Social Media is one of those tools that every business should be using. Beyond that fact that it is free marketing, social media is the way everyone connects these days. Your business is instantly validated in the eyes of your consumer, B2B or B2C, when they find your social media presence. Not only that, but social media allows for you to carry the voice that you have created for you company over various platforms, giving you a reach far beyond your website.

Yes, social media can be time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. Especially for small businesses, the most important thing is that you are using it. Below are 5 tips for building a basic social media strategy that doesn’t require unreasonable amounts of time. Start here and build a foundation later, but get started.

Know Where Your Customers Are

This is by far the most important part of this process, especially for time strapped small business owners. It is not beneficial for you to spend your time on the hottest social media platform if that is not a platform your target customers are using. There may come a time when you have the luxury of being on all social media platforms and pushing the envelope in marketing in your industry, but chances are that time is not now. Right now you need the most bang for your buck, and by buck I mean time. So take a step back, look at your customer personas, decide where it is that your target customer is and focus your energy on creating a profile and presence on these platforms.

Pick 2-3 Channels and Execute

At this point you know where your customer is spending their time. Maybe it is one platform maybe it is five, regardless pick no more than 3 platforms that you feel comfortable with and focus. There is nothing wrong with picking just one, but definitely no more than three.

Make A Content Plan

This is why you pick no more than 3, you have plenty of other things to do and building a social media reputation cannot take up your entire day. So now that you have chosen a reasonable number of platforms to focus on you need to decide how often you will post. The etiquette is different for each platform, so put a little research in to the platform you have chosen and take into account the amount of time you have weekly/daily to execute your plan. Your reputation on social media is built on much like everything else, on the consistency and quality of the content you are providing.

Establish Your Voice

It is helpful before beginning to write, be it original content or tweets and posts that you take a moment to consider your company’s voice. This will help you to be consistent and will also help on that day when you fulfill the dream of passing the burden of social media management off to a newly hired Marketing Manager. Do you want to sound like a authority? Is humor important? Maybe you like to share why you think something is important and let your ready decide if it is valid? What are things you never talk about? What are things that are top priorities? These are questions you should ask now so that you can create a consistent voice that you customers would always recognize.

Measure

It all means nothing if you can’t back it up with data. So use the free analytics each platform has to offer or pay for a platform that will give you analytics. Beyond likes and shares, which are important to understand your reach, you want to know if your social media is ultimately driving people to your website and ultimately if they are connecting. Again the all to important element of time comes into play. If you are wearing many hats besides social media manager your analytics doesn’t need to be overly involved. Pick a few basic measuring points and track them. Down the road when you have more time and resources to poor into this area of your business they will at least have a starting point of data. It is easier to know where you are going when you know where you came from.