Today, I bring you a guest post from post from Maikel Vanhees.
* * *
Over the past months I noticed a trend among the small businesses we work with at Likify; they know social marketing is important but they don’t have the time to execute their strategy on a daily basis.
For those of you really pressed for time, you can manage Twitter in 20 minutes per day. For those who want to take it one step further: I believe you can successfully maintain an online presence in 1 hour per day. The key to this is planning.
We have successfully advised businesses with this approach and we want to share it with you! So lets get down to it! I’ll give you the schedule, and break down the thought behind it afterwards.
The one-hour schedule
- Read articles from your favorite blogs.
- Use Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule the articles you want to share.
- Schedule the tweets/shares to be sent out at the most effective moments for your audience. Use a tool like Tweriod to find out when these moments are.
- Don’t just post a link to the article, but add a personal insight or opinion about the content.
- Scroll through your social streams and retweet or share 2-4 interesting things.
- Respond to your messages and mentions.
- Do a few twitter searches for your field: e.g. if you are a real estate agent in London you could search ‘real estate london’, ‘properties london’, ‘housing london’ etc.
- Reply to things where you can weigh in in a useful manner, don’t be a salesman but just help people out.
- Find new people to follow. Tools like Listorious or Followerwonk can help.
- Find some new blogs to subscribe to. Good sources are: Alltop or Technorati
Why does this work?
When we noticed the lack of time in small businesses for the first time, we decided to apply the 80/20 rule to social presence. It would surprise me if you haven’t heard of this principle before, but just in case you haven’t: the 80/20 rule basically states that 80% of results can be attained by 20% of the possible effort. So evidently you want to identify that 20%.
With social media, people look for interesting or entertaining content and interactions. They don’t want to see your sales pitch there.
So how do you get people to engage with you without producing a lot of own content?
You become a valuable source of other interesting and entertaining content and interactions. And the process of becoming that source can be split up in to 2 processes: Discovery and Engagement.
Discovery (40 mins per day)
To become a source of valuable information you need to produce or find that valuable information. Now, if you have the expertise and time for it producing quality content is very much worth it. However it is time intensive, and most small businesses don’t have the time to create their own content and following. So we need to find it elsewhere and turn ourselves into ‘curators’. This is why you will spend 30 minutes per day crawling through blogposts and sharing content.
The 10 minutes spent finding new people and blogs is very important. You can’t just follow the most famous blogs since everyone already reads those. Find lesser known sources of quality content and share them. You will be helping your followers by providing value, helping the writers by giving them exposure and in turn helping yourself by becoming a valuable source.
Top off your week by aggregating the most interesting content you found that week in a blogpost. Blue Kite Marketing does this excellently with their Reading Roundups.
Engagement (20 mins per day)
A second, but equally important process is engaging with people. Remember, there is “social” in social media. Answer questions, make meaningful connections and get to know new people.
This can easily result in discovering new information or finding a new prospect! Become the ‘go to’ guy in your industry by replying to questions outside of your followers. Participate in discussions and help people out. Be a genuinely nice person and people will connect with you.
Getting started (1 hour)
Kickstart this process by spending one hour:
- Find good blogs to follow, and add them to your RSS reader;
- Research what your niche wants to read about;
- Set up a free Hootsuite account to monitor everything in 1 view;
- Find the top influencers and follow/friend them; and
- Spend some time adding links to your social accounts to your email signature, website, products, packaging or print material to grow your following.
Maikel Vanhees is the digital strategist for Likify. We offer brands a way to connect their in-store experience to social media through the use of mobile technology. You can follow us on Twitter.com/likifyapp.