These days it’s rare to encounter a large, recognizable brand that doesn’t have a steady and visible presence on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Unfortunately, when it comes to social media, many smaller and mid-sized businesses seem to be stuck in the younger sibling role of constantly having to play catch up. Public relations agency Zeno Group conducted a survey that found only 55 percent of small business executives — as opposed to 71 percent of executives at large companies — take their company’s social media reputation into account when making business decisions.
With Forbes noting that most owners are actually increasing their social media budgets, small and mid-sized business owners seem to be well aware this form of outreach is important. So why are they still lagging behind when it comes to efforts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus? One of the main reasons small business owners cite is that they simply don’t have enough time. Fortunately, there are several great ways for small companies to maintain healthy social media presences with minimal time requirements.
1. Start small
If the thought of managing Pinterest, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts makes your head spin, the good news is you don’t have to master all of these outlets right away. In fact, trying to do so often causes professionals to become overwhelmed or to spread themselves too thin. Start by only posting content to either Twitter or Facebook, the two most popular platforms. Once you have a handle on one of those sites, you’ll find it easier to share your social media content across multiple platforms.
2. Schedule posts in advance
One way to solve your time crunch is by taking a few hours to schedule and automate all of your social media postings for the week. This strategy will not only help you ensure the posts go out—even if you have a busy schedule—but it can also prevent you from having to stop in the middle of other projects to write or share content. If you do automate your social media content, make sure you avoid including any time-sensitive subject matter that could lose relevancy by the time it’s shared with the world. Also, if you’re relying on automated posts for the majority of your content, incorporate some non-automated interaction in order to respond your followers and alert them of any breaking news.
3. Outsource the work
If you’re truly strapped for time or you simply don’t feel comfortable doing any form of online engagement yourself, consider outsourcing your social media marketing to a company that specializes in its strategy and implementation. Outsourcing requires a minimal time commitment, making it an attractive option for small companies. This approach not only frees up your time, but it gives you access to experts who can learn the ins and outs of your company and help strengthen your brand identity. An outside firm can stay up to date on the newest platforms and developments so you don’t have to.
Social media is here to stay. It provides one of the best opportunities for your company to interact with customers in a meaningful way that can translate into more brand awareness, higher sales and valuable feedback. If time is an issue, taking advantage of one or more of these social media strategies can give you a much better chance at catching up with your larger competitors—and maybe even leaving them in your dust.