One of the most common problems for small business owners is managing their time when using social media marketing platforms. Many individuals feel that free marketing, specifically social media marketing (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc), is too time-consuming and overwhelming. Small business owners aren’t sure what to focus on, where to spend their time and how to balance all of their varying marketing platforms. As a result, many individuals end up spending hours and hours every day marketing their small business. It certainly doesn’t need to be this way. Of course, free marketing is going to take some time and energy every day but, it should only take you one hour/day if you work smart and strategically. Here are 7 time management strategies to help you work smarter, as opposed to harder.

1 Narrow Your Focus

There are hundreds of free marketing platforms to choose from. You can’t possibly market on all of them. My rule of thumb is to pick five free platforms and focus your marketing efforts there. You’ll never succeed if you try to conquer too much. Remember, you don’t want to be a “Jack of all Trades, Master of None!” You want to master a few marketing strategies well.

2 Spend Time Each Day on “Creation” and “Maintenance”

Every day you should “create” new information. This can be accomplished by writing an article, shooting a video, creating a group (FaceBook, LinkedIn), etc. The new information that you create doesn’t have to be long and time-consuming. For instance, you can shoot a 3-minute video and upload it to YouTube all under fifteen minutes time. In addition to creating information, you should spend time each day maintaining your sites. This can be accomplished by liking Instagram photos, writing on Facebook walls, adding LinkedIn connections, posting to Twitter, etc. If you divide your time between creating information and maintenance, you will be working smarter.

3 Set an allotted amount of time for marketing each day

You want to approach your marketing with a plan. And that includes a plan for how much time you will devote each day to marketing your business. If you simply “start marketing” without any sense of how much time you will devote, you’ll be extremely non-productive. I generally recommend spending 1-2 hours every day actively marketing your business. However, you also do not want to spend more time than necessary on marketing. If you log into Facebook and begin “to market” without a plan of action, you might still be there six hours later. So, decide how much time you will spend on marketing and stick to it.

4 Use a Timer

Using a timer might sound silly, but it’s certainly a trick that I have always relied on. When I am writing an article, I set my timer for 30 minutes. I give myself exactly 30 minutes to write my article. If I don’t finish, then I will have to finish tomorrow. You’d be surprised how much more efficient you are when there is a timer clicking away in the background.

5 Connect Your Accounts

Make sure that you connect all of your social media and information accounts that you can connect. As an example, you can add your Twitter account to your article distribution accounts (Ideamarketers, Ezineartices, etc). Then, whenever you publish an article, your Twitter account will be automatically updated with your newest article. Again, you can add Twitter to your FaceBook account, so that your “Twitters” appear on your FaceBook profile. Take some time to investigate all the ways that you can integrate and connect your accounts together. This will save you valuable time in the long-run.

6 Recycle Your Efforts

Whenever I write an article, I reuse it in many different ways. Here is an example: Imagine that I write an article titled, “7 Ways To Market On FaceBook.” Then I publish that article in multiple article directories. However, it doesn’t stop there. Next, I post that same article to my blog. After that, I use the basic concept from my article for a YouTube video. After that, I Twitter about that concept as well. The point is that when I have a new idea, I reuse that concept as many times as possible.

7 Track What Works and Focus Your Efforts There

You’ll soon find that when it comes to free marketing and social networking that it’s often difficult to accurately track your marketing statistics. For instance, when using PPC (pay-per-click) it is simple to add a code to your website and find out exactly how many people are visiting your website, opting into your form and making purchases. This isn’t as simple when it comes to social marketing. However, there are activities that you will notice add to your business success and activities that don’t do a thing for your business.

As an example, I found that managing all the “application requests” from FaceBook was becoming quite a chore. So, I decided that I just couldn’t take the time to respond to every Christmas ornament, Starfish, etc. that I received. I had to begin to “ignore” those application requests. You’ll need to make the same decisions. Remember, free marketing works. In fact, I truly believe that free marketing often works better than paid marketing. However, if you’re going to optimize your free marketing plan, then make sure to implement these seven tips to help you effectively manage your time and energy.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

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