I hear this question a lot: “How much time should your business be spending on social media?”
I often feel that dealing with social media is a lot like playing a game where the rules change arbitrarily every two to three months! It seems that just when you think you’ve “figured it out,” all of a sudden the rules change and you find that no one is seeing your posts on Facebook. Or you don’t understand the new interface of your favorite photo-sharing app.
The first thing you should understand is that social media is not a sprint; it is a marathon. Social media is not something that you should spend six hours doing one day, and then forget about it for the next three weeks. Social media is like a garden. It takes a great deal of time for you to see true results on your social media. This is true no matter how much money or free time you have. Your social media numbers and interactions are not going to start springing up overnight. You need to be patient, and mostly, you need to tend to your social media “garden” at least 5 days a week. Are all your fans/followers going to forget about you if you need to take a vacation? No. But just as you wouldn’t leave your prized vegetable garden unattended for three weeks, you shouldn’t leave your social media garden alone for long periods of time.
Daily social media maintenance is far more important than any other aspect of social media. If you do a little bit (less than 30 minutes) each day, by the end of two months, you will see results, At the end of six months, you’ll see even more results. I would argue that it’s better for your business to not have a social media presence at all than it is for your business to have a social media presence that is poorly or inconsistently maintained.
For very basic answers about daily time usage, I’m going to stick with the big three social media platforms I think all Aeolidia clients should be using: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I also think Instagram is a great social media platform for artists and visual types, and I’ll talk a little more about that at the end.
I recommend using Facebook once to twice per day; once in the morning and once in the evening if you’re doing twice a day. Facebook users tend to not tolerate the sort of rapid-fire interactions that Twitter users do.
Using Facebook’s tools, you can schedule or even backdate posts so that you don’t have to manually post them each day. But if you do this, make sure you’re doing it directly from Facebook. Facebook has a system called Edge Rank that determines how many of your fans see your post in their News Feed. Using a third-party app (like using Twitter to post to Facebook, or using HootSuite or other social media management tools to manage multiple platforms) penalizes your “score” in the Edge Rank algorithm and less people will see your posts.
And when people comment on your posts, that’s wonderful! Make sure you comment back when someone posts on your page’s Wall or posts your page has made. This will increase your Edge Rank so that more people will see your posts in their News Feeds.
Facebook is also great for adding events from the past that you may have not shared with your clients before. Using the Timeline feature, you can add Events such as “Started Business” or “Moved to New Location.” It’s a great way for people to see the history of your business from the comfort of their glowing computer screens.
Twitter is quite different! Twitter is a fast-paced social media platform. Twitter users will definitely tolerate five tweets (yes, that’s what they’re called!) in a row if you feel like it. However, if your time is limited, I recommend you check Twitter three times a day. Absolutely make sure you check your mentions, your retweets, and your direct messages when you’re using Twitter.
It’s also a great idea to get into the habit of joining the conversation on Twitter by retweeting other relevant users in your field and by searching hashtags. When someone puts a # symbol in front of a word, (for example, many people got news and information from the #Sandy hashtag while the storm was occurring) it will appear in a conversation where others can search for it. If you are a painter, searching the #painting or #painter tag might be a good way for you to find relevant artists to follow or people to talk with.
There’s no shortage of great content on Twitter, and from my experience, once people get into the swing of it, most people really enjoy using Twitter.
Pinterest is such a great platform for many of you to use because of its overwhelmingly active female demographic. I would give you more recommendations about Pinterest, but I’m too busy using it! I honestly adore Pinterest and since I often find myself looking at shoes and makeup on the internet, my boards fill themselves up quite quickly!
If you’re pinning for a business, I’d strive to take 15-20 minutes per day (perhaps when you need a break from work) and just go through websites you like. One of the things that makes Pinterest so freakin’ awesome is that you can literally just pin images that you like, and the interface makes these things relevant.
It’s good to have your boards tagged as specifically as you can. “DIY baby nursery projects” is going to be a lot more useful to followers than just “DIY,” for example. Again, consistent maintenance is key! If you spend even 5 minutes a day pinning, in a month you’ll have several lovely boards that can help you connect with other people (potential clients?) who enjoy the same things that you do.
Instagram gets an honorable mention because (in my opinion) it’s the most mobile-friendly social media platform of all. Let’s say you see a funny sign when you’re on a walk. Your baby does something really cute. You’re working on a really intense DIY home project. You see a lovely cloud or rainbow. Take a picture of it, put a quick caption on it, upload it to Instagram, and you’re done. Instagram is wonderful for allowing more people to connect with you. It’s similar to Pinterest in the visual aspects. People are not on Instagram to learn about your business having a sale or for your humor, they’re looking at your pictures.
The only prerequisite for using Instagram effectively is being in a social media state of mind! It can literally take you 30 seconds, two to three times a day, to upload an image to Instagram. That 1:30 per day can really help your business become better known using a free tool. Don’t miss these chances because you think you’re too busy, or because you “don’t know” what your clients or potential clients want to see. Most likely, if you like it, the people you want to buy your products will like it, too.
Getting help with social media
(A note from Jena, our marketing consultant)
Want to learn how to use social media more effectively to reach your audience and grow your business? And do you really need a blog? And a newsletter too? How are you supposed to manage it all and what the heck are you supposed to talk about in all those places?
- I’ll look at your social media profiles, blog and/or newsletter and how you currently use them (or help you get them set up nicely off the bat if you’re just beginning!) to see where improvements could be made to help you reach more people and communicate your message more effectively.
- We’ll discuss what the heck you’re supposed to be talking about at all of those different points of communication
- how to talk about what you have to sell without feeling smarmy
- which social sites you need to be focusing on for your particular business (hint- not all of them!)
- how to engage people more and grow your following
- what goals you want to achieve from your social media & communication strategy and how to get there
- and how to better organize, automate and keep up with it all!
Please get in touch with us to schedule a social media consultation project.
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