In the world we live in today it is extremely difficult to market to your target audience. People see upwards of 5000 ads per day. This creates a lot of “noise” within the marketplace. We all know the feeling of getting annoyed by pop up ads and having spam emails. It is draining and it is not effective at getting new customers. For most people it will turn them away from your brand.

So many people think they have a solution to this. They want you to buy services, get on social media, hire an agency, and jump through hoop after hoop in order to gain a following. When looking at all of the potential options, it is difficult to see what is worth the time and expense.

Marketing should never be a hassle for its business. It needs to be efficient and effective. Otherwise it isn’t worth the energy being put in. For small-medium size businesses that cannot afford to hire an agency or a full time person for marketing, there is hope. With a strong marketing plan, your digital marketing strategy can be narrowed down to a few hours each week.

Here are some tips to get started.

First Step: Simplify!

Many businesses make the mistake of trying to be in too many places at once. Know where your demographic is and be there. For most businesses there is no need to be on Pinterest and Instagram. There is lots of data on where users spend their time online. Use that data to your advantage! See when and where your demographic is online and post content there.

Pro Tip: Do not be afraid to post the same thing multiple times either as long as there is some variety. An example of this is Twitter and Facebook. Twitter feeds and Facebook timelines change constantly. So you might tweet or post about your new blog two or three times in that week. Just make sure to use new language and photos to keep it interesting to those who may have already seen it.

Second Step: Efficiency is Key!

The second step is to manage the social media accounts that you choose. I would pick no more then three channels. This makes what you do easy to manage. With the right channels it is easy to get a wide demographic of people. The main three that many businesses choose are Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. These can be managed one account at a time through an admin role on the site for free.

Although, that takes some time that you possibly do not have. So many businesses have started using social media management software such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social. This helps you schedule your content for the week and keep track of the analytics that come back from those analytics. It makes life a little easier for those with less time on their hands.

Pro Tip: Schedule your content on a Monday so that you have a time frame in mind. That way you can step back and look at the big picture rather then doing everything piece by piece. This way you only need to focus on replying and interacting throughout the week rather than coming up with content.

Third Step: Organization

The third step is to make life organized. Social media is no different from email campaigns and other forms of marketing. You need to know the answers to these questions and be able to make a plan with them.

• When do you want to post?
• How often do you want to interact?
• What do you want to post?
• When is the best time to post?
• How does this fit with our marketing campaign?

If you plan these questions and use your knowledge to the best of your ability, you won’t need to check in on your social media more than 30 minutes to an hour a day. If you choose to schedule them through a management tool it is easy to have all your posts go out by themselves. Then you go in once a day to respond to interaction and interact with your followers. That way you aren’t distracted and off task being on social media all day.

Pro Tip: Twitter normally needs 2-3 tweets per day. There tend to be 3 busy times on Twitter 9am-10am, 1-2pm, and the after work rush at 4-5pm. This can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. Facebook normally just needs 1-2 posts a week at least. The busy times there are 1-2pm and after work. LinkedIn might only need one post a week depending on the level of content you use on your website. Surprisingly, Linkedin’s busy time is on Fridays.

Following these basics will get you started in gaining followers and keep your brand exuding your image and interacting with your consumers.