The main constraint of social media marketing is the time investment. You may have set up Facebook and Twitter pages for your business, but rarely update them. If so, there is not much point in having them at all. But if you already publish blog posts on your business website, you can update services like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn with the same information, without adding much more work.
Why Bother with Social Media?
Put simply, social media is another channel for your business to engage your target audience. You might tell someone about your business, but the timing is not right. They might bookmark your website or save your business card, but most of the time, that is as good as forgetting. Your prospects increase if you can get them on a mailing list, or call them a week later. However, many people do not want to be solicited and are hesitant to give out their contact information.
But if you write blog posts and get them to subscribe to your RSS feed, Like your page on Facebook, or follow you on Twitter, it is a less intrusive way for you to continuously engage with them. Many people spend inordinate amounts of their time on Facebook and Twitter, and would have no problem “liking” or “following” your business. You never know if one of your later posts or tweets could catch their eye, whether it is an informative piece or a special offer.
Social Media Is Not a One-Time Investment
Setting up a basic page is relatively easy for most social media networks. Still, you should decide which networks to join and how much you want to develop each profile. The three major social networks are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, but there are countless others. If your business is in a niche industry, there may be specific networks that you should take advantage of. For example, The Knot is popular for the wedding industry.
However, if you set up an account but never update it, you could be harming your brand instead of helping it. Your profile information could become outdated (i.e. an old address, logo, or business summary), people could perceive your neglect of social media marketing as business instability, and potential customers could ask questions through a social media channel that you never see or respond to.
Social Media Does Not Have to Be a Time Sink, Either
Creating a Twitter (or other social media) account doesn’t mean that you have to post 10 tweets a day. In fact, you might be able to get away with tweeting once a week, or virtually never, if you automate your tweets. But depending on your business type and followers, it may be worth investing additional time.
If you create an account with TwitterFeed or a similar service, you can have your Facebook and Twitter pages automatically update with the titles and excerpts of your latest blog posts.
TwitterFeed checks your blog’s feed for updates, and when there is a new post, it will update other accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter. You will first need to authenticate your TwitterFeed account with each of those accounts. You can set various preferences, such as automatically modifying the post/tweet titles and excerpts before they are published.
If you do not want to announce all of your posts, you can set up TwitterFeed to only look at posts from a certain category. To do that, you simply point TwitterFeed to the category’s feed URL instead of the main feed URL. For example, you could create a category on your blog called “Social.” If you are using WordPress, your main feed might be something like http://example.com/blog/feed, and your category feed might be something like http://example.com/category/social/feed. If you set up TwitterFeed with the latter URL, only those posts that you categorize “Social” will be posted to your Facebook and Twitter pages.
To automatically update your LinkedIn account with your blog posts, you will need to use an appropriate third-party application within LinkedIn.