As an entrepreneur, you have a million things to do. From sales to finance to marketing, many entrepreneurs find themselves responsible for every aspect of their businesses. When you hear about social media, it’s often pitched as a critical component to the success of a small business. As a result, you take time away from other important tasks in order to optimize and maintain a Facebook Page, Twitter account, blog, or any one of a number of social tools pitched as the “next big thing.” And then you’re disappointed when it doesn’t bring the results you’re looking for.
So how do you balance it all? How much time should you put into social media so that it brings results without sacrificing other income-producing time for your business?
Here’s a process to follow to help you decide:
- Decide what your goal is for social media. What specific, measurable result are you looking for as a result of your social media efforts? Are you trying to increase sales? Find more recruits for your direct selling business? Increase reorders? Whatever it is, choose one goal to focus on in the beginning, and make a plan to measure your progress towards that goal.
- Decide who you want to reach. Who is the best target market for the goal you are trying to achieve? For example, if your goal is to increase sales, what is the demographic that you can reach who will buy the most? This is who you want to focus on. What is important to them? What need do they have that your product or service solves for them? Where do they spend time online? By answering these questions, you’re better prepared to reach out to them online.
- Decide when you can realistically use social media for your business. Try to choose a consistent amount of time each day, even if it’s only 20 minutes, and schedule it as part of your day’s routine. Obviously the more time you invest, the more results you’ll see faster, but plenty of entrepreneurs invest 20 minutes a day on Facebook and see results.
- Choose your social media tools based on your available time. If you’ve only got 20 minutes per day, choose just one (probably Facebook.) If you’ve got more time, you might want to add a blog to the mix. But don’t take on more than you can realistically manage. This is very important if you want to use social media tools to build the relationships that lead to business.
- Plan your tasks ahead of time. One of the best ways to keep yourself focused when you’re using social media for your business is to write down your tasks ahead of time. What can you do online to reach the goal you defined in step 1? Will you reach out to former customers? Search online for great content to share? Write blog posts? Respond to comments in online forums? By deciding ahead of time, and then sticking to your list, you can make sure that social media time is productive for your business, and you avoid wasting time that would be better spent on offline activities.
A little pre-planning is essential for effective business social media use. By making a plan, you can enjoy the benefits of social media for your business, without taking too much time away from the other important things you have to do.
How do you manage social media for your business? How much time do you spend, and does it translate into results for you? What tips would you share? Please share in the comments below!