According to recent research by LinkedIn, 94% of all SMBs in the United States leverage social media for marketing themselves to their audiences. And a lot of them are pretty good at it, too. 60% of SMBs that embraced social media claimed that social media marketing got them new customers.
In fact, the more successful your small business is, the better it becomes at social media marketing (a chicken and egg story?). The study found that 91% hyper-growth SMBs grew brand awareness via social media and 82% garnered more leads through the medium—more leads, more brand awareness, and more new customers.
- The majority of SMBs (43%) spend 6 or more hours per week on social media marketing.
- Over a third of SMBs post to social media several times a week. Another third of them post at least once every single day.
- Finding the right content to post was the most time-consuming aspect of social media marketing.
Since most SMBs are lean operations where every extra pair of hands counts, it’s no wonder that at least a third of all owners want to reduce the time they spend on social media, notwithstanding its benefits to the organization.
So, let’s do exactly that. Here are ten simple ways you can squeeze more out of your social media marketing hours.
Brainstorm as a Group
Studies show that small businesses can usually spare just two people for their marketing efforts, with one of those being the proprietor of the business. While two heads are definitely better than one, brainstorming for inspiration and new ideas works best with large groups.
If your business can’t afford a large marketing team, pull in people from other departments—product, customer care, sales, manufacturing, you name it. Get them into a room at least once a week to toss around ideas that your brand can put its weight behind on social media. This interaction with various teams will help refresh your perspective and offer insights that you may never discover otherwise. The best part? It’s free.
Know What’s Trending
Another important aspect of social media is keeping up with the latest. Content that revolves around buzzing topics gets more attention and, consequently, more shares on social media. For example, content about Google’s mobile update was all the rage a couple of months ago, as readers wanted to know what to expect, how to tackle the change, and how to recover from its fury.
Pick tools like Google Trends and BrandWatch to stay up to the minute on what’s making waves on the World Wide Web. Create content or comment on things that matter from the trending topics to set off a new chain of discussions with your audience.
Welcome Contributions from Other Teams
Just as brainstorming with people from other teams for content ideas is an enlightening experience, approaching them for original content to post on your social media can be a revelation, too.
Just because you manage social media does not mean that all the onus of getting new content rests on your shoulders. Invest in a project management and collaboration tool like Wrike, and get key contributors from various teams on your project. By scheduling posts via the tool and sharing data to help them out along the way, you’ll not just speed up the content creation process—you’ll also be empowering your colleagues. Double win!
When it boils down to it, sometimes you simply do not have enough hours in the day to do it all. Most entrepreneurs will be familiar with that feeling that they’re falling behind on everything with all the work they have. Once you know what you’re going to post about, lighten your load and get someone else to do it for you.
Source freelance writers from sites like Outsource, where you get a chance to view your writers’ work before you assign them your content. A tool like Due will help you identify the exact number of hours put in by your outsourced content creators, making payment processing a real breeze.
There’s No Shame in Curation
Not all content needs to be created from scratch. Some of the most popular content on social media happens to be retweets, repins, and shared posts created by others. By curating content that your audience will appreciate, you’re freeing up your time and lowering your content creation costs.
Use a bookmarking tool like StumbleUpon to discover new and interesting content in your niche in a matter of seconds. Just make sure you acknowledge the right sources when you repost the content on your pages.
Never Stop Filling that Pipeline
By building a deep pipeline of high-quality content, you’re helping yourself out for those inevitable dry days when you either have no time or no inspiration for fun content on social media.
Use a combination of fresh and curated content to keep your social media pipeline full to bursting.
Schedule Posts with Social Media Management Tools
The whole process of posting content across multiple social networks can be a huge time-suck. Wriggle out of this spot in the most elegant way possible—with a good social media management tool. Not only will you be able to simultaneously post to multiple platforms all at once, you can even schedule content to be posted in the future on those rare days that you have some extra time on your hands. From Buffer to HootSuite, there’s a variety of old and new tools that can help you do all of that and much more.
Scheduling posts in advance will make sure your social networks have a steady stream of content, thus keeping users engaged. It also frees out time for more pressing things like converting an interested lead into a customer.
Refurbish and Recycle Posts
Just as the planet prefers recycled materials to new ones, your star posts of the past have proven their worth and have a viable audience that already loves them.
Without overdoing it, selectively repost old content after making the relevant changes to refresh it and make it more apt for the here and now.
Invite Users to Contribute
Users who are engaged with your brand make the best candidates for some great content. Solicit content— articles, images, product reviews—from your users, and credit them for it on your social networks. You get your free content, while your contributing users get their fifteen minutes of fame.
Slice of Life Posts
When nothing else works, you can always resort to candid pictures, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, and slice of life posts. If there’s one thing that users love on social media, it’s the chance to peek behind the curtain.
There’s a lot you can do with your content on social media without hitting a brick wall every now and then. It only takes a bit of planning, scheduling, and digging into the material that’s already available to you.
How do you go about making your content truly social? And when it’s truly social, does it still qualify as marketing?
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