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Can you Really do Social Media an Hour a Day?

Can you really do social media one hour a day? Not if you want to do  a good job. Find out why it takes longer than an hour and how good social media takes a lot of time.

Excellent Social Media Takes More Than an Hour a Day

Last month, Dendrite Park, a marketing agency, came out with an interesting instructographic that advised how small business owners could do social media marketing an hour a day. While the article does give credit that small business owners are busy, I think it gives the false impression that a good job for social media marketing can be done an hour a day, which in my honest opinion it can’t.

Here’s the harsh reality in the world of marketing, advertising and social media, most of the time is not spent on executing social media, most of the time is spent on researching and planning out an excellent marketing strategy.

When starting any social media plan, you want to make sure that you have a solid strategy behind it.

You want to know who your target audience is and what type of social media networks they are on. This may incorporate only a limited amount of social networks such as Tumblr and Pinterest, or this may include all the social networks.

But excellent social media planning, whether it’s for one network or for five should not be rushed.

An Hour a Day Works…If You Don’t Care What You Post

If you feel that sending out any old status, tweet, or pin will do, and that somehow it will gain you a community of loyal followers, then you might as well not be on social media.

Part of being on social media is to be able to provide valuable content and insight to your audience.

This week I was really blessed, Mari Smith, a Facebook guru, shared my guest blog post from Oh So Pinteresting on her Facebook page, and it resulted in the post going viral with over 400+ shares within 48 hours, and a big part of that was because of Andrea Vahl who shared that with Mari.

My article about pinning Facebook onto Pinterest went viral, big thanks to Mari Smith, and Andrea Vahl. The post was socially shared over 350 time.

But finding such great content requires time and effort. It means reading other blogs about your industry, and keeping up with the ever changing world of what’s going on. And the people who keep on top of their industry are the ones that will be able to provide fresh content that is relevant to their social media community.

Relationships on Social Media Take Time to Build

For most of my clients that I have worked with, only one of them has ever had a previous relationship with another social media agency. Almost all my clients I work or have worked with were personally managing social media accounts.

One of the biggest hurdles that small businesses face on social media, is the lack of time to authentically connect with their customers on social media. And for any business that starts using social media, whether it’s Pinterest for business purposes, or Linkedin for lead generation, you have to spend time building those relationship.

It’s no different than a customer walking into a hotel the first time. If you take time to engage in conversation, care about their trip and try to make their stay as enjoyable as possible, then chances he’s going to be coming back.

You have to spend time to create a list of people you want to connect with who you may be able to do business or form strategic alliances with. And what you’ll find is that some of them will become good friends of yours too because you both share the same passions.

If you’re a local business, you need to spend more than 5 minutes a day checking messages. You have to engage, and if you don’t have time to do that, then it’s best to hire an agency, or freelancer that can.

This is why it’s vitally important to choose the right social networks for your business instead of going after all of them. Focus o the ones that allow you to create relationships with your customers on deeper level.

Social media hasn’t changed the way we do relationships, as a matter of fact it reminds us that little small acts of connection, taking an interest in what people are saying, and providing great resources for them is more vital today than ever. Why? Because everybody is doing it, and if you don’t do it, your business will die off.

Scheduling and Curating Content Takes Time

Almost everybody I know that has made it big on Twitter has scheduled tweets. Very few do real time interactions all the time, and that’s understandable. The world is a 24/7 place.

And even scheduling tweets to reach those people can take an hour a day. Imagine scheduling for tweets a day (again it should be something valuable to your followers) and then you need to schedule some status updates on Facebook, and then jump over to Pinterest to schedule some pins for the next week.

Scheduling can take a lot of time, but what’s even more important is be able to select the relevant information for your followers.

Some great tools to help with social media scheduling is Hootsuite for Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook. If you’re looking to schedule pins, Hello Society is a wonderful tool that’s free to use. My friends from the U.S. adore Buffer as a scheduling tool for Facebook and Twitter.

Quality Blogs Take Time and are Worth the Effort

Blogging itself is a huge time consumer, and on my good days I can crank out a draft out within 45 minutes. That’s just a draft. The final copy, including getting the right photos that are pinnable and making sure that it’s done. By the time it’s all said and done, a good quality post that has a great headline, great content, and a pinnable image will take anywhere between 2.5-5 hours to finish. But when it’s all said and done, it can help drive so much traffic and establish your business as THE business in your industry.

Other blogs may report that they finish earlier, and that’s because they don’t understand how powerful Pinterest is in driving blog traffic and tend to use any stock photo, I strongly advise against that.

Always take time to create a blog, and blog at least once a week.

Properly Integrating Social Media Networks into Your Marketing Campaign Takes Time

No social network should ever work alone. This is why it’s important to plan out how to cross promote your different social mediums to get people to not only to be a Facebook fan, but also an Instagram fan, and so forth. The more places that you’re able to communicate with your customers, the more that they’re going to remember you. It’s that simple.

Even though I love Pinterest, I make sure I share some wonderful articles on my Google Plus group on Pinterest marketing. This way it helps to reach out to another community of potential leads and influencers.

And if you’re able to create engaging and amazing content, that’s consistent with your brand and strategy, across your social media then all the better.

Measuring and Taking Action with Your Analytics

It’s very important to spend your time understanding how social media affects your marketing and sales goals. Taking the time to analyze what’s going on with your social media traffic, and understanding what type of content is being shared is vital in deciding what type of action or content to provide next.

Analytics alone can take up to an hour a day depending on how much data is coming in, and what you’re measuring. Tools such as Google Analytics can tell you which social networks are driving the most traffic, while Pinterest analytic programs like PinLeague can tell you what pins are pinned the most as well as who your influential followers are.

Pinleague

I’m not here to tell you how much time you should spend on social media, but I will tell you that if you want to make your social media campaigns work, then you need to work very hard at the start, and you need to invest time into your online social relationships, and I guarantee you, if you want to do this right, it will take more than an hour a day.

Photo courtesy of Bill Erickson.

Twitter Marketing Tips for Beginners

hootsuite university

How to Get Started on Twitter for Marketing

I wouldn’t say that I was an early adopter of Twitter (I am the 21,547,942nd user to join) but I was on the social media network early enough when it was still a wild wild west, and having motivational quotes was considered the rage back then and people followed you back because you followed them. Now, Twitter has over 500 million registered users, and has changed a lot since I’ve joined.

Twitter can be overwhelming to those that are starting to use the social media tool. There’s so many conversations going on, and so many different people to follow. To top it off, you’re limited to writing 140 characters per tweet.

Where does a business or person start with Twitter? Here are 6 Twitter marketing tips for beginners.

1) Start Small and Slowly Build

I once had a lunch meeting with someone at Sun Life Financial who was overwhelmed on where to start with Twitter. I suggested that he approach Twitter like any other type of medium and start off with dedicating about 15 minutes of his day using the social network.

Choose a dedicated time during the day, such as lunch time, and spend 15 minutes each day so that Twitter becomes part of your daily habits over time.

This way it doesn’t consume your whole day, and your brain can slowly rewire itself to get used to the multiple conversations that are going on at any given moment. It’s like meditating, you can start off meditating for an hour a day, but it’s quite hard to do that. Approach Twitter in small time chunks to get started.

2) Follow People who You’re Interested In

When marketers are starting off, they often measure the success of their Twitter account by the number of people that are following them, and sometimes buy followers.

Unless your account is being purposely followed by users who are interested in your content, the number of followers really doesn’t mean much. It’s better to have 100 dedicated followers, than 10,000 followers who won’t pay attention to a single thing you’re saying.

In order to build this Twitter tribe, you should follow people that you would like to engage with or learn from. This could be other locals. You can get an idea of some Tweeters who are prominent in specific areas of an industry or a geographical area. Visit wefollow since it’s a great tool to start off with.

3) Start Engaging in Conversation with Strangers

Once you’ve started following people, start having mini conversations with people on Twitter. Your tweets can be about comments about a blog post that was shared or photo that a tweeter poster, or it can be responding to their question. It’s important not to discriminate from the start, but to have fun and meet people like you would at any cocktail party.

I tweeted @MissDestructo on Twitter regarding a comment about playing political bingo on Facebook with words that were popping up people’s Facebook status, such as 9/11 and Illuminati.

We started to have a small chat, but it was her friendliness and openness are what really impressed me. She wrote an article on the difference between left and right brained social media marketers, which is worth a read. And she added me on Linkedin after, if that’s not a great example of social media networking then I don’t know what is.

Just because your start a conversation with someone, doesn’t mean that he’s going to respond back right away, or respond back in general. Twitter users with a lot of active followers generally don’t have time to respond to everything. This doesn’t mean that they don’t read their tweets though.

If you continue to tweet certain people with engaging conversation or share articles of interest, they will eventually tweet back to you. Over time, you’ll find out who the tweeters are that are open to discussion and those that aren’t. Focus your energy on building relationships when starting Twitter, not selling. Your integrity and character will sell more than any tweet can.

Also if you feel there is a tweet that may be valuable to your followers, then feel free to RT it. The authour of the tweet will know and this is also a great way to start relationships with others on Twitter.

4) Share Interesting Content, and do Only a Little Bit of Selling

While Twitter is a great tool for marketing, it’s important to remember that it’s not a place to hock your wares. You don’t want to be known as the stereotypical second hand car salesman of Twitter.

In order to be able to promote your services and products, you must be able to provide your Twitter tribe with valuable information such as great blog articles, or informing your followers of relevant events first and foremost.

The general rule is engage and share great content 80% of the time, and spend 20% of your time promoting your services and business.

5) Create Lists

As time goes by, you may find yourself following a lot of people. This is when Twitter’s option of creating lists can be helpful in segmenting your followers. This should be done from the very start since it can be hard to locate old followers when the number of your followers start to grow.

The great thing about lists is that you have the option of customizing different lists depending on your business goals. Lists that I have created in the past include media contacts, locals, previous customers, and marketing agencies.

For a restaurant client, I created a list of all the previous customers who had eaten at our restaurant who mentioned the restaurant on Twitter. When business was slow, I would use that list to start talking to customers to try to lure them back into the restaurant. It’s always easier to get an existing customer to come back, then to get attract a new one.

If I didn’t create that list it would have been a nightmare for me to engage with previous customers that had not attended the restaurant for a month or more.

6) Use HootSuite to Manage Your Accounts

HootSuite is a social media dashboard that allows you to manage your Twitter account (as well as other other social media networks like Facebook), and to be able to customize columns of information into one place. This means that you can create a live feed of your Twitter account, and have next to it your lists, and even have a column that has tweets that mention your city in it.

HootSuite will also allow you to shorten links so that you’re able to use analytics to find out what type of content is being clicked on the most to help guide you in what type of material to post in the future.

The dashboard also allows you to schedule tweets so that you can share articles around the clock with your followers, but remember not to spam.

Using HootSuite from the very start can be overwhelming. I highly recommend that you follow principles 1-5 to start off. Once you’ve gotten a hang of Twitter as a tool on it’s own, then move onto the next level and study the different capabilities of HootSuite.

To help you get started with your social media campaigns, feel free to contact us at MCNG Marketing.