Guest Post by Jason Amunwa
Ok, you got the memo: countless blog posts and social media experts are out there advocating numerous things – Be entertaining! Be responsive! Optimize your content for search engines! These are all good tenets, but when it comes down to it, how are you supposed to run your small business, and tend to all of this stuff?
Sometimes, the question overwhelms me just in thinking about it, so I thought I’d provide some practical social media marketing tips to streamline your efforts, and alleviate the strain of continuously putting out new content.
It doesn’t always have to be perfect
The breathtaking velocity at which information scuttles around these days has led to people lowering their demand for perfection where it’s impractical. Case in point: the wildly popular Flip video camera. This little gadget does one thing – it records videos, and lets you upload them. It doesn’t let you edit, it doesn’t take still pics; some models don’t even let you zoom in and out. Yet the Flip has scooped up almost a 20% chunk of the oligarchic camcorder market because it was good enough for most people’s needs – they didn’t want to spend $400, mess around with 65 buttons, or worry about installing proprietary video editing application suites.
The same applies to your social media marketing – embrace the ‘Good Enough Revolution’. Remember that it really doesn’t have to be perfect – speed and timeliness will reap bigger rewards, plus, you can always go back and correct mistakes afterward.
You don’t always have to reply
It’s probably well understood that the reason social media is so special is because for the first time in history, customers can reach the same broad audience as the company/brand, creating spontaneous, ongoing conversations between them, instead of carefully-vetted monologues to a silent populace. Yet for all the technological advancement, one of the most underrated conversational skills remains the ability to hold one’s peace.
Definitely let customers know you’re listening and responsive, but replying to each and every comment out there is impractical, and a drain on your already-scarce resources. Learn to recognize when someone’s bitching just to bitch, rather than highlighting a legitimate complaint. If you’ve been focusing on building a loyal audience, they may actually take care of it for you.
Don’t go it alone
The tools are out there to allow you to share the workload of maintaining conversations with your customers. Facebook allows multiple administrators to control a single page, as does Twitter with its corporate accounts.
Take turns contributing to your company blog – not only will it lessen the likelihood of Bloggers’ Block, but it can be a good thing to have variety by putting multiple voices and perspectives in one place. No internal staff? Solicit awesome guest bloggers (like myself ;) to contribute content, all for the price of a back-link!
Build a content buffer
Most blogging platforms (and even Twitter, via the many apps that sit on top of it) these days give you the ability to schedule when your post goes live, so by all means take advantage of the ups-and-downs of your creative cycle – create a backlog of time-independent content that can be released in a steady stream, and fill in the gaps in-between with more topical info as and when inspiration strikes. This way, you maintain a steady stream of content without the pressure of “Oh God, what can I blog about this week?”
Play to your strengths
If writing more than 30 words is akin to forced dentistry to you, don’t do it! Take some photos instead. Record it as a podcast. Tweet about it. The goal here is to put out useful and interesting content that you personally are passionate about, so play to your strengths, and forget about the rest. Being everywhere and average is easily trumped by being a star that everyone knows where to find.
What do you think? Are there any other methods you’ve used to avoid paralysis by social media overload? Let me know in the comments!
Jason Amunwa is a small business marketing consultant and designer, with experience creating innovative strategies for brands big and small, designing creative campaigns across multiple channels, and most of the stuff that happens in-between. His blog, “The Zest”, provides practical marketing tips for small businesses and entrepreneurs