• BY LORI GRAHAM, THE TIMES SEPTEMBER 20, 2012

     

    As a small business owner, I know what it’s like to wear many hats.

    At times it can be super exciting, and at others, well, super exhausting. And these days, it’s not about if you’re going to add social media to your must-do list, it’s about how you’re going to do it engagingly and efficiently.

    This is a common concern amongst many entrepreneurs and even companies that have multiple staff members.

    To relieve some of the angst, here are some tried and true Social Chicks tips to consider.

    Create a calendar.

    Get your hands on a 12-month calendar and start mapping out what’s happening in your business, your industry, with your clients, suppliers, etc.

    Keep your thoughts and descriptions high level at this point. No need to get into a lot of detail here.

    Once your yearly review is complete, view the details in a quarterly snapshot.

    Notice if any themes are emerging. Maybe all your trade shows are happening in the winter and your speaking engagements in the fall.

    Now you can start looking at each month and planning for specific social media posts. And when you think about your posts, think visual.

    If you’re heading out to tradeshows, be sure to pack your camera. Take pictures while you’re on the road, of your booth, the people that visit your booth, the winners of your prize draws, and so on.

    The benefit of your social media calendar is that you won’t be posting off the cuff, your staff will know what’s coming down the pike, how to best prepare for it, and you’ll feel organized (which is a huge win in my books!)

    Schedule your posts.

    Okay, so I may get some flack with this suggestion, but I’m okay with that.

    There are tons of social media gurus out there that frown upon scheduling posts.

    They say it’s not authentic and that you can only have genuine conversations if you’re posting in real time.

    Well, I say poo poo to that theory.

    I’m an advocate for scheduling and here’s why.

    Scheduling your posts is about being strategic , putting your calendar into action, keeping an eye on and engaging with your community.

    Scheduling your posts does not mean you’re instantly eligible for a three-month vacation from your social media.

    Rather, each day you should log into your social media profiles and engage with your fans and followers.

    Because after all, social media is social!

    Scheduled posts mixed with real time posts can grow your followers and contribute excellent value to your community.

    Make best friends with your smartphone. Your smartphone is a huge part of a successful social media strategy.

    All social media platforms allow you to set up notifications that can be sent directly to your phone when a fan comments on your Facebook page, mentions you on Twitter or invites you to connect on LinkedIn.

    These notifications allow you to carry on with all of the other tasks that are required of you when operating your small business.

    By receiving notifications, you’ll instantly know if you need to respond to a post immediately or if it can wait until you return to your desk.

    If your customer finds a million bucks in the wallet they just purchased from your store and notify that they want to share it with you through a tweet, you may want to know sooner than later. Just sayin’.

    If you’re looking for further social media insights or want to offer a comment or additional tips, you can get social and ‘like’ The Social Chicks on Facebook or ‘follow’ us on Twitter at @thesocialchicks.

    – Lori Graham is the owner of Six Degrees Marketing Inc. and is happy to answer your social media questions. Feel free to post them below.

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