If you’re like most marketers in a startup or small business, social is nobody’s full-time job. It falls to you to ensure the business has a social footprint while you do all your other jobs. You have little time, and no budget for a social media consultant.
But you can spare five minutes per day. Can your business become a social powerhouse in five minutes per day? No. But you can start building a social footprint, monitoring conversations, and doing – well, considerably more than nothing. Here, borrowed from an email I drafted to my friend @bradvetter, are a set of five-minute drills for getting started.
Monday: Get the Right Tool. I like Hootsuite. As long as you don’t need to coordinate multiple users (as we do now at work), the free version is fine. It can do more than one profile. That’s useful if you have both a personal and a corporate account on a given network. It can feed multiple social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, etc) and give basic analytics. Create an account and connect it to the existing social media accounts you plan to use for the business.
If you don’t like Hootsuite or it doesn’t meet your needs, visit websitetestingtools.com and check out the listings for Social tools. There’s probably something new and great there.
Tuesday: Who (and Where) Are Your Customers? Look at your customer personas and answer the common-sense question: what networks are they likely to be on? If you’re selling to moms, get on Pinterest. If you’re selling to college kids and young adults, go to Instagram and Vine. If you’re B2B like we are, Linked and Twitter matter most. A lot of people waste time building out social when they say “Vine is hot, we have to be on Vine” without asking whether their customers will be there.
Wednesday: Who (and Where) Are Your Influencers? In five minutes follow as many known journalists/bloggers in your space as you can. (I assume you know who they are and read their blogs/pubs. If you don’t, doing that doesn’t count against the five minutes because it’s not spending time on social media; it’s spending time learning your industry!) If you sell to underwater welders, you already know that Suzy Smith-Jones runs the blog “Underwater Welding Today.” Google “Suzy Smith-Jones Twitter” (or “Suzy Smith-Jones Pinterest” if your personas are on Pinterest) and you’ll find her ID. Follow. Repeat for the next journalist/blogger. Quit after five minutes even though you’re not done. Come back on a rainy day or put a little of your five minutes per day from later weeks as there’s time.
Thursday: Engage and Follow the Followers. Go back to the people you followed in Hootsuite. If they tweeted a “Thanks for the follow”, tweet them back to build engagement. Click into the first one’s profile and click into “Followers” – many of Suzy’s followers probably care about underwater welding too. Follow the ones that look interesting. You won’t come close to finishing, but quit after five minutes anyway. Come back on a rainy day or put a little of your five minutes per day from later weeks as there’s time.
Friday: Begin Scheduled Broadcasting. Go through your RSS feeds and inbox and pick out two articles/posts that would be interesting to your audience. Schedule a tweet/status/whatever for each one in Hootsuite. You can cross-post between accounts and social networks. That means the same tweet can go out from both your corporate and personal accounts, and can be cross-posted to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. However, cross-post with discretion; folks who cross-post everything from every account to every network look like spammers to anyone who follows them in more than one place.
Pro tip: Twitter gets the most clicks/traffic between noon and 4pm CST, but your audience may differ. Think about what time zone(s) they’re in and whether they’re office workers on the clock, night owls watching TV, or something else. Schedule your posts accordingly.
All Subsequent Workdays: Monitor Activity and Grow the Content, Engagement, and Followers. As on Day 5, schedule tweets/posts linking to content that’ll interest your followers. Now that you’re good at it you can up the ante to 5-6 posts a day. Respond in a friendly way to folks who tweet at you. You’ll see your following start to grow organically, because you’ve started with journalists/bloggers who influence your target audience.
Set up a couple ongoing searches in Hootsuite (#underwaterwelding, the name of your business, etc) to monitor topics and hashtags of interest. Engage people who tweet about topics relevant to you. Follow them if they look interesting. As you follow more people, you may find it difficult to keep track of the most important ones. In Hootsuite you can make lists (for Twitter, anyway). My list strategy is simple: I have one black-tie list called “Industry Influencers” of about fifty people. I’ve created a column for that list in Hootsuite. By monitoring that, along with the ongoing searches, I am less likely to miss something important.
On any day where you feel ahead of the game or have extra time, go back to any of the days from the first week and do just a little bit more – find more influencers, add another network, etc. You can also use the search function on Klout.com to search for topics (“underwater welding”), then follow the most influential people talking about that topic.
Extra Credit Assignment #1: This can be huge – unleash the power of the rest of the team. You may work with engineers, salespeople, and other non-marketers. When there’s something newsworthy, send ’em a quick email and encourage them to tweet/status/post it. By doing this you help establish a social culture, which also means that you have others helping you monitor and respond to chatter.
Extra Credit Assignment #2: As you meet people in the course of business – customers, people at conferences, etc – take a moment to connect to them on LinkedIn. If they have a twitter ID and other social accounts, they’re probably listed on the LinkedIn profile – follow or friend them there, as well.
That’s my approach to getting social in five minutes per day. It will not replace a social media manager when you’re ready, but it lets you get on the map if you’re not ready yet.