In a recent article published on the Sales Force blog, over 70% of the Internet population use social networks, and 42% of those social media users have had a conversation with a brand via social networks.
Obviously, the marketing opportunity for brands and businesses to reach current and potential customers has not been lost, as more and more and more businesses have brought on social media and community managers (or entire departments) to man the growing need for this marketing channel.
But, with the field of social media management still fairly new, and budgets often still small (social media is, after all, “free”), the onus has been put on social media managers to find creative ways to maximize their time and efforts without spending big dollars.
This is especially true at many small and medium sized businesses, where the person in charge of social media also has a lot of other tasks and responsibilities on their plate (I myself am in this boat). Here are some of the tips, tricks and resources I’ve used to help become an efficient one-woman social media machine.
1. Curate Content
Unless you are working at one of a handful of businesses that have dedicated large budgets for content creation, you are probably going to have to get creative about your content strategy. Even if you aren’t spending huge amounts of time creating your own content, finding relevant and interesting content to share on your social networks can be a huge job in and of itself.
There are a few tools I use that make content curation easier:
I’ve been a Tweet Deck fan for years, and it remains one of my favorite ways to sift through the inordinate amount of tweets and content that’s out there. It’s well worth the time to set up and create valuable topic based lists that make it easier for you to keep up on the people and content you (and your network) care about.
I’ve created lists with local technology folks, media companies, social media experts and more. It’s a great way to quickly scan through the most important stuff that’s being shared on Twitter.
Yes, we’re tooting our own horn here, but Postano is seriously one of my biggest time savers and favorite tools for content curation. Because Postano is able to aggregate feeds from a wide variety of content sources–Twitter hashtags, lists and users, Facebook pages, RSS feeds, Google Alerts and more—it can literally become your one stop shop for all the best and most relevant content that’s out there on the web.
I’ve created a Postano that aggregates a few of my best Twitter lists, relevant hashtags to my industry, RSS feeds from a few a favorite blogs, Facebook pages from social media experts, as well as set Google Alerts for a few key terms.
The best part of Postano? It goes behind any tweet, RSS link, status update etc. and “unpacks” the content—extracting the media (link, photo, or video) and displaying it in a super visual and easily digestible way.
I start every morning looking at my Postano and can honestly say it probably saves me hours every week poking around the internet for content.
Oh, and did I mention you can tweet and share all of your aggregated content without leaving the page? Hello big timesaver.
2. Measure, Measure, Measure
There are a few good tools out there that help you track your social media efforts.
I have been loving Sprout Social lately. It breaks down demographics for my Facebook and Twitter accounts, tells me how many retweets my content got, what times are the most successful for my content, how many click-throughs and more.
Oh, and if you upgrade your account, you even get to integrate directly with your Google Analytics account, which makes tracking campaigns and other marketing efforts even easier.
Other good social analytics tools:
- Topsy Analytics – search and compare up to 3 queries at once
- SharedCount.com – see your shares, likes, tweets, and more all in one place.
- Vizify– visualizes your tweet activity (free 30 day trial)
- Opensiteexplorer – SEOMoz tool that allows you to compare link metrics from several domains at once.
- TwitSprout shows how many retweets/impressions ect you are receiving.
- Facebook Insights show clicks, impressions, shares etc.
3. Optimize your Twitter Account
Twitter can be overwhelming, so optimizing it to work the most efficiently for you will not only save time and make your life easier, but it can also help you do your job better and more effectively.
Here are some tools that allow you to optimize your Twitter account:
- ManageFilter.com allows you to see who unfollowed you, who engages the most etc. Weed out followers not providing value.
How to Know WHEN to Share Social Content:
- Tweriod.com show hourly graphs when your followers are online and prime times to tweet your content.
4. Know Who To Follow
I’m one of the lucky people who got early access to an amazing product called Plexus. Plexus is basically a Twitter search engine that will pull back the top and most influential Twitter users based on a set of keywords. It seriously rocks my socks and makes finding the best, most interesting people and content super easy.
5. Have fun
I see so many business Twitter accounts out there that are approaching the whole social media marketing thing wrong. While social media is yet another marketing channel, you have to think about how people like to interact and share in these social networking spaces.
Be personable, be genuine, make real connections to real people (it is called social networking, after all). People don’t like to be blasted with content. It’s important you engage with others, start conversations and respond to their posts.
You should also focus on sharing interesting content, preferably with rich media (photos, videos, links). Stale auto tweets of blog posts won’t get you very far, so remember how you like to behave online, what content you like to share- then follow suit with your own efforts.