As a busy business owner, getting involved in social media may seem like yet one more responsibility that pulls you away from your primary purpose. However, connecting with customers remains essential, and today’s customers are hanging out on social media. Thus, you need to hang out there, too. But who has the time? Though social media may seem like a time-consuming, it doesn't have to be. Use the tips below to create an efficient social media strategy.

  1. Plan - A good plan will serve you well in virtually any endeavor you undertake, including social media. Spend some time up front planning your approach and you’ll be more focused, better organized, and more efficient. Consider which social media sites are the most appropriate for your business, what types of customers you want to reach, what you will share on social media, and how much time you will devote to it. While you’re at it, develop goals, categories, and a social media content calendar so that you always know what you need to do.
  2. Develop a Process - Once you have a plan, develop a process that you can easily follow. For example, your process might involve: publishing a blog post, tweeting a link to that post, and creating a Facebook conversation around that post. It’s a 1-2-3 process that you can replicate every time you publish a blog post. By developing and documenting simple processes, you can also teach others to take over when the time comes to get help with social media.
  3. Outsource - Some small businesses successfully hand over their social media marketing to outside consultants. If you simply do not have the time, desire, or technical skills to deal with social media, consider getting professional help. Make sure your social media consultant understands your business and what you want to accomplish. Even if you know from the beginning that you would prefer to outsource social media, you should still develop goals and be involved in the planning process.
  4. Automate - Next, consider which social media tasks you can automate?  Consider pre-scheduling some universal posts throughout the month so that you have a steady stream of activity on a regular basis. Similarly, you could set up your blog to automatically push links to new posts to Twitter or Facebook. You can also use RSS feeds to monitor relevant news items in real-time. Should something of interest to your audience come to your attention, you could quickly and easily compose a post around it.
  5. Advertise - Building a social media following can be a slow process. If you want to jump right in and start connecting with prospects on social media, consider using Facebook ads and sponsored posts to get more followers and generate more interest in your social media profiles.