Finding time to maintain your online presence

Finding time to maintain your online presence

“I DON’T HAVE TIME TO TWEET …is an excuse that I hear from Small Business Owners.”

- Nick Kriel

As a small business owner I know personally that we have plenty of things to keep ourselves busy. It is no surprise that updating our twitter profile is often at the bottom of the priority list – which inevitably means sometimes we literally do not have the time. So how do we find the time? In order to understand this we need to clarify one point:

“We cannot make time. Time is constant, no matter how hard we try it will keep ticking away!”

Not having time to do something is not an excuse it is a reality, just being told “you need to find the time” is not really going to solve anything. This is further exacerbated by the overwhelming aspects of blogging that books/marketers and other bloggers say are the winning elements. Writing blog posts. engaging on other blogs, engaging on your own blog, being active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Pinterest, writing a new book, oh and running a business. How do we find the time?

A failing strategy:

The above strategies popped up on almost every article I read researching this topic. Whilst I do not disagree that if you do these things you will write blogs but it is well known than on average we sleep less than we should, lunch breaks are a necessary break and in my case writing a priority list is only going to rub it in my face after two weeks how many things I haven’t been doing respite them being important to me.

So what do I suggest, firstly:

Set realistic expectations

Of course all marketing agencies will say that you need to blog once a day and simultaneously Tweet and Facebook every second. What a surprise then, you do not have time, but they do and at a price! Be sensible in your expectations of yourself, don’t set yourself up to fail. If you realistically can only blog once a month, than it is better you do this than blog for three days in a trot and collapse of blogging exhaustion.

Strategise

“If you don’t believe that Twitter can help your business, you will never find time to tweet.”

- Nick Kriel

In my experience this is 100% true. Many businesses jump on the social media or blogging bandwagon waiting to see what benefit they might get from it. This is crazy. If you were to buy an oven, would you take it home and every now and then turn on the hobs to see what might happen? No you use the oven to cook, in the same way you need to have a strategy on why you are engaging on online activities, with clear outcomes for you and your users.

It is very easy to start replicating other bloggers, twitters etc. that you aspire to. Whilst it is good practice to study your competition, it is also important that your message is coherent and your own. Write a website marketing strategy and ensure you stick to it.

Collect ideas

When I was younger I went through the write important things on my hand stage. This was so effective because I did not wash enough to lose that all important shopping list. Today I no longer write things on my hands, but I do keep a simple text editor open on my mac at all times to add notes to. This is my ideas list, anything which I think up during the day that I can’t action immediately I put on the list including blog topics.

Write an outline then mull on it

There are many daily tasks we perform which require very little brain power, such as showering and teeth brushing. Dedicating a small amount of time in creating a outline blog or Facebook post then going away will give you a chance to mull over it during your downtime. This is great as you literally start better utilising your time.

Encourage feedback

It can be very difficult to motivate yourself to write a blog, Facebook post or tweet when you do not have an audience. Investing an initial amount of time in building relationships with others will give you an extra encouragement to maintain your presence. We need to gain a sense of satisfaction in-order to maintain our presence naturally, this is usually going to be through interaction.

Work offline

Whilst there are many advantages to being constantly connected a large disadvantage is there are a lot of distractions. If you add to this customer interaction that you cannot predict, it is going to be very hard to sit down and write quality content. Sometimes to get a job done we need to simply put our head down an get on with it. Literally, turn your phone on silent, turn of the mail client and start writing.

Efficiency

Whilst we cannot make time there are usually plenty of efficiency savings that we can make which will allow us more time to dedicate to our online activities. Dedicating a chunk of time to all your “online activities” is a good start. Rather than trying to find lots of small amounts of time, you can tackle your Tweets, Facebook posts and pins in 15 mins. Save time by utilising management software such as Hootsuite.

A large way to become more efficient is to take a step back and review your day/week/month and write a list of all your repetitive activities and how long you spend on them e.g.

Activity Frequency Time (min) Time spent over 3 years (Hours)
Fill in contact form Hourly 2 196
File contact details Hourly 1 98
Find contact details Hourly 2 196
Create/Send/File Invoices Daily 30 367.5

 

The table above is a typical example of working within a paper based office 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 49 weeks a year. As you can see even the smallest of tasks repeated often take up a significant amount of time. I believe the biggest efficiency savings a small business can make is by automating these small tasks. For example a web based CRM system and accounting package may just free up that all important time you need to maintain your online presence.

I would like to conclude with the following table which shows how much time a typical paper filing business could save via automation. If this is something you are interested in finding out more information on, then please do not hesitate to contact us. We have plenty of experience of streamlining business processes.

Activity Reduce activity time by TIme saved over 3 years (Hours)
Fill in contact form 30 secs 49
File contact details 55 secs 89
Find contact details 110 secs 179
Create/Send/File Invoices 900 mins 183
Please recommend us if you found this article helpful:
Anthony Luxton
Author
Anthony Luxton
Director

Published:
1st June, 2013

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