5th April 2016
Planning Your Social Media Strategy: April Showers Bring Many Followers
How much time do you spend on social media? I’m referring of course to the amount of time you spend on your company’s social media strategy, rather than how many of those ‘Proper Tasty’ videos you watch on your Facebook news feed. (I think my friends are all part of a conspiracy to either make me very hungry or force me to put on a few pounds.)
Chocolate brownies and pepperoni pizzas aside, it can be difficult as a small businesses to know if you are spending enough time on social media, and if you’re spending time on the right thing when you’re there. After all, each platform is really a gigantic rabbit hole you could spend all day on – so how do you know when you are being productive and when you are wasting time? And how much time is enough?
How Long Are Businesses Spending on Social Media?
A survey in October 2015 found that 43% of small businesses spend six or more hours per week on social media – or almost one whole working day. That’s quite a lot of businesses putting in the effort, but it still means 57% of SMEs are spending less than six hours per month on social media and perhaps should be doing more. That isn’t to say that six hours is the magic number, but if companies are barely touching their platform of choice, they could be missing out on a vast audience of people who may be interested in what they have to offer.
The key to putting in the right amount of time and effort is to make sure you’re posting regularly. Social media activity that comes in fits and starts, with several posts one week and then not a peep for the rest of the month, isn’t going to be good enough. However if you put the work in consistently – like persistent April showers occurring throughout the month, rather than a ten minute thunderstorm in the middle of a drought – you’re more likely to reap the rewards. And if you want to write a lot of posts in one go, that fine - using a tool such as Hootsuite to schedule your posts means you can plan and spread out your activity.
Are All Social Media Tasks Created Equal?
The survey also found that finding and posting content is the activity that takes the most time, while responding to questions takes the least amount of time. Naturally, responding to content that is already there, such as a customer with a query about a product, is much easier and faster than trying to decide what you want to say, looking for something interesting to share, and writing up your post in a way that is on-brand, useful to you and your customers, and also fits into the assigned character limit (if using Twitter). In contrast, “yes, we do have this one in black” takes a lot less effort, and gives you an instant feeling of accomplishment and productivity.
So when you’re trawling the internet for inspiration, it may feel like you’re not getting very much done, or even that you’re wasting time when you could be doing something else. But creating regular content is very important, both for reminding your followers that you’re still there, and for networking and gaining more followers. It’s just as important to create a post from scratch as it is to respond to customers, and also to follow new people and join in with discussions.
What Should Businesses Be Talking About On Social Media?
The content you share will vary depending on your business and your customer base, but may include any of the following:
- News about new products or services
- News about changes to your company
- News about special events
- Industry news
- Promoting a particular product
- Sharing a blog post on your website
- Sharing an interesting news article or blog post on someone else’s website (but not a competitor!)
- Reminding customers of special dates related to your product (for example Mother’s Day if you’re a florist)
- Short tips related to your area of expertise
The bottom line is, your customers should benefit from your social media presence. Social media is called ‘networking’ for a reason, and your activity shouldn’t just be you tweeting about your latest product line, but also connecting with customers and other people in your industry, joining in a conversation and sharing knowledge.
Even if all your hard work doesn’t pay off straight away, with a little persistence and by making social media part of your daily routine, you can build your following and make your brand heard. So start planning how you’re going to build your following today.