Social media really is most effective when you put together a strategy, have a plan for implementation and can devote at least an hour per day to engagement and content production. The reality is, most small businesses just can’t find an hour per day (sometimes even per week). While it may not be the most effective way to use social media, just 15 minutes per day can gain you some benefits. Here’s how:
Choose Your Weapon
Decide which social network makes the most sense for reaching your target audience — not where your industry is necessarily hanging out. Sometimes these are the same places, sometimes not. There’s definitely value in spending time online where your industry is, but in terms of value for your business, you want to be where your potential customers are. For many small businesses this may be Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn, but do a little bit of research to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
5 Minutes – Content Curation
15 minutes per day is probably not enough time to write full posts, but it should be enough time to find some great content to share. Find content that’s useful and valuable to your potential customers. I subscribe to a bunch of blogs and websites using Google Reader so I can quickly scan through headlines for valuable content. Once you find a few posts, share them on your network of choice. With tools like HootSuite or Ping.fm, you can even share the posts out to networks where you may not be spending time.
10 Minutes – Engagement & Conversation
The most important part of social media is being social. Spend 10 minutes just saying hi to people, commenting on others posts, or answering questions. This is where you’ll get the most bang for the buck since it builds relationships and helps people get to know you.
Tools of Choice
The key to spending only 15 minutes of time per day is making sure you have tools in place to make your tasks as easy as possible. Here are my picks:
- HootSuite – For scheduling posts, monitoring for responses and keywords, and measuring effectiveness (by clicks) of posts. Installing their Hootlet in your browser makes sharing content super easy.
- Google Reader – For scanning & reading lots of different content sources at once. Also hooks into Google Buzz to help distribute your curated content.
- Tumblr – If you have an extra 5-10 minutes, you can use a Tumblr blog as your base of operations. Tumblr is free and has great features for sharing content and posting just quotes or blurbs from other sources.
- WordPress – Generally has more customizability than Tumblr for blogging and may be worthwhile if you feel you’ll be able to devote more resources to your social media efforts in the future. There are a lot of free and paid templates for WordPress that can allow you to combine your blog and website into one place online. WordPress very easily transfers from the free hosted version to one you host yourself (which gives you even more control).
Thoughts? How do you get the most out of your limited time online?
(photo by Robert S. Donovan, on Flickr)