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As a Small Business Social Networking can Consume All Your Time… If You Do It the Way the “Experts” Tell You To


Well, take a breath. It’s not as bad as it seems. Yes, you need to be playing in social media if you run a business. No, you really don’t need to go at it with the level of time-sink they tell you is needed to keep your business from going under.As a small business owner, you’re already strapped for time just keeping your clients well served and keeping things running. Then you get a call from a social media consultant who plants a cockroach in your brain, telling you that you need need to be posting to this network 10 times a day, that one 8 times a day, the other one 27 times a week… it’s enough to make you want to scream (but from fear or frustration?)! It’s very similar to the SEO armageddon those types of companies pitch at you.

Here’s a pragmatic approach, and one that’s worked well for many of our clients…

Be realistic with your time and your budget. If you’ve got over $1000 a month to pay a social media company to put together a campaign for you, then more power to you – go for it! But if you’re like most smaller businesses, that budget just isn’t realistic and neither are the hours of every day it would require to follow through on the level of activity you’re hearing you need to be socializing at.

Know your customer/prospect base and apply the bulk of your efforts in reaching them on the networks they use most. Here’s a great infographic to help you zero in…

When you’ve got that dialed in, then you can get down to business. Using a tool like HootSuite, you can schedule social media posts well in advance. So set aside an hour or two a couple times a month and queue up your posts. HootSuite will let you send to most networks from a single entry. Use part of that time to troll around a bit for things you’d like to share – it doesn’t all have to be original content. If you’re reading trades or other journals and read articles that are interesting, share those as you read them. Infographics? People love them and Pinterest is a great source for them. Poke around and pin and share them or put them on a list, then when you do your schedule social media time, you can schedule them for posting.

All this said, one of the best things you can do to raise visibility for your site and your rep as an expert is to blog, and if possible add video posts to go along with them, like I do here. This is big mojo when it comes to search ranking and relevance.

So, yes, there is a special place in hell for social networks and would that we didn’t have to deal with them. But they aren’t going away. They also don’t need to be a Sword of Damocles hanging over you and your business. Just be realistic about it and don’t let it consume you.