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Is Social Media REALLY Worth Your Time?

sm-planningAs a business owner, hearing you should use social media is like hearing you should eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day: You know it would be good for you, but you have more pressing things to worry about.
You know social media gives you the chance to start conversations with prospects, engage with customers, and share your expertise. You know it can increase your Web traffic and conversion rates. Despite the obvious benefits, many small business owners feel they don’t have the time or expertise to maintain a social media presence.
I disagree. You can manage your social efforts by devoting as little as 15 minutes to them each day, and it doesn’t take specialized training. With a few minutes, a little creativity, and careful tracking, you can engage with your target audience and see real business results.

Maximizing Your 15 Minutes a Day

Spending 15 minutes a day scheduling outbound tweets, updating your Facebook status, posting to Google+, sharing a photo on Instagram, and linking to videos on your YouTube channel is a great way to stay top of mind and engage your prospects and customers, but where does all that content come from? That’s where the real time constraint kicks in.

The trick to maximizing your social media time is repurposing and reframing your most valuable and engaging content. Here’s an example: Say a local TV station interviews you about your business. You can post the three-minute clip to your YouTube channel and divide the original into 60-second “shorts” with embedded links to watch the full video or subscribe to the channel. Now, you have four new pieces of community-building content on YouTube.

You can also share the video through an email campaign and post those shorts one at a time on Facebook or Twitter. This approach maximizes your presence by drawing one piece of valuable content out into several different streams.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Social Media

Repurposing your content to engage users across different platforms is the best way to get full value from your efforts, but you really have to keep an eye on the data to see if your campaign is working. Keeping your finger on the pulse of your social media following means you can tweak your approach in real time to fit your audience’s response.

Here are some vital metrics I recommend checking every week to evaluate the effectiveness of your social media marketing:

  1. Website traffic: Is the number of unique visitors to your website increasing? How is referral traffic from the social platforms you’re using changing?

    These numbers come directly from your Google Analytics dashboard. If the answer is “no change,” you probably need to work on creating more engaging content to draw your followers to your site.

  2. Conversions: Are your social media efforts leading to increased conversion rates? What content delivers the most conversions?
    It just takes a few minutes to set up conversion tracking on Google Analytics. Here’s an excellent step-by-step tutorial from Google to get you started.
  3. User response: Is your online community across your social platforms growing? What content has your community “liked” or shared?

    This is a simple measure of how well you’re engaging users and promoting your content. Let your most popular posts guide the topics of future content.

  4. Lead generation: Is your social media generating leads? If so, are those leads converting to sales?

    If the answer to either of those questions is no, take a closer look at your content. If your content is generating leads, you probably have a post-lead conversion problem.

SWhen used effectively, social media can be a worthwhile time investment for a small business. If you’re creative in repurposing your content, it is possible to maintain an active presence in just 15 minutes a day. But it’s not just about putting content out there and hoping for the best. You should always be measuring the return on investment of your efforts to determine what works best for your business.

How much time do you spend building your social media presence, and how do you measure its ROI?

Published: January 23, 2014

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Stephen Woessner

Stephen Woessner is a digital marketing expert, the bestselling author of “Increase Online Sales through Viral Social Networking,” a speaker, and an educator. He is founder and president of Predictive ROI, including its signature event, Predictive ROI LIVE.

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