Have you ever had this thought? "As a small business owner, I don't have time to update my Facebook status three times a day; post 'tweets' every hour, on the hour; or keep a daily blog of new company news and events." Well, you are not alone. Many businesses feel the same way.
I've recently noticed that there are more and more job opportunities for "social media managers" or "new media coordinators". These companies are 100 percent on the right track, but I can only think to myself, "Are you kidding me?" As a recent college graduate, I still couldn't fathom searching for said type of job given that while in college. I mostly used social media as a distraction to get out of doing actual "work."
Whether you are a customer-driven company or a two-woman marketing team that still prefers in-person and phone interaction over an email, letting your customers and clients interact with your business through your social media program creates value. The best part is, there are several platforms that allow you to remain visible to your audience without overloading your schedule or hiring a full-time social media manager.
Hootsuite is a social media dashboard that embeds all of your social media feeds into one location. You can manage your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, even your blog updates from one site and even schedule your status updates in advance, eliminating the need for manual updating.
Added bonuses: Hootsuite just upgraded its interaction with Facebook to allow full monitoring and posting in its platform. The company also added geo-campaigning to enable location specific posts. For example, a US-based business might post a French tweet to only residents of French speaking countries.
Tweetdeck is another social media platform that, like Hootsuite, links all of your social media pages onto one site. This program does not include all features of Hootsuite but still proves useful to businesses.
ViralHeat is where Google Alerts meets an analytics system. This hub measures your company's mentions and site views, producing data analytics to help you optimize the time you designate for social media. For example, if the data shows that most followers view your sites or respond to your posts at 2 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, then you can streamline your updates around those times. The only downside is this system's cost, which ranges from $9.99 per month to $89.99 per month.
The Bottom Line All of these systems are quite versatile. Each one has a mobile app, so staying connected even while away from the office is always possible; and most importantly, the ability to schedule future tweets, monitor your business' presence and measure your performance means improved efficiency and effectiveness.
Advertising is no longer a one-way street with companies shaping consumers' opinions -- social media has created an interactive, customer-driven marketing space, so taking part in the conversation is a must for most.
I hope to see your business pop up in my Twitter and Facebook news feeds soon,
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