5 Ways to Keep Social Media Simple

Social media is an important part of your marketing mix, though it can be overwhelming. Guest contributor, Leslie Hughes of PUNCH!media explains how to keep it simple and effective.

I routinely receive the following question at my Social Media seminars: ”How much time should I be dedicating to Social Media?”. My answer is “Marketing time is marketing time”.

Every business requires a certain amount of marketing time dedicated to promoting your business. With Social Media, your business has the opportunity to reach a qualified, targeted audience who is *actively* interested in your product or service.

1) Start strategic. Decide what your objectives are first.

If you aren’t using Social Media to promote your business, consider starting with the platform where you have the best chance to connect with your target audience.
Blogging is important and it also requires time to develop and cultivate. As does microblogging (Twitter). If you are a B2C (business-to-consumers) consider starting with Facebook, if you're B2B, LinkedIn is your best bet.

Before you begin, find out where your audience is and connect with them there.

2) Dedicate a minimum of 20 minutes daily to logging on to your Social Media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs etc).

*Spend time listening to your audience: what are they saying or not saying?
*Spend time looking at what your competitors are doing.
*Spend time researching Best Practices and Case Studies on who is making
the most of their Social Media accounts.
*Respond to comments. Simply saying “thank you” is a great way of
acknowledging their feedback and developing a relationship.

3) Create an editorial calendar of all your upcoming status updates and blog posts. To showcase your business as experts, stay top-of-mind by:

*Talking about upcoming trends before the season hits.
*Generating conversations using open ended questions.
*Answering frequently asked questions
*Providing relevant, timely tips.

4) Publish once, distribute to many.

One message can be shared to various audiences: Blogging, Facebook,
Twitter, LinkedIn but be sure to tailor your message based on the site.

I don’t recommend using aggregator tools to publish to all your platforms at once. Not only is it not “social” but often your messages can be cut off and automatic URL shorteners can send your readers on a wild goose chase for content.

Instead, create a short status update with a compelling call-to-action and whenever possible, tailor it to that specific Social Media site.

5) Routinely search for who is talking and what’s being said about your business outside of your Social Media accounts using tools such as:

*Twitter: http://search.twitter.com/advanced
*http://bit.ly – to see how many people click on your shortened link

Remember to manage your time wisely. Social Media can be a “rabbit hole” for your time. Remind yourself to stick to your strategy and objectives.
If necessary, use a timer to keep you on track.

Do you have any of your own tips to share? What keeps your Social Media
marketing simple?