-task and also share that content on social media.
Luckily, most blogs and online media outlets have made it easy to share what they post on your social media feeds. Look for “Click to Tweet” and other social sharing buttons. With one click, your followers will get a pre-crafted share and a piece of content they’ll value.
Social media is still a big part of marketing. But it doesn’t have to take up all your time and energy. By knowing which tricks and strategies will fit neatly into your schedule, you can keep up your social media presence and have more time to build your business.