As a small business owner, I am sure you have been contacted by marketing firms trying to sell you a very expense service so their team of “experts” can manage your social media campaigns. They make promises of sharing, liking, and commenting on your behalf and may even set goals to grow your base of followers. They may actually do a good job sharing your articles and blog posts, the content of others, and engaging with your clients in an appropriate manner. But they are expensive, have access to, and will control your entire online presence. That last part may seem a bit scary and the service may be cost prohibitive.

These days, consumers are too savvy for you to allow anyone else to handle your conversations. Customers can see right through automation and outsourced social media shout-outs. They want to know, and can detect when they are engaged with an individual at the business or a third party vendor. They may bring a conversation from a tweet, share or like right into your storefront and if you don’t know about a particular conversation the jig is then up.

While there are pros to outsourcing (time saved) the bigger issue to consider is that when an outside service handles your social media, their work is not authentic. As a small business owner, you are the best person to represent your products and services to current and potential customers. Using the tools on my website and daily email, you are organized (link) to effectively promote your small business on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. I work in steps to get you through the basics and give you extra ideas if you have the time.

You have many responsibilities as a small business owner. I know the struggle of too much to do in one day. But making a commitment to authentically engaging on social media should be at the top of your list. You may be wondering how you are going to find time to tweet, like, share, and write. Finding time is hard so here are a few suggestions:

1. Have a clear plan to post and engage with your ideal customers and/or clients.  This will include blogging and sharing those blogs on social media, sharing the content of others, and responding to comments and private messages.
2. Consult your staff. Is there a member of your staff who might have some time, knowledge, even experience on social media? Could you delegate tasks such as writing content and building up your number of connections? Maybe social media becomes a team project: one person tweets, the other writes a blog once a week, someone else searches for related content to share. This frees up your time to manage and handle the social media conversations with clients. As long as you maintain control, a little help from your staff could really make a difference.
3. Do what you can in small manageable pieces. Start out slow and learn the systems. Just making the commitment to engage is half the battle. Some days you will have more time than others so get done what you can while keeping your eye on your core business.

As small business owners we are already pulled in several directions keeping our businesses running smoothly. If the idea of establishing and maintaining a significant presence on social media is overwhelming, there is no need to worry. I can help you set-up your accounts and then authentically engage with your customers.