The sheer volume of expectation business owners feel surrounding social media can be very overwhelming. There are new apps every day, and many small businesses feel they need a presence on every one of them to be legitimate.
In addition, it can be hard to create a routine for social media without feeling inauthentic. Many small business owners hate scheduling social media posts in advance, because it feels contrived, and because it doesn’t seem to build the relationships they need.
These frustrations are easy to understand. Fortunately, it is possible to create an authentic, effective social media routine. Here’s how.
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Choose One to Three Social Media Outlets
It seems impossible to choose only a few social media outlets for your business, but remember that a poorly maintained presence on a platform is worse than no presence there at all. It’s humanly impossible to keep up with every new platform out there. So limit yourself to one, two, or three – however many you can do well.
To choose your social media outlets, use two criteria:
- Do your paying customers spend time there? You may not make sales directly from social media, but you want to make sure the community you’re building and the followers you have are possible paying customers. If you sell fishing lures and gear aimed at middle aged men, Pinterest is not your platform.
- Can you use this social media platform to build your email list? Most businesses find that their email list is the single most effective way to sell their products and services. Choose social media platforms you can use to host contests, giveaways, and free reports that require readers to give their email address. Once you have direct contact with someone, you can nurture them toward a sale.
Mix Automation with Real-Time Interaction
There’s no doubt that automated posts are an effective and efficient way to share interesting information with your followers. But you want to do more than that – you want to forge an authentic connection.
In order to do that, mix automation with real-time interaction on the platform itself. I recommend you pick one or two times a day that you choose to be live on the social media site. Take time to reply to people, share others’ posts, and answer questions. If this seems daunting, remember – you only need to do this on one to three platforms! You’re not looking to establish yourself on every social media site out there.
By having automation increase your efficiency, but still choosing to interact live on a social media site for a short time each day, you can boost your authenticity without spending your life on social media.
Focus On Shepherding Toward the Sale
One of the things that makes social media so frustrating is that it can be very hard to tell if you are getting much return on your investment. As a result, it’s important to always be shepherding your followers toward the sale.
Of course, I don’t mean obnoxious hard-selling or overwhelming your feed with company advertising. I mean that you interact with people authentically, but really work to find where your product or service meets their specific needs. Encourage them to get onto your email list. Offer them free information. Direct them to your website to review FAQ’s or read your blog.
As you offer quality assistance and content, people will come to feel they know you and can trust you. They will feel you understand their needs. When that familiarity and trust is built, your target market will want to buy from you.
Creating a social media routine isn’t easy, but the three steps above will make it much more manageable. Focus on a few high-return platforms. Mix automation with real-time interaction. And focus on shepherding your followers toward the sale. With these techniques, you’ll be able to create a social media routine that works for your and builds your business.
What’s your biggest challenge in social media marketing? Share in the comments!