For any small business owner, it can be difficult finding the time to carry out the tasks that are required on a regular basis, never mind anything additional that they believe – or are being told – to carry out and keep on top of.
Having an social media presence is one of those latter aspects of business that isn’t, in theory, a necessity and as it’s often thought of as taking up a considerable amount of time, it’s usually pushed to one side or given a half-hearted attempt.
The truth is that having a social media presence can impact positively on a range of different business aspects, from improved positioning within the search engines to increased traffic and here we look at three simple steps to maintaining a basic social media presence.
1. Don’t take on too much
One of the most common mistakes small businesses make when it comes to having an online presence is they believe they have to be present on every social media website available.
As fantastic as this would be, unless you have a large team of dedicated staff, it’s going to be impractical to maintain a presence across anything more than a handful of websites and therefore you must always stick to the quality / quantity aspect – a high quality presence on two or three of the largest or most industry relevant social media websites is going to be considerably more beneficial than a poor quality presence on a dozen different social media websites.
2. Schedule your updates
Having a social media presence should be about communicating with your audience – but no one has ever said anything about that communication needing to be in real-time.
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Of course, it’s always good to be able to interact and have a conversation with some of your customers via Twitter or Facebook as if you were talking in person or on the phone, but it can take up a substantial amount of your time.
Rather than spending a few hours every day updating your social media presence, use software to schedule your updates in advance. This doesn’t mean you should completely ignore your social media accounts and not update them manually, but it can take a lot of the burden off having to go in and update each of them every single day.
3. Use the 80/20 rule
As one of the primary aspects of having a social media presence is to update it regularly, it can be difficult for many small businesses to come up with interesting copy to tweet about or post on their wall.
What needs to always be remembered is that the 80/20 rule will not only make your online presence more effective, but it will make it easier for you to update.
The 80/20 rule is simple to understand and implement – generally speaking, 80% of your updates should be industry related, making them of interest to your target audience and extending your reach and 20% of your updates should be product, service or organisation focused, acting as somewhat of a direct sales or promotion tool.
Do anything else and you’ll alienate your followers and find it difficult to continue to keep coming up with regular, fresh updates about your organisation.
Having a social media presence may not be a necessity in theory, but it’s become almost essential to the continued development and success of any small business – and it really doesn’t have to put as much of a strain on your every day business processes as you may first believe.
This post was originally featured on March 27, 2012.