You can use social media marketing to connect with your customers, help new customers find your business, and build relationships! Since many small business owners and employees are familiar with at least one social media network, it can be easy to get started. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn all offer free accounts and Pages for businesses, too, so there’s no up-front monetary expense.
Managing social media, though, especially if your company has Pages on multiple networks, can be time-intensive. And when you’re running a small business, your time might be better spent serving customers, keeping track of finances, and managing employees.
Should you make the jump?
Five reasons to use social media tools
- You can see feeds from all of your social media channels in one place. Jumping back and forth from site to site can be a big part of the social media time suck. If this sounds like a typical day for you online, consider trying out a tool that has this feature.
- You can post to any combination of your social media channels. Similarly, many social media tools make the updating process faster. You don’t have to post to every channel every time, too - pick and choose which ones get updated each time. You’ll save time and effort.
- It makes it easier for someone else to step in. Once you’ve set up a social media tool with all of your accounts, it’s easy to share access with a co-worker. If you’re sick or away, share just one login with your co-worker instead of five!
- You can learn more about your social media performance. Many tools offer analytics and reporting. You won’t need to go to yet another site to see which links get clicked on, what content gets shared, and how often people are talking to or about you. This gives you instant feedback on what’s working, enabling you to do more of that! You can even share the report with co-workers, too.
- You can check and update your social media channels anywhere. Switching from social media site to site is a pain on your computer, but it can be twice as annoying on a smartphone! While all of the major social media networks now have their own apps, you can save time by checking your social media tool’s single app while you’re on the go. This makes it easy to check in if something’s getting a lot of activity.
Five reasons to not use social media tools
- It can be a new monthly expense. While some tools offer free plans, you may find yourself reaching the limits they set. Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sendible all offer $9.99 plans, the cheapest options out there, but even these may have limits.
- They can overcomplicate the process. Many social media tools come complete with an abundance of features that can make your life easier… but time can get away from you while you’re figuring out which ones you need!
- The tool itself can be overcomplicated. If you have trouble navigating and using the software, it’s probably not you — its interface might not be well-designed. You don’t need to waste time learning something completely new if it’s not going to reap dividends for your business.
- It can be almost too easy to automate your social media. One popular feature is scheduling posts, across networks, in advance. Don’t forget that social media is all about forming a connection with your customers! If too much of your social media content is automated or duplicated across networks, your readers will be able to tell. Remember, your audience may differ from channel to channel. Make sure each message is custom-written for each network, even if you’re sharing the same link.
- They’re not a substitute for a well-designed social marketing strategy. Okay, this isn’t technically a criticism of social media tools, but it’s still worth saying! Make sure that you have a plan when you start using a social media dashboard, especially if you have to pay to use it. If you aren’t using it strategically, with an understanding of how each post and response made can impact your business, money invested in a social media tool will not have the returns you want to see.
What do you think? Is a social media tool right for your small business? Let us know what you’re using (or not using!) by leaving a comment! And if you think a social media tool might help you manage your marketing, stay tuned: we’ll review a few of the major options soon!