How to Effectively Leverage Social Media With Limited Time Guest Author A Guest Post by Katie Alteri, Content Marketing Manager at Fora Financial. As a small business owner, you’re accustomed to balancing a variety of tasks. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough hours in the day to complete everything you’d like to do to – like growing your business’s marketing efforts. Have your small business’s social media accounts been put on the back burner? If so, don’t get discouraged. It’s a common misconception that in order to be successful on social media, you have to devote a lot of time to it. We have some simple hacks that will help you develop your business’s social media presence- without taking away too much time from your other responsibilities: Determine where your customers are posting – You might think that in order to become a social media guru, you’ll need to create an account for your business on every platform. This isn’t necessary, we promise! Don’t bother posting to a platform that your customer base isn’t interested in. Instead, see which platforms your customers are interacting with you on now, and focus your efforts there. For instance, if you own a retail store, you might get great engagement on Facebook, while another industry does better on Google+ or Twitter. Not every industry or business will be the same, so concentrate on sites that your audience appreciates. Think about what content will resonate with your customers – With limited time, you’ll need to be strategic about what you share on social media. Think about your customers – what’s important to them? What will keep them coming back to your page, or even better, entice them to hit the ‘follow’ button? It might be exclusive offers, educational content related to your industry or daily inspiration. Whatever it is, remember that your business is aiming to solve the consumer’s problem, or supply them with something they need. By keeping that in mind, every post will serve a purpose! Keep a social media list – Whenever you get an idea, write it down. Keep a calendar of upcoming holidays and ‘national days’ that relate to your brand. This way, you’ll always have content ready to go. When you’d like to post, you can review this list, and choose relevant content to share. Hootsuite has some super helpful social media templates – including a social media content calendar to help you plan ahead. Ask customers to help out – Another way to distribute content that you know your customers will enjoy is to ask them to send it to you! For instance, if you own a restaurant, ask patrons to take delectable food pictures, and have them ‘tag’ your page. Then, share the posts that you think will look best on your profile. Reward customers with a gift certificate or another prize. This is a great way to bond with customers, and receive excellent content! Make it a team effort – If you’re lacking in time or creativity, get your employees involved! Hold a quick brainstorming session, where you all share ideas that will reflect your brand and help generate business. Then, take action! Delegate jobs to a few members on your team. Have someone write content, take pictures, and oversee the accounts. By designating these roles, you’ll all be contributing to your business’s social media pages, and no one will get overwhelmed. Add some hashtags – You may not be able to focus on social media outreach, but that’s where hashtags come in! On Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook, to name a few, hashtags help connect you with other users discussing the same topics as you. If you’re not sure which hashtags to use, sites like Hashtagify.me can help you figure out which hashtags are trending so you can give your social media posts added exposure. By adding relevant hashtags, you’ll be able to reach users who may not be following you, but are interested in the information that you’re sharing. More than likely, you’ll be able to gain new followers (that could convert into leads) with help from hashtags! Make images a priority – Not all industries have services or products that are easy to photograph, but having images to share on social media is important. If you don’t have time to take pictures, or your industry isn’t highly photographable, then you can consider utilizing a stock image service. There are some free options, but you may be better off paying for a higher quality site, like iStock. That way, you’ll be able to search for keywords that relate to your social posts, and have an image ready to post with it. You can also use free photo editing tools to create your own images, or to make stock images look more tailored to your brand. Use a post scheduling service – If you know that you can’t post to social media on a regular basis, using a scheduling service will make your life much easier! We suggest using Buffer, a free social media scheduling site that lets you write and schedule posts for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. When you have a moment, write all of your social posts for each platform, and schedule them via Buffer. It’s that simple! It doesn’t take hours and hours to produce content that resonates with customers. If you use your time wisely, and determine what will interest your customer base, then you’ll be able to improve your small business’s social media strategy. About the Author Katie Alteri is the content marketing coordinator at Fora Financial, a company that provides working capital solutions to small businesses across the U.S. Fora Financial can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.