Publisher Channel Content by GetApp.com For many small businesses, the problem of tackling social media isn’t finding the right platform, it’s finding the time to like, post and share. If you’re not already networking on social media, you’re completely missing the boat. Existing customers and future leads, are already looking for you online, especially on social channels, so you need to make an appearance or risk being left on the dock, out there rusting in the cold. Consider that 50 percent of all purchases made are based on recommendations found on social media sites. Furthermore, brand names are mentioned an average of 90 times per week in conversations with friends, family and coworkers. These valuable conversations are already happening and it’s vital that you’re part of these discussions. Decisions, decisions For those of us who are pondering the possibilities of the many different platforms available, Facebook and Linkedin are great places to start, especially for businesses. Once you have a command of either one of these two platforms, you can branch out to others like Twitter and Pinterest, or consider using a tool that allows you to manage multiple platforms from one location, like Social Mention. As the title of this post suggests, we can use a simple four-hour social media strategy to budget our time wisely and get the most out of social media marketing. Once you’ve set up your account, it’s time to employ our four-hour social media strategy and soon we will master these platforms: Hour 1 – Cultivating After we’ve set up our account(s), we need to find the best content that is relevant to our business or industry and what our audience will find interesting or useful. Possible sources include Google Trends and Buzzfeed where you can input your relative business, industry or service into a search bar and see what topics are hot and trending on the internet. Alternatively, you could employ a content curation publishing platform, such as Scoop.it, which allows you to quickly discover content relevant to your business, curate it, and publish it straight to your social media channel. We asked Ian Cleary, Founder of Marketing & Tech blog, RazorSocial, which tools he uses for cultivating content for social media. Ian picked out the following services: Trendspottr: “Based on complex algorithms, it finds content that is about to trend. It’s always interesting to see content before it takes off.” Buzzsumo – “Buzzsumo allows me to filter on content related to keywords that have the most shares for the current day.” Contentgems – “Based on keywords, it sends you an email each day with popular content.” While cultivating content, use this time to consider scheduling. Different social media platforms have better engagement and acceptance rates than others. According to this infographic: Facebook is flying high on weekdays between 1 PM and 4 PM, peaking on Wednesdays at 3 PM, while early in the morning and late at night on the weekends it’s pretty stagnant. LinkedIn is better Tuesday through Thursdays, peaking from noon to 6 PM. Rates during the Monday rush and Friday weekend anticipation are the slowest. The Twitterverse lights up Monday through Thursday in the afternoon between 1pm and 3 PM, while daily after 8 PM and Fridays after 3 PM, tweeps are sleepy. “To identify the best time to post on Twitter I use Socialbro, which shows when most of my audience is online,” said Ian Cleary. Utilizing this type of important data can help avoid content falling upon blind eyes and deaf ears. Hour 2 – Generating Once we’ve located our material, we need to craft it into an actual form of readable data and be sure to include photos, videos, infographics and/or other images that will further entertain our audience. Kissmetric reports that social posts with photos get 53 percent more likes, 104 percent more comments and 84 percent more clicks than mere text alone. “Consider how you present your data for your reader”, said Lilach Bullock, Co-Founder & Director of Digital Marketing Agency, Comms Axis. “Rather than displaying data in text form it’s worthwhile making it much more visual. Infographics are great for this, particularly animated video infographics. Short and succinct, they can convert data quickly whilst capturing the reader’s attention. Hour 3 – Communicating Time needs be spent communicating with our followers and friends. It is best to split this hour into ten or fifteen minutes daily to check in online. Make your presence known on social media platforms, respond to posts, thank users for their likes, and offer opinions and helpful advice. If you happen to come across something negative, don’t delete it, instead offer a solution to the problem. Hour 4 – Management To properly manage our social media platforms, take time to find others to follow that are relevant to our business or industry. Connecting with them will increase exposure and gather more followers along the way. As mentioned above, this type of management allows you to quickly nip problems in the bud before they go viral and become an embarrassment. Take a moment to look into what strategies are the most effective and which could use some more work. A little bit of attention, perhaps a change-up or some polishing and attention to detail can go a long way. Bonus tip! To truly succeed on social platforms, refrain from going after a hard sale and instead approach this strategy as being a helpful advisor and friend. People remember this type of outreach and will value your brand and business and recommend you to others with sharing. ______________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. Today, it is part of the Small Biz Trends stable of websites and receives over 300,000 unique views per month. Would you like to write for us? An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator.