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Improve Social Media Engagement Through Automation…

As a small business owner, you know that social media is important for growing your business. But managing social media accounts can be a lot of work. How do you keep managing social media from getting in the way of other important business tasks?

Here are some tips to minimize social distractions and automate much of your social media presence.

Only Do the Social Media That’s Relevant

Twitter. Facebook. Snapchat. Instagram. LinkedIn.

There are so many social media options out there and keeping up with all of them may seem impossible for your small business. That’s why you should limit the number of social platforms on which you participate. Try doing a better job on fewer social platforms rather than a poor job across too many.

Think about your audience and what social media they use. Instagram might make a lot of sense for someone who makes wedding cakes, but probably not for a dry cleaner.

Automate your Social Posting

You need to focus on your customers during business hours, so it’s important to automate most social media activity for your busy times. For example, if your business is open Monday through Friday, then Sunday afternoon is a great time to create your social media posts for the week.

social media iconsHere are a couple of tools that let you create and schedule social media posts:

  • Hootsuite: Hootsuite has a nifty platform to monitor social media and schedule posts. You can use many of Hootsuite’s features for free, including scheduling up to 20 social posts.
  • Buffer: Buffer is another popular social platform for managing posts. The free option lets you schedule up to 10 posts.

Platforms like these will optimize post scheduling times for you.

If you aren’t ready to try a platform like this, some social media services have their own post scheduling capabilities. Facebook, for example, let’s you choose any date and time in the future when you create a post.

Auto-Post Your Content

Do you create content for a blog? This content can double as social media.

There are many plugins for WordPress that will automatically post your latest blog entries to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social platforms.

WordPress’ creators have a plugin within the popular JetPack package called Publicize. This plugin will automatically post your content to as many as six different social media platforms whenever you publish.

Use an App for Faster Responses

It’s smart to automate much of your social media when you aren’t busy. It’s also important to respond quickly when customers talk about your business on social media.

Use an app—either the social media platform’s native app or ones offered by tools such as Buffer (see above)—to review customer comments about your business and respond even when you’re away from the computer.

Did someone compliment the pizza they had at your restaurant at lunch? Quickly like or retweet it so they know you’re paying attention. Was someone unhappy with their cold soup? Offer them an apology and a discount on their next purchase to maximize goodwill.

Control Your Social Media, Not the Reverse

Social media can help your business find new customers and engage with existing ones but it shouldn’t be a distraction from your other business tasks.

With some planning and the right tools, you can set most of the heavy lifting on autopilot and focus on what matters most for your business.

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