There’s no doubt it’s vital to harness the power of social media marketing to grow the audience for your business. It’s a (mostly) free way to get your products or services in front of more people and it’s one of the best mediums for selling with no ‘hard sell’ required.

However, if you have already dipped your toe in the social media waters you will know it can be time consuming if it’s not handled carefully.

Here are 5 tips to make your social media marketing more effective while being less of a time-drain.

1. Don’t Try to Be Everywhere

Particularly when you are starting out it’s important not to stretch yourself too thin. Choose at most two or three social media platforms and then work them consistently – yes that does mean daily posting! There’s little point in saying you use all the social media platforms if you are never actually on them, and you will build a far bigger audience more quickly by narrowing your focus.

2. Do What You Love

This one follows on from the first point and it will help you make your choice. Most people will choose Facebook as one of their platforms – and wisely so as it has the largest number of users (in a wide variety of demographics), plus you can post all types of content there – text, audio, video and images.

However, your second and third choices of platform should come down to what you enjoy and your type of business. Are you a visual person? Then Instagram or Pinterest will be fun for you. Love creating video? Head over to YouTube. Sell B2B? Then don’t miss out on LinkedIn. There’s nothing to say you can’t use all these platforms eventually, but remember consistency comes first.

3. Create Great Graphics

Whichever platforms you choose – yes even Twitter – you are going to need great graphics to accompany your posts. To make life easier, harness the power of the stock sites that offer copyright free images (always check the licenses) such as Unsplash and Pixabay.

You can then use sites like Stencil, Canva and Picmonkey which provide you with templates that help even the most creatively challenged person come up with a masterpiece.

4. Save Time

To be more effective at social media marketing you are going to need to be careful about the amount of time you spend on the sites. Continually refreshing your timeline does not count as marketing ☺ Instead you need to be putting out relevant content and interacting with your fans and followers. One of the best ways to save time is to use a scheduler such as Buffer or Smarterqueue. These allow you to have a presence online every day when you may be actually only checking in once or twice a week.

5. Build Relationships

It’s called social media for a reason and the best way to harness the power of this form of marketing is to build relationships. The content you put out should have a 20/80 split, with around 20% being your direct marketing and sales posts and the 80% comprising content which either educates, informs or entertains, or sometimes if you are lucky all three.

Above all, the name of the game on all of the platforms is generating interaction and thus it’s important to always remain a part of the conversation.

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