June 28, 2017 @ 5:21 PM

by Mike Satterfield

Small business owners wear a lot of hats, in one day they may be CEO, COO, CMO, and janitor. Juggling all of this is time-consuming and one-way leaders are saving time is automating their social media. While it may sound like a good idea to just push a button and forget about it social media is one of the most important tools in marketing today, in fact, there is a good chance you are reading this blog post because it was shared on social media. So how do we minimize the time spent on social media marketing and see the greatest return on that time?

Automating the content, not the interaction. 
Tools like HootSuite or Buffer are amazing for scheduling content and optimizing post times. But beyond scheduling the posts, automation can quickly kill the trust you have built with a consumer. Consumers demand actual engagement with someone who can answer their question, solve their problem, or validate their concern. A few years ago customers would turn to Social Media as a last resort to get a reply from a brand, however, today it is simply the avenue of communication that they are using it to save time. 
Customers just like us are multi-tasking and using their mobile devices more than ever, they turn to Social Media to save time, knowing that they can swipe open Facebook or Twitter and get a reply from their favorite brand is expected in today's social world, but that interaction has to be authentic and meaningful. According to a 2016 Forrester Research poll, 77% of respondents said that valuing their time was the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service.
Interacting and responding to customer needs via social media is also more likely to increase brand loyalty and positive customer advocacy by 25% according to research by marketing firm Conversocial. Since consumers are already on a social platform they are more likely to share their experience right away, so why not do everything you can to make it an amazing one. Now, of course, there are limits to how far you need to go, in the boutique world most of your customers will be more understanding of delays if you are authentic and transparent with them. If you are replying to a message outside your target response time, let them know why "Sorry for the delay we are closed on Sundays we can spend time with families." This will help them feel more connected to you and your brand and can convey core values that they can identify with. 
If your company has grown to a point that you have multiple employees working with your brand's social media or you have a social media manager make sure that everyone is on the same page with brand's 'socially visual' people. Many times people's personal social media can become a problematic for brands, making sure your 'socially visible' employees social media accounts are not in contradiction with your brand's core values is important. 
Meeting your customers on the platform they are most comfortable with will make them more like to interact with your brand and become raving fans, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to connect with me on Facebook and send me a direct message @Satterfield.Mike