In today’s marketing world, where doing more with less is the new norm, it can be hard to find time to monitor and contribute to your organization’s social media. Find time you must, however, because social media has become a vital part of the marketing mix.

In fact, according to a recent social media marketing industry report, the overwhelming majority of marketers who use social media boost traffic to their websites and generate new leads for their organization.

Set Clear Goals

But with all you have going on, how do you find time to monitor the conversation, let alone drive it forward? As with anything marketing related, it’s important to set clear social media goals. Are you looking to increase awareness, drive traffic to your website and generate leads? Or maybe you want to increase attendance for an event or promote recent successes? Having a clear idea of your goals at the outset will help keep you on the social made straight path, and save you time.

Identify and Prioritize

From Facebook to Twitter to Yelp! to Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and the list goes on, there are lots of social media channels out there. The more you have, the longer it will take you to monitor them. If you’re a large organization with no bandwidth issues, by all means create a presence on all of them and go for it. This article supposes you are not that kind of organization though, and that you’re crunched for time. Therefore, you’re going to need to identify the most important channels and prioritize which order you tackle them.

I’ll start with Facebook, since you’re probably already there. There are four ways your Likers can interact with you on Facebook that you should be monitoring. They are: 1. wall posts; 2. comments; 3. Likes; and 4. recommendations (a new feature that requires a plug-in). Make sure you scan these areas at least once a day and respond as necessary.

Twitter can also be a great, if disorganized tool. You’ll want to keep an eye out for relevant questions about your company or industry, support requests, complaints, praise, competitor mentions and so on. To do so, it helps to have a tool that enables you to filter tweets with keyword searches, which you can save and run as needed. I use and recommend TweetCaster, but there are others.

Probably the most business-centric social media site out there, LinkedIn is a 900-pound gorilla that deserves your time, but probably not to the extent of Facebook and Twitter. The LinkedIn Answers section can be a great place to post authoritative responses and link to relevant pages of your site. Group discussions are another way to join potentially high profile conversations and increase your brand’s reach.

Social Media Monitoring Tools

There are a number of social media monitoring tools out there that can help one person do the work of many. For example, HootSuite offers a couple of paid options – one designed for small businesses and an enterprise model for large corporations. HootSuite allows you to monitor, filter and message across the leading social media networks including those mentioned above from one intuitive dashboard.

HubSpot provides a complete marketing software package, one element of which is a social media monitoring tool. The tool tracks all of the sites mentioned, plus YouTube, the blogosphere, and more.’s Radian6 is also a good social media monitoring tool that enables you to monitor conversations and create detailed reports to inform others and make wise marketing decisions.

With clear goals and a prioritized plan, you should be able to spend five or less, on each of these sites per day and maintain a still fresh social media presence. Many of the above social media monitoring tools also provide measuring tools that allow you to see how you’re progressing against your defined goals.

As always, I hope this helps.

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