As a business owner, social media marketing is an important element of your business. It’s a way to generate conversations that may attract more people to your business, and it’s an easy way to let people know what’s going on with your business in a social setting. Yet there are many activities you need to do to run a successful business, and social media is only one of them. How do you put in the time that is required to maintain an effective social media presence, while still running your business? Here are some tips:

  • Start From the Results You Want: Instead of just jumping online, spend a few minutes thinking about what you want social media to do for your business. For example, if you are hoping to introduce new customers to your business, you’ll want to spend time planning posts that encourage existing customers to tell their friends about your business. As a result, you might decide to run a contest that rewards people for sharing. If you would like to encourage existing customers to purchase again, then you might focus on offering Facebook-only specials on your Facebook Page, and creating lots of conversation with people who already know what you have to offer. Knowing what you want can help you decide what to do online.
  • Plan Ahead: Nothing is a bigger time waster than sitting at your computer wondering what you’ll post that day. Create an editorial calendar for your online business presence, writing out your main posts at least a month in advance. By writing them all at once, you’ll get the creative juices flowing so that the posts come easier, and you will also be able to get a sense of the overall flow of your content. Are you too salesy? Not enough? Looking at an entire month’s worth of posts will not only help you be more efficient, but will also make your content better. (Also spend some time looking back at previous months’ posts. Did a particular type of post generate results? Then create more posts like it!)
  • Go Mobile: Don’t limit your time on social media to the minutes you can steal away to sit down at a computer. Use your mobile device to check in on your sites regularly, and jump in on conversations often. Instead of one block of time, you might spend a few minutes several times a day. Your customers will feel like you’re more responsive this way.
  • Avoid Spreading Yourself too Thin: Ask your customers where they spend their time online, and then set up one or two social media presences on the sites they use the most. One of these places is probably Facebook, but should you also be on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter? By understanding how your customers want to connect with you, and where, you’ll use your time most efficiently instead of doing more than you need to.
  • Stay Focused: It can be very easy to get distracted on social media sites and waste time. Keep a list of the activities you want to accomplish that will help you reach your goals online, and when you’re using social media for your business, stick to the list. This will help you avoid distractions that take you away from your primary purpose.

By being strategic about your use of social media, you can use these highly effective tools in a way that helps you build your business and reach your customers.

How do you manage your time on social media? We would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!