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February 21, 2013

How to Spend Less Time on Social Media and Still Get Results (Part 2)

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part series. Part one was published on our site yesterday.

Time is a precious commodity for small business owners. And, because social media is often seen as a time-consuming task, many are lax with their posts or even shun it all together.

There are ways, however, to save time and get results when using social media. The following tips are from marketing consultant and author, John Jantsch.

Combined engagement

“Other tools make it simple to monitor and update your accounts from one spot. You can use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to create a dashboard that lets you handle multiple social media accounts from a single platform, saving you time.”

Individuals who have a certain number of social media accounts already use tools to keep all of them updated. It is only sensible that a small business owner should make use of these tools to do the same. After all, they are free to use. Not only can you update multiple accounts, these tools give you one dashboard to monitor them as well.

Get automated

“One bonus of having a content stockpile is that you can use tools like Socialoomph, Buffer and Timely for Twitter to schedule its release automatically. This doesn’t mean you can put all of your social media posts on auto-pilot though, because that just defeats the purpose.”

Some advise against scheduling but when the content published is good, it works. Do not make it do all the work for you, however. The whole idea of social media is to interact with your followers, not to continually publish your articles as if they were press releases.

Set up topic alerts

“Save yourself time from searching for industry news articles by setting up a Google Alert for specified topics. You can search through the results for news that relates to your business. When you find something of interest, you can share it with your followers.”

This is a way to make sure your content is shareable — one of the best ways to spread awareness about your small business’ online presence. As long as your followers or fans know you always offer them something interesting or informative, they are more likely to share your content with their friends.

Use social networks for customer service. 

“Many small businesses are starting to take advantage of social media as a way to provide better customer service. You can quickly and easily respond to any issues or comments that customers leave on social networks rather than having to wade through e-mails or have customers waiting to speak to someone on the phone.”

In this case, feedback is your friend. It does not matter if the comment is negative or positive; you should always respond. This reduces the need to attend to other complaints through other communication mediums, saving you time and saving your business money. Tackling them through social media also has the added benefit of real-time. You can address an issue as soon as you are informed, increasing the chances of solving the problem faster.

When used correctly, social media can be a huge boost for small businesses. Planning and organization are key to taking the sweat equity out of social media so it truly works for you.

Henry Conrad is a 29-year-old game developer from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Aside from gaming and being a tech junky, he also dabbles in creative writing, which allows him to create great storylines and backgrounds for his characters. Follow me on Twitter and join me in Google+.