Is Social Media The Best Use of Your Time?

When it comes to small businesses, time is usually one of the biggest hindrances. Every small business owner I know (myself included) would love to have a few more hours each day. Since our time is limited, it’s important to plan and be productive with every hour. Almost every day, I will have 10 hours worth of work and only 5 hours to do it. My general plan is to do the most important things first. On a daily basis, I never get to social media.

One of the main reasons I don’t spend time utilizing social media is because it lacks ROI for me. I can calculate almost down to the dollar ROI for other activities, but social media is hit and miss. If I spend an hour engaging a target audience, will I see an ROI? Not usually. If I spend an hour writing content, will I see an ROI, almost always. If I had more hours every day, I would definitely use social media more, but at this point there are better uses of my time.

Should I outsource social media?

In my opinion one of the worst things you can do is outsource your public image. Nobody knows the direction and mentality you have for your company except you. You are essentially trusting another person to build your brand identity and awareness without ever having met you or gained a full understanding of you and your business. Another option is to preview all public work, and that takes time. You’re probably better served by just doing it yourself rather that pre moderating everything public about your company.

Should I automate social media?

Automation is something I recommend as often as possible. If you can automate something you do every day, that frees you to use your time elsewhere. Social media is not something that can or should be fully automated. When you begin to automate social media, most people start with auto posting from their blog to Twitter and/or Facebook. That’s fine, and that’s where it should end. Even with that, you’ll have started a dialog that you’ll need to respond to. Do you have time to have Facebook and Twitter conversations?

I don’t have time for social media, what should I do?

With a lack of time, you have two options regarding social media.

1. Don’t use social media. I’m sure you already have a Twitter and Facebook account. I wouldn’t delete them or post a message about not replying due to a lack of time, I would just stop making new updates. In 2012, I have made two updates on my Twitter account and none of my Facebook page. The world didn’t end and there hasn’t been any negative fallout.

2. Make time for social media. If social media plays a role in acquiring new clients or building your business, then make time for it. Find an area of your business that is not generating revenue and devote that time to social media.

I don’t know if social media helps my business.

If you’re at a place where you’re making money, but you don’t know where it’s coming from it’s time to find out. Social media can actually help in this regard. Ask your existing clients if they remember how they found you. Keep track of your payments and look back and find when a client first made contact with you. Was it through Twitter or your website contact form? This is part of your business knowledge management that, when utilized, can help you find new clients and grow your business.

Brandon Hopkins own DiamondLinks a link building service. In the last year and a half he has help over 100 businesses improve their search engine ranking and currently runs a private blog network.

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