I mean really - Facebook pages, Facebook groups, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, how do we stay on top of them all?
And that is just posting, what about if you want to actually talk to people online?
How do you manage that?
I am a big believer in Social Media as a tool to build your business. It is one of the best and cheapest tools you can use to grow get customer to come to know you, like you, trust you and then buy from and refer you.
But only if it is done well.
So what do I mean by “well”?
I know myself when I am rushing to post something, I can share information that is not in alignment with my target audience. It doesn’t look right, it's not sharing information of value and they don’t respond to it.
When you are a small business owner, often you are the only person doing your social media, so you need to get organised and make strategic choices about where you are going to focus your energy, rather than just a scatter gun approach to social media.
Social Media Choices
We can’t be everywhere online all the time.
So rather than thinking you need to be on Instagram because someone told you, you need to focus on whether your current and future customers are there. Are they truly inside Instagram?
For me - as much as I love Instagram, many of my target clients are currently not within the platform. They are learning and becoming curious, but not a lot of them are inside this platform.
How do I know this?
Research online via reports such as the Sensis Social Media Report 2017. Plus experience and experimentation of the actual platform. Looking at who is interacting with me, what kind of people are talking inside Instagram. Yes doing some old fashioned leg work.
Are my clients inside Facebook? Yes - because the numbers of people who actually have a Facebook account is astounding. Everyone is on Facebook.
Are they on LinkedIn? Yes - because small business owners network with other small business owners inside LinkedIn. It is a great space to connect with like minds across the small business and corporate sectors.
What about Twitter? My target clients, not so much, however, if I wanted to build up a network of industry influences, build a speaker profile perhaps I might. But do my small business owners really use twitter? Not necessarily.
So where should I put my energy?
Facebook and LinkedIn.
Does this mean I won't use Twitter or Instagram?
No, as I need to be across all platforms as part of my business. I will have clients that are quite active on those platforms because their clients are actually active within them.
What is more important for me is to maximize my time engaging with my potential audience in the platforms that I can find them.Scheduling posts that I can share across networks make this so much easier, freeing up time to actually do what I only I can do - engage with my audience. You need to be present, create and respond to conversations.
Social Media Scheduling Options
If you are not scheduling your posts, you need to actually start doing that because this is how you free up time in your business to do the quality social media posts that will build community.
If you are just using Facebook - then you can schedule ALL of your posts inside Facebook. (Which Facebook actually loves).
If you go to publishing tools inside your Facebook page, you can create and schedule posts in advance of when they need to appear. By spending time batching your posts in advance you will free up time in your business to actually engage with your potential customers via social media. It also ensures that your posts are
- Quality posts
- They are on message & in alignment with your business goals
If you are using multiple platforms then you need to be using a scheduling tool.
Tools worth looking at for social media scheduling
Smarter Queue - whilst this has a bit of a learning curve to get started, the visual process is excellent. You can see at a glance via the colour codes, the kinds of posts you are sharing. This is great if you are sharing loads of content, you own and others. It also allows you to fill up posts and recycle your historic posts automatically. Reposting old blog posts is a great way to keep your good content swirling around. Content curation is also part of this platform.
You can currently post to Facebook profiles, pages and groups; LinkedIn profiles and pages; Twitter accounts, and Instagram account from within Smarter Queue. More are on their way ( could there be more!)
You can find out more about Smarter Queue here - https://smarterqueue.com/
Plans start at $19.90/mth USD which makes this a great small business plan and they do have a free trial.
Sendible - This is the solution I have been using for about 2 years now. I have blogged about this solution in the past here. It is also a very comprehensive tool and allows you to post to all platforms depending on your account setup. Like Smarter Queue - Sendible allows you to drop content into a refillable and re-sharable queue that will repost your older content for you. Getting more life for your old content is a great bonus to look for in any social media scheduling tool.
Sendible also allows you to look for content to share, known as content curation. Often we will post content that is not our own but is useful and valuable for our customers and target audience. You can set up searches that will bring in content from around the world that is potentially worth sharing with your audience and with a few clicks this can be dropped into a calendar for posting at the appropriate time.
Sendible also integrates with CANVA allowing you to create and post directly to your social media calendar.
Sendible connects to the most platforms - a reason why I really like it. So if you are across many social channels, including Pinterest and Youtube, then this could be your platform of choice. However, it really is for POWER social media users only.
You can access this here - https://sendible.com/
Sendible Lite starts at $49 USD per month and they do offer a trial period.
Meet Edgar - Similar to both Smarter Queue and Sendible, Meet Edgar may be an option for you if you have less need to post into other channels as they only allow you to post to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Most of the automation and content recycling options as outlined above are present in Meet Edgar as well. This is not a product I have personally tried as it does not cover all the channels that I need but I know many people who would be happy to outline their experience for you.
You can find out more about Meet Edgar here - https://meetedgar.com
Plans start from $49 USD per month ( you get a free month if you pay annually in advance and there is a 14 day trial)
Agorapulse - Another small business option the covers 5 different channels, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google+. They also include content scheduling, social listening, evergreen content management and some nice reporting features. It is not a platform that I have used, but I do know that it is a good option for small business owners.
Pricing starts at $49 USD/mth
You can find out more about Agorapulse here - https://www.agorapulse.com
Later - This is a great Instagram scheduling tool. Not only does it allow you to plan your instagram feed and see what it will actually look like, but you can save information to use later, get analytics from your results plus also post to other social media channels. So if you are finding that Instagram is your social media platform of choice, you might benefit from using this tool to also then post into Facebook, or Twitter.
Later has a great FREE plan if you are only posting to Instagram and only need to post 30 times a month. Paid plans with more platforms and more posts start from $9/mth USD
Find out more here -
I use Later almost every day for a few of my clients.
Planoly - Another Instagram scheduling tool. This has a very nice visual interface and great online APP. Just like Later, this allows you to post to Instagram in a 2-step process, you are prompted to post, and with a few clicks, you can correct have your Instagram post live. Like later is also has some nice reporting features included and a good preview feature with drag and drop functionality to move your images into the most appropriate place for your feed. It is purely Instagram only though.
Planoly is in a tight tussle with Later and so their pricing models are very similar
There is a great FREE plan if you just have the one account and only to post 30 times a month.
Paid plans start at $9/mth USD
You can find out more about PLANOLY here - https://www.planoly.com
This is what I personally use for my Instagram account - mainly because I like the ability to plan out a grid and Planoly allows you to play with drafts of how you feed might look. That is really the only difference for me. Planoly looks 'prettier' when working with it and often that just might make you feel more comfortable.
Hootsuite - This has a good free tool, particularly good if you are a big twitter user and are needing track hashtag groups or people quickly. However, it is not a plan I recommend small business owners use as Hootsuite really is moving more into the enterprise space.
Paid plans with more social media channels start at $25 USD/mth there is a 30-day trial.
Other social media marketing options
Buffer - https://buffer.com/ Buffer has some nice integrations that make sharing content you find across your social channels very easy. Good if you are a big twitter user.
Co-Schedule - https://coschedule.com - this is a very nice platform to work with, Big Blue Digital is currently trialing this platform for you. It is work a look at it allows to review your social media marketing from a campaign approach and also pull in email marketing, events, and product launches. I am also examining this item.
Sprout Social - and oldy but still, a goody, although a little pricey. https://sproutsocial.com/
Post Planner - https://www.postplanner.com/ This little tool has a great option that will show you post ideas that get great engagement.
Promo Republic - if you think your social media images suck and you don't want to learn how to use Canva, this might be a great way to kill 2 birds with one stone. Create images and schedule them from within the same tool. I have given this a test run and it is worth a look - particularly if you have no real idea where to start and I really stuck for ideas, but want to DIY. http://promorepublic.com/en/
There are loads of them out there and they truly make all the difference. Think between 5-10 hours per week difference.
I have personally found and everyone I teach has found that when you plan your content and schedule it via social media automation tools it truly does free up time.
Time to find better content to share.
Time to create better content to share and most importantly.
Time to engage and build relationships with the people that matter to you, you current and potential customers.
Digital Ascent – a 10 week course in marketing and digital strategy for small business
You know that there is more to an effective online business presence than just having a website
Which is probably why you have a Facebook business page – that’s kind of functioning. And why you popped something up on LinkedIn. Right around the time you began to implement an email marketing strategy – which petered out soon after. Then someone said you had to blog. And what on earth are you meant to post on Instagram and why?
To properly and powerfully benefit from the online space, you need all these pieces of the puzzle to fit together perfectly.
In addition, the overall picture has to align with your goals, ethics, and overall business objectives.
If yours doesn’t, we’ve created something especially for you.