Would you like to save time on social media marketing?
Looking for the options to automate social media process?
Succeeding on social media takes real work, talent, and dedication. And when well executed, the results can be outstanding for small businesses.
Unfortunately, we don’t all have the time, talent, money or desire to aggressively engage in social media marketing on behalf of our small businesses. But if that describes you, that doesn’t mean the only alternative is to forego an active social media presence altogether.
Rather, you need to take steps to minimize the amount of manual management required and partly automate social media marketing process.
This article sets forth 5 steps wherein you will set up your social media profiles once, and then dedicate a maximum of 15 minutes per month to participating in social media on behalf of your small business.
Step 1: Pick 2 to 3 social media platforms
There are dozens of leading social media platforms, and they each have their own particular focus and audience. Therefore, a truly robust and active social media campaign might try to market their company on between 6-10 such platforms.
To effectively automate social media strategy especially from the beginning it’s better to limit yourself to only two to three platforms. That’s it.
Each additional platform requires additional setup, knowledge, and time, so stick to a few and do them well. So Step 1 is to spend a few minutes researching the particular foci of the various social media platforms and pick the two or three best that fit your particular business, its products, and it’s intended audience.
Step 2: Design decent looking profile pages
The goal of the ‘automate Social Media Strategy’ is to have your company’s social media presence look professional and active to prospective and current customers while doing as little ongoing manual work as possible.
Start from creating an attractive custom social media profile page.
There are a number of free online tools that will allow you to create a professional looking custom profile page no matter which social media platform you’re using. Here’s a quick list of free services for Facebook and another for Twitter.
Typically, it should only take you five to ten minutes per social media platform to design and setup your page.
Step 3: Integrate with the scheduling apps
Most small business owners have dozens of tasks to take care of every day. And realistically, if social media marketing isn’t a central component of your business, publishing new content to your two to three company accounts not likely to actually get done with any regularity.
However, having well-formatted recently published messages on your social media profile is a strong signal to potential customers that the business is active, engaged, and growing.
Therefore, in order to better ensure that that regular posting actually happens it’s important to reduce as much as possible the friction points that prevent SMB owners from doing so and ensure that your content is automatically shared across your social media platforms.
That’s where HootSuite, Buffer or any of these alternatives comes in. Hootsuite is a freemium software platform that allows you to post well-formatted messages on all of your social media profiles from a single login.
So, by creating a Hootsuite account and integrating all of your SMB’s social media accounts into Hootsuite (which takes a total of 5 minutes) you now only have to log in to one place to manage your social media profiles.
Moreover, because you’ve presumably followed Step 1 above, and consequently have limited your social media profiles to two or three, you qualify to use the free plan at Hootsuite.
Step 4: Automate your blog posting
If you’re the type of business owner that has managed to keep up with regular-ish posting on your company’s blog, then you can make sure that those articles automatically get published (and correctly formatted) on your company’s social media profiles by adding your blog’s RSS feed to your Hootsuite account. You can add up to two feeds in the HootSuite Free Plan, which should be sufficient for most businesses.
This one-time integration (which will only take 2 minutes to complete via the Hootsuite Dashboard) will ensure that whenever an article is published to your company’s blog, it is automatically republished on all of your social media profiles, better ensuring that these profiles are regularly updated with new content.
Step 5: Pre-Schedule Holiday Posts
If you’ve made it this far, you know that despite having great intentions of publishing a new blog article every week (or even once a month) the reality is there will likely be three to six month periods where nothing new is published.
That means that despite setting up an RSS feed to broadcast your blog posts on your social media platforms, there will still be a dearth of content on those platforms.
That is, unless, you take a moment during this setup phase to pre-write a holiday based post for every major holiday and pre-schedule them for publication via Hootsuite.
By keeping it generic, for example, “Happy New Years to all of our wonderful customers! Thank you for a great year!” you can feel comfortable that your post/tweet will be relevant and appropriate months in advance.
And by doing so, you can at least minimally ensure that you’ve got a timely seasonally appropriate post on your social media platform every couple of months throughout the year (you can also do things like scheduling a post about your company’s anniversary, important industry specific dates, etc.).
Thus, even if you never remember to publish another article to your blog throughout the year, a customer visiting your social media profile will see an active (albeit sparse) company presence.
If you’re an active social media marketer, you’ll undoubtedly think, “wait a sec, this isn’t even close to sufficient for a truly successful social media marketing campaign.” And frankly, you’d be right.
But the goal of putting your social media profiles on “automate” isn’t to enable you to compete head to head with companies that are devoting considerable time, effort and money to their social media marketing.
These 5 steps will provide a minimally viable social media marketing strategy for your business.
They will put you far ahead of where you would otherwise have been, and better ensure that customers who research your business online will perceive your business as active, engaged and growing.
From there you can use more time to build an audience on social media and communicate with your clients.
How do you automate social media? Leave me a comment with your thoughts below.