Social networking shouldn’t be this overwhelming

As the owner of a small business, maintaining a social media presence can seem like a daunting task – and keeping up with the constant changes and new networks can feel nearly impossible.

First there was Facebook, then Twitter and LinkedIn, followed by Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. Now the marketing world is buzzing about Meerkat and Snapchat!

But don’t fret; it is possible for you to have the social presence needed to benefit your business without it becoming a full-time job. Here are some effective solutions to avoid social media overload…

Use your time wisely

Social MediaSocial media works, but only when you have the resources and the time to invest in it. When you don’t have a marketing team to help you, managing multiple social media channels can feel almost impossible if you don’t have a plan.

Know that it’s OK to start small-focus on one network to begin with. Spend 90% of your time with this primary network and figure out what works for you there. Then, use the other 10% of the time to investigate another network that may complement your overall strategy.

How to you decide where you should focus your time and energy?

Focus on where your target audience already is. Today, customers want choices where they interact with brands. For example, some may like to follow a brand on Twitter but not on Facebook. Social media gives them that choice, so it’s important to have a presence where your customers are looking to interact with you and other businesses.

How do you know which sites are right for your business or organization? The simple answer is to ask your customers or members. When they come into your place of business, or when you see them at an event, ask what networks they use. If they make a purchase, add a social media question to your feedback survey.

Think hard about your goals and who you’re trying to reach

Are you looking to reach new and potential customers? Are you trying to connect with existing customers to increase loyalty? Do you want to build an audience beyond your typical demographic? Who uses each social network and what do they use it for? How are similar organizations using each social network?

Establish a community

Social Media NetworkingEstablishing yourself on a social media network is a commitment. Don’t get caught building up pages and profiles if you don’t have time for the “social” part. If you’re sacrificing customer relationships just to be in more places, then something may be wrong.

To build an engaged community, you need to post great, compelling content on a regular basis. You also have to be willing and able to respond to inquiries and complaints from followers and fans.

And if you think there won’t be people looking to interact with your company on social media, take this statistic into consideration: 18 million UK consumers (36%) now use social media to ‘talk’ to companies – some of those 18 million people will be your customers.

Don’t spread yourself too thinly

Finally, don’t rush to what everyone says is the next big thing before gaining ground on your existing social networks. Instead, work hard to establish yourself among the social media audiences you already have. Make your existing social media networks work before moving onto another.

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