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Managing Your Social Media

april14-couplewithlaptopThere’s no denying it: Social media is a vital part of the marketing plan for businesses of all types and sizes. We’ve encouraged you to start with one social platform – usually Facebook – and then add on as you master posting to one.

But keeping all of your social media straight can be confusing – and it can start to suck valuable time from your day. Don’t give up and don’t cut out social media. Just work smarter.

Start Small

If you’re just getting started with social media, choose one platform and master it. Facebook is a great place to start because most people use it, and they expect your business to have a presence there. Don’t bite off more than you can chew by jumping into Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram all at once. Figure out where your target audience is and focus your efforts on that social media.

As you get comfortable with one platform, add another – Twitter or Pinterest is a good place to try next.

Connect Your Accounts

Through they’re run by different companies, each platform has realized it’s smart to work together. You can set up your Faceback page to automatically send your posts to Twitter. You can set up your Pinterest account to automatically post to Facebook. Take advantage of these connections to be in more than one place at once. Different people use different platforms so even if the message is the same, the eyeballs reading it are likely to be different.

(A note on automatically posting from Pinterest: If you pin a lot, automatic Facebook posts from Pinterest can clutter up your news feed, look like spam, and annoy your readers. You can opt to post everything you pin, or you can choose each time. We’d recommend taking that option if you pin a lot.)

Set Aside Time

A little goes a long way when it comes to social media. Set aside small chunks of time – 15 or 30 minutes, perhaps – once or twice a day to check in. Use this time to respond to comments and questions, share and retweet, and schedule posts in advance (see next section). A little bit of time focused solely on social media can keep you from wasting time sitting on these sites all day.

Be Consistent

To see the most benefit from social media, post consistently – once a day, twice a day, etc. Haphazard posting doesn’t get you the most views and “likes” from your friends and fans, but consistent posting can help you show up in users’ newsfeeds more regularly.

Advance Planning

Real-time posting to social media is time consuming – you’ll forget, you won’t be at your computer when it’s time to post, or you’ll be grasping for ideas when it’s time to post. (We know because all of this has happened to us.) Scheduling your posts in advance ensures that you have social media posts ready to go so you’re not relying on spur-of-the-moment inspiration.

We use HootSuite to schedule our social media posts, often up to a week in advance. The basic account at HootSuite is free and allows you one user and up to five social media profiles. To add more users and profiles, upgrade to Pro. We use HootSuite with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

You can also schedule posts to your Facebook business page right in Facebook. This is a good option for users who are only using Facebook for social media marketing.

For a quick primer on how these two schedulers work, check out the photos below.

HootSuite

Write your message …

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Add your link and shrink it …

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Choose a date and time …

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Choose your social media …

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Press “Schedule,” and your message is ready to go!

Facebook

Add your text and/or image, then click the clock at the lower left-hand corner of the post box, and choose your date and time. Click “Schedule” to finish.

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