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One of the questions I hear most often about social media from clients and students in my social media bootcamp classes is “I understand why we need to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc., but we don’t have a big team available to work on our social media efforts and we have so much to do. Which of these areas should we focus on first?”

It’s a fair question, particularly for small and medium-sized business owners who have limited time and few people (sometimes none) to work on their company’s social media efforts. So, how does a small business get started and how do they allocate their efforts? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at how Business to Consumer (B2C) companies can get started. My next blog post will focus on Business to Business (B2B) companies as their approach will differ considerably.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C) Social Media Strategies
B2C companies are focused almost exclusively on providing products or services to consumers. Think: the local bakery, the heating and air conditioning repair company, the jewelry store, etc. B2C companies can use social media to connect with existing (and potential) customers, build a relationship with them and expose them to offers/deals.

Step 1: Finding out Which Social Networks Your Customers Use
Before your small business jumps into the social media pool, you need to know where your customers are. By and large, many B2C companies will find that their customers can be found on some combination of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (note: Google Plus is growing; see why I believe it is worth a second look). Knowing where your customers are lets you know where to focus your efforts (and avoid wasting time).

Step 2: Allocating Your Time
Knowing where your customers are is great, but Facebook, Twitter YouTube, Google Plus and others is a very large area. So, how do you allocate your time and focus your efforts? Let’s take a look at following graphics:

how business's should spend time on social mediaB2C social media time allocation mature companies

As you can see, I’ve drawn a distinction here based on how mature a company’s social media efforts are. If you are just starting out, you’ll want to spend more time with Facebook and Twitter as you strive to build audience. As your audience grows and your efforts mature, I recommend spending a little more time with YouTube as you’ll want to focus on creating strong visual content and distributing it within the popular video sharing service. LinkedIn and Google Plus get only small percentages of your time because fewer members of your audience are there (LinkedIn) or the service is not yet widely used (Google Plus). The “other” time percentage is your flex time. You need to keep an eye on emerging social networks and be prepared to give more time to other efforts if you strike gold.

Of course, these percentages are rough and only meant to give you a guide. Your actual efforts may vary based on what you find as part of the development of your social media strategy.

Step 3: Getting Started with Your Social Media Efforts
Now that you’ve identified where your customers are (step 1) and you’ve allocated your time (step 2), it is time to get started. Social media strategy is a complex subject and more than what I can go into with this post, but the core tenets are:

  • Create your accounts. On the networks you plan to target, make sure your company’s profile is complete and describes the topics you that are of interest to you. This will help others understand what you would like to talk about.
  • Listen, listen, listen. No one likes the person that walks into the conversation with their mouth open and already talking. Plan on spending a lot of time listening to the conversations that are already taking place so you understand the tone and tenor. Only jump in when you truly have an insight or something of relevance to offer. Lastly, avoid trying to push your products. Nothing will get you ignored faster than trying to push a product or a deal on someone.
  • Connect with others. As you go about listening, find people of interest on Twitter and follow them. Invite customers (and potential customers) to “like” you on Facebook. If you’re on YouTube, invite others to subscribe to your channel. You need to build up your audience and this is the way to go about doing it.
  • Create content. If you have a blog, post a link to your blog entries on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus. If you have product demo videos (and if you don’t, you should create a few!), post them to YouTube. At this point, you’re beginning to contribute to the conversation.

Of course, there are many more elements to the equation of a successful social media strategy, but the above items will help any B2C business get started with social media.

Want to learn more about developing a solid social media strategy for your company? Contact Dijital Farm today to learn how we can help you grow your company’s reach through social media.