1. Determine Your WHY and be disciplined
Establishing goals; both weekly and monthly, is key to all social media campaigns. You need to ask yourself; what do I hope to accomplish on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn? Am I trying to generate sales, more likes to my fan page, higher keyword ranking in LinkedIn? What exactly do you "want" from your efforts? You HAVE to know this up front so you can measure your results and the EFFORT necessary to make those results become reality. Once you determine what you want from your social media efforts, it becomes much easier to focus on specific tasks to accomplish your goals.
I don't know if you have this problem but I know it is a huge problem for many…chasing a rabbit trail. You click on a link that catches your attention, which leads you somewhere else and then somewhere else and before you know it; two hours have passed. Sound familiar? That is why social media requires discipline. I have often, laughingly, called Facebook "Crackbook" because it is so addictive. Great resource for keeping up with personal friends and family but before you know it, you are hours into your Facebook session. It will help if you set specific times and timelines for your social media work. For example; morning, noon and evening. Check in, do what needs to be done and get out.
Every business will have different social media needs and the time required will vary so I am hesitant to suggest how long you should spend on social media on a daily basis. I have seen others tout "How to Do Your Social Media in 15 Minutes a Day" and I say that is total hogwash if you are serious about generating results with social media. That doesn't mean I think you need to spend five hours a day either. You will find your timeline when you focus on your goals.
2. Narrow Your Focus
This tip is very important for anyone who is just getting started. When you first get started with social media, it can be overwhelming so my best advice is start with one or two social media platforms. Learn what you need to learn to achieve your goals and put your social media plan into action. If you are trying to master multiple social media platforms all at the same time, it can be overwhelming and totally ineffective in the long run. Build your presence deep on one or two social media platforms and THEN spread out if you feel it will benefit your business. This will allow you to really monitor your efforts and identify what works and what doesn't.
Personally, I focus on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn. This allows me to really focus my efforts around building business connections and relationships, which is my ultimate goal.
3. It's All In The Tools!
Ever hear that line "it's all in the tools?" Well, this is so true with social media as well. There are tons of GREAT tools in the marketplace that will help you manage your social media platforms from one location. The right tools will also help you organize your social media which will save you TONS of time. Many of these tools are free on a basic level and if you need more, you can pay for an upgraded or professional version for a nominal monthly fee. I would suggest trying out the free version, play with it some and see what you like and don't like about it. Ultimately choose the one that you like the most.
My personal preference is Hootsuite but I will share others here with you as well. Hootsuite allows me to manage my personal Facebook profile, multiple Facebook Fan Pages, my Twitter account and my LinkedIn account from one central location. When I say central location, Hootsuite is a a web-based application and you do not physically have to login to each individual social media site to "see" what is happening with your account. Hootsuite also has a smart phone app that you can install on your phone so you can literally manage your social media from anywhere!
Bottom line, like any marketing method, social media is all about identifying what you desire from your marketing efforts, setting up a way to achieve those goals and sticking with it consistently! You may have to refine your process from time to time but consistency is critical in social media.
If you do not have the time to devote to your social media management, I suggest checking out our management packages.
I would also like to invite you to join me on Social Media Branding with Kim Garst on Facebook where we collaborate on techniques and share information that will benefit your social media efforts. We have a lot of fun at SMB and hope you will join us! My motto "Social media should be fun!"