I’ve trained a number of entrepreneurs who wanted to take care of their own social media; some due to budget constraints, others because they didn’t feel there was the need to hire someone. Whatever your reason, make sure you can commit to what is needed before you embark on the online marketing journey.
If you’re ready to get started, here are three social media realities you need to consider before posting a single update or tweet.
You need to be realistic on the time you have to do your social media management and plan accordingly. Since you’ve already got a lot on your plate (and an entire business to run); taking care of your online presence won’t be number one on your ‘to do’ list. Furthermore, the time it will take you to do the important business tasks will take up most of your time.
If for example, you have an hour a week that will be enough to schedule content for maybe two or three platforms. You might even have a little time left over for engagement; it really depends on what networks you’re engaging on. Some social media channels, like LinkedIn, can take up to 30 minutes of your time. Facebook may take less of your time.
Social media management isn’t just random posting, which is why it’s not going to take you 37 seconds to do it. In fact, if you think automating everything on your platforms is doing social media right, you’ve got another thing coming.
Sure, being active by sharing valuable content is better than having your social media platforms do nothing; but content is only one piece of a social media strategy. It’s about dedicating the time to having conversations with your customers.
There’s a reason why social media managers exist, and it’s because managing and tracking results take time. More time than you have while also running your newly established business. However, it can be done if you set your expectations accordingly.
If you are randomly scheduling content with no objectives and you’re not engaging; you can’t expect to see an increase in sales. You can’t expect to see targeted community growth. You can’t expect to know what’s working and what is not.
What you can expect is an increase in visibility for the content you are sharing and a slow growth of your followers. Unfortunately, without engagement or targeted conversations you do not know who is following you.
Also to note on social media expectations is that with as little as 6 hours per week, the vast majority of marketers (95%+) indicated their social media efforts increased exposure for their businesses. Sales on the other hand is much more challenging to track and shows improvement after about 3 years of consistent social media presence and management. (The 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report)
Your number one goal with the limited time you have as an entrepreneur should be sharing valuable content with your target in mind and engaging to strengthen your relationships. If you can track that will help you with specific goals, but if you don’t have the time you shouldn’t expect to reach those goals.
Setting your social media goals before you even get started is critical. With a realistic idea of the time you have to manage your networks and consequently what you can expect from that management, you’ll also be able to set more realistic goals.
Having set goals will keep your time focused on the important social media tasks to achieve those goals. Goals will also allow you to know if you’re reaching objectives or if you need to change something.
As long as you’re realistic with the time you have to manage your social media accounts and what you can expect to achieve from your efforts you will not be disappointed. The truth is that social media takes time and a consistent effort; there is no magic formula or quick fix. Perseverance and patience are extremely important factors when getting started.