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Since the onset of social media in the late 1990s, our way of relating to one another has been forever changed.  Social media has created a revolutionary way of experiencing community through the development of online platforms. Networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram currently dominate the world of social media and have massively reformed communication. For small businesses in particular, social media has made market reach more accessible exponentially and at a much lower cost to beat.  It has paved the way for online interaction to be the quickest most efficient way to reach millions of people at the same time with the same message.  

Consequently, small businesses are flocking to social media for good reason. According to Social Media Today, the lead-to-close rate through a social media platform is 100% compared to traditional marketing methods.  Also Digital Sherpa reports that 71% of social media users purchase products from the brands they follow online through social media websites. Small businesses have experienced the best return on their marketing dollars when they are able to put their message where their target market is and social media has made that all the more possible.   However, with so many platforms to choose from and so many ways to connect with social media, how do you find time to do it while running a small business?

With just one hour per day, you can run an effective social media campaign that will both engage your customers and, if done strategically, increase your sales. The question to ask yourself is how can you allot one hour per day to achieve these results?  Make social media a part of your daily routine. Set aside a specific time slot every day whether it’s in the morning or midday or the evening and commit to it.  Put together a weekly plan along with content ideas ahead of time so that when you are ready to sit down in front of your computer, you know exactly what you will post.  Also, set a time limit and ensure you won’t have any distractions. This way you will be able to focus on hitting all your goals for the day.  And finally, make it fun by rewarding yourself a small treat each week you complete all your planned social media activity sessions.

Additionally, there are free online tools you can use to help save time by scheduling posts in advance and scheduling to more than one network.  Tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, and Everypost allow you to post several updates at different times a day to any social media platform of your choosing days in advance all in one sitting. Although these services offer premium features, you can still use their free options to run your campaigns.  For example, Hootsuite offers access to many prominent social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Foursquare, and even WordPress.com!  Hootsuite offers the most platform integration options than any other popular social media scheduling tool.  It also features an all in one interface organized by tabs which allows you to schedule posts to several platforms at the same time from one dashboard.  Other social media scheduling tools to consider are Buffer, EveryPost, and Sprout Social.  They each offer similar features as Hootsuite. Whichever tool you decide to use, any one of them will help you maximize your time.

Social media has made it possible for you to potentially reach millions of people in your target market that want to engage and connect with you.  Don’t let a lack of time be your reason for missing out on this free and remarkable opportunity. Being strategic, using free online tools, and committing a small amount of time per day can help you gain a strong footing in this fast paced online environment.  By incorporating simple steps into your daily routine you will be well on your way to making your business shine on social media.

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