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Social media marketing for those short of time

Business | Published:

Leading digital marketing trainer Daniel Rowles, chief executive of and programme director for the , explains how you can manage social media marketing in a few minutes a day – no matter how busy you are.

Daniel Rowles (25555176)

WE have all heard about how essential social media marketing is for our businesses, and most of use social media personally every day.

However, social media marketing can also be incredibly time-consuming, and getting it right can be hard. If you are struggling for time anyway, it is very easy for that well-intentioned Facebook page, Instagram profile or Twitter account to fall by the wayside.

An abandoned or poorly updated social profile can actually do more harm than good, as it projects an image of neglect and a lack of care for customer service. So how can we manage our social media marketing in minimal time and achieve maximum impact?

This short guide will give you some key principles to stick to and some hands-on tips you can take away and use straight away.

Let us start with some key principles we need to apply before we get started. These take a bit more time but once they are set up, you will be on autopilot.

Start with your target audience. We are trying to maximise the impact we have in minimum time, and the best way to do this, is to work out where your customers and potential customers are online, and what they want.

The best way of doing this is speaking to people. This could be by email, phone or face-to-face, but we actually need to speak to our existing or potential customers.

Ask three key questions: Which social channels do they use most, would they engage with your organisation there and, if so, what type of content would they find useful or engaging?

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You will need to give some examples of types of content for them to choose from. These can include,but are not limited to, company updates, handy tips on the topic area, in-depth guides and behind-the-scenes photos.

Take a look at what the very best brands that work in a similar sector to yours are doing to get some ideas. You want to end up with an idea of what social channels you should be on, and what content could potentially work. This might not be 100% correct, but it is a starting point for testing.

Get your house in order:

Based on what your audience have told you, make sure that the social platforms you intend to focus on are well branded, the profile details are correct and there is no historical content that you are embarrassed by or that could cause you future issues.

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Any platforms you are not going to update, cull. To manage your platforms easily, set up a free account with Hootsuite, which enables you to manage multiple platforms from one place if needed. To set up this account, visit hootsuite.com/create-free-account.

Listen:

You want to see every time someone mentions you, your organisation, your key staff, your products or your website online.

This means you will need a social-media-monitoring tool set up that will keep an eye on all of this for you. I would really recommend brand24.com. It costs $49 a month (and comes with a 14-day free trail), but it will have a huge impact on your ability to engage online.

Hero content:

Ideally you are going to need a few pieces of great and useful content to point your audience towards.

This could be a ‘complete guide’ to something relevant but, even easier, just answer some frequently asked questions in your industry.

This content should ideally live on your website, but could equally be a social post. Have a look at answerthepublic.com to see what questions are being asked in your industry and answer a few relevant ones. If you could do one a month, that would be great.

Industry news: Set up an account with feedly.com and enter some searches for relevant industry topics. This will then give you a feed of relevant industry news. We will come back to this in a moment.

What’s next?

Now we have put the key building blocks in place, what should we be doing on a regular basis? The below steps should only take a few minutes every few days, but can have a massive impact. They do not all need to be done on the same day and you can build a schedule to spread it out during the week.

Engage:

Use your listening tool and engage with anyone who mentions you. Whether that is to just say thank you for a positive comment or share, to ask a follow-up question, or to respond to some negative feedback, make sure you respond. And remember, people engage with people, so even on a company page, be human and professional, and don’t be afraid to add some personality.

Share:

Share and point back to the content that you created earlier. Do not be afraid of pointing back to the same piece of content multiple times, just make sure you do it differently each time. Intersperse your content with quick updates on what is happening behind the scenes and decide on how regularly you will share. The content you share does not always have to be your own. You can also select content from your industry news, share it with your audience and add some commentary.

Comment:

Social media should be genuinely social, and people engage with people. Therefore, comment on relevant stories, other people’s comments and relevant industry forums.

Decide on a tone of voice and stick to it, but stay positive, professional and personable. You can use your social monitoring tool to find relevant content to engage with online.

If you stick to these steps, you will build an audience, drive engagement and start to build a presence online.

Gwyn Garfield-Bennett

By Gwyn Garfield-Bennett
Business Editor

Gwyn is a highly experienced journalist having worked in UK national TV for the BBC and ITN, as well as running her own magazine publishing business, freelancing for national newspapers and UK magazines. She has a CIPR Diploma in Public relations, excellent digital skills and is an experienced digital marketing practitioner. Gwyn is also an author of several books.

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