One question I often hear regarding the implementation of social media for a business or organization is, “Who has the time?” It’s true that carving out time for tweeting and Facebooking and all the other tasks associated with social media is a big challenge for businesses regardless of size, but that shouldn’t hold you back from utilizing such a powerful (and free!) tools.
Here are some simple tips that can help you or your business “find the time” for social media.
1. Provide your community manager with a smartphone. Yes, you heard me—buy their smartphone and pay for their service. I know you are on a budget and that providing employees with phones seems excessive, but the person managing your online community should be available to tweet, post, and respond to customer service questions at all times—even when they are in the dentist chair. Providing a smartphone and incorporating it into both your social media plans and their job description will indeed pay off. Your community manager is now able to manage anywhere and anytime—and they will use that ability to your advantage.
2. Have a plan in place. I don’t just mean social media—you need a communications plan that incorporates all the ways you reach out to your audience. Without a plan that identifies your goals, audience, content strategy, and tools, you are operating in the dark, hoping to eventually hit a target. That’s not a great idea if you are trying to get a return on investment (ROI). Regardless of your organization’s size, you need something written down.
3. Get help. Social media and digital technology are ever changing fields, and to stay on top of trends and know how to best use every tool is a challenge—especially when you are managing many other tasks. Having a digital strategist on retainer to answer questions, provide assistance with your messaging, and help with troubleshooting will make things easier, and in the long run you will find you have more time.
4. Consider outsourcing. Ideally, someone on your staff can incorporate social media into their job, dedicating two or more hours per day to community management. No one will do a better job as the voice of your company than a dedicated employee. Unfortunately, the reality is that not every business has these resources, and tacking social media management onto the job description of an overworked employee uninterested in the task is not an effective approach. Oftentimes at SocialNicole, we work in tandem with a point person at the organization to ensure that when we assist in community management we share an insider’s voice and maintain a consistent presence.
5. Be disciplined. Schedule 15–30 minutes 2–3 times per day to check in and be present on your company channels (usually less time for a small businesses). Make this a part of the job description, and make sure it gets done.