Regardless of whether your business is comprised of one person or one thousand, finding additional time, money, and people to carry out new plans and initiatives is difficult.  But, what if adding a social media engagement component to your business plan could yield new customers and increased sales to established fans?  You would make the time!  But how?

First, social media should be seen as a component of, not a substitute for, a replacement of, or an addition to your marketing plan.  Whenever you, your marketing director or group sits down to consider your upcoming marketing plans, you should be asking the question, “What should we be doing to incorporate our social media strategy into this sale, event, or promotion.”  If you are leaving social media out of these discussions, you are not taking full advantage of all opportunities to promote your company, and potentially creating more work for yourself or your team in the future.  Even worse, your social media strategy may appear to be an afterthought to those who follow you.

Second, once you have incorporated social media into your marketing plan, create a schedule to track how and where you are going to engage your followers and fans.  How many times a day are you going to post or tweet?  What are you going to say?  How often are you going to repeat important information?  Does this promotion require a blog post ?  When will you post it?  Create a calendar that schedules each tweet and post and follow it religiously.  If you plan in advance, you will save time that would otherwise be spent trying to come up with something on the fly.  Plus, being consistent will keep your followers and fans engaged. In addition, there are tools that can help manage your engagement and make your posting schedule a seamless process.

Remember, social media engagement encourages a conversation with followers and fans, not just advertisements and sales pitches.  These conversation starters should be a part of this schedule, with the idea that you need to be sharing information and knowledge as well as asking your customers for feedback on how your product or services can improve.

By considering social media a part of your normal operating and marketing procedures and inserting engagement into your plans and daily routine, scheduling ahead of time, you’ll find that you will have time to both engage with followers and fans and carry out daily tasks while appearing to your online audience as being consistently and constantly engaged.