When you’re running a small business, keeping your online presence up-to-date isn’t always a priority. Yet when potential customers stumble upon your outdated posts, you risk losing their business. They may think you’re disinterested in engaging with your clientele or, even worse, assume you’ve gone out of business.
Feeling like you’ve dropped the ball? You’re in close company. Some 70 percent of Facebook business pages are inactive (updated less than once a month), according to Recommend.ly, which provides social media tools and analytics.
To get back into the swing of things, consider taking the following steps:
1. Don’t look back. Stop feeling guilty that your social media efforts languished. Perhaps your followers haven’t noticed. Most people go directly to a Facebook business page only once to “like” it and then receive updates through their news feeds, explains Mari Smith, a social media strategist.
2. Return with a vengeance. There’s no need to acknowledge or explain your absence. Instead, “start out with an exciting and engaging announcement or inspirational or funny quote, ideally with an image that people will feel compelled to share,” Smith suggests. For a Facebook post, pay to “boost” this new message to increase the likelihood that your followers and their friends will see it, she suggests.
3. Be more efficient. If a lack of time was the main reason you stopped posting to social media, adopt tools and habits that reduce the number of hours per week required of you. Smith recommends Spundge and Trapit as tools for quickly finding content worth sharing. Apps like HootSuite let you schedule posts up to a week in advance. You could use it to plug in the bulk of your tweets for the week on Monday, for example, and then review any retweets or direct messages every Thursday.
4. If you must take time off, be smart about it. It’s better to have some online presence than none at all, because social media increases your chances of getting found online, Smith notes. At the very least, keep your Facebook and Twitter accounts active, because they’re the most popular. At least once a quarter, verify that your profile (contact information and About section) on each site is accurate and working. If you plan to keep a particular social media account inactive for the foreseeable future, make sure that a link to your website is highly visible and clickable.
5. Hire help. Using the services of a social media coordinator just two hours a week “can make a massive difference,” Smith says. Although Smith is active across various social media sites, including Pinterest and Instagram, and posts some of her own material, she also uses a team of moderators to keep her pages active and to free up her time, so that she can focus on her consulting business and speaking engagements.