Social media is one of those things that small businesses know they probably should be doing, but they end up putting it on the backburner for a while. Sometimes you’re just not sure where to start. Do you need Facebook and Twitter? Other times it’s a problem of not knowing who should handle the social media marketing part of the business. Should the business owner tweet, or should you leave it to the receptionist?

All of these questions cause business owners to neglect social media marketing altogether because it starts to seem like a huge time consuming task. However, social media marketing shouldn’t be looked at as a burden. In fact, it can be one of the most powerful and cost effective ways to market your company online.

It’s time to stop ignoring social media, and use it as a tool to grow your business. Here are 5 quick ways to be more active on social media.

1. Put A Plan Together

One of the main reasons businesses ignore social media is because it’s hard to figure out where to start. You log into your Facebook page or Twitter account, and then what? Instead of going into things blindly, try putting together a basic social media plan.

Your plan will outline what your goals are for social media, what type of content to post, and all of the other important details that’ll help you get started. As the old saying goes, if you fail to plan you plan to fail.

2. Have A Social Media Person (or hire a company)

Social media requires consistency. Tweeting once every three months isn’t going to get you any results. This is another big challenge facing small businesses. Luckily it’s easy to fix.

Depending on the size of your company, designate one or a couple of employees to manage your social media pages. If you’re a solo entrepreneur, then that may mean taking on the task yourself. Whoever you choose, make sure that they have time set aside each day to dedicate strictly to your social media accounts. Just spending 30 minutes a day replying to tweets, posting to Facebook groups or re-pinning things can go a long way.

If you have a larger company, or don’t have anyone that feels comfortable handling the company’s social media presence, you also have the option of hiring a company that specializes in social media marketing. However, don’t completely pass off everything to them. You should still have input into how your company engages on social media.

3. Automate

A key part of being successful with social media is sharing content on a consistent basis. That requires you to go out and find blog posts, videos, and infographics related to your industry that your audience would appreciate. Doing this every day can be very tedious and time consuming. Luckily there are tools out there to help make the process a lot easier.

Having a social media management tool like Sprout Social, Hootsuite or Buffer is mandatory these days. These tools allow you to schedule social media posts ahead of time. So instead of manually tweeting or posting to Facebook every day, you can schedule all of your posts for the entire week on one day.

You want to be careful with automating too much though. You should never automate interactions with other users like auto-replies. It comes off as robotic and has landed a few companies in hot water.

auto reply tweet fail boa

4. Don’t Try To Be Active On Every Social Network

Claiming your company’s business account/name on all of the major social networking sites is a good idea. It stops other people or businesses from being able to register under your business name. But just because you setup the accounts doesn’t mean you have to be active on all of them.

Instead of spreading yourself thin across 5 different sites, focus on 2-3 primary accounts. Build your presence and following on those accounts as much as possible, and then as you start to grow your team, you can look into expanding out.

Even some larger companies with dedicated social media teams are only active on 3 social networks at the most, so don’t feel obligated to be on every site possible. Sometimes less is more.

Keep all of these tips in mind, and you’ll see that social media marketing doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming.