As a business owner or CEO, your time is extremely limited. Leading meetings, attending calls, putting out fires, and frantically checking email – that only covers half of what you’re doing before noon on a good day. How on earth are you supposed to tweet, post to Instagram, or “build your personal brand” on any social media platform, especially amidst the chaos that is your daily life? Add to that the emersion of a new social media platform every other day, and you may be tempted to just ignore social altogether.

Angela Leavitt is a sales and marketing expert. She has helped more than 150 companies create targeted and effective marketing strategies for companies of all sizes in the B2B tech space, especially the telecom, IT, and cloud industries. She is the founder of Mojo Marketing. Known as an accomplished public speaker, Leavitt has been a regular presenter at ITExpo, COMPTEL, Channel Partners, and Cloud Partners conferences, as well as numerous corporate meetings and events. She is a champion for small business, and a consistent supporter of women in business and technology.  

The good news is you don’t have to spend hours on social media to grow a following and see results. Here are Leavitt’s tips to point you in the right direction.

Creating an effective strategy

  1. Focus, focus focus. Instead of trying to have one finger in each social media pie or getting caught up in the latest trendy platform, choose one or two and go deep. For maximum impact, choose the platform where your target audience hangs out the most.
  2. Research your target audience. Seek to understand the questions, concerns, preferences, and behaviors of your target audience. What’s keeping them up at night? What do they like and dislike? By truly understanding what’s driving them from the inside, you’ll be in a better position to share content that will resonate.
  3. Define your persona. Who are you online? What’s your personality? Fun and snarky? Or thoughtful and deliberate? Having a clear picture of how you want to come across will help you immensely when crafting your posts.

Growing your audience

  1. Find and connect with your real-life network online. You already know people in real life, so find them and connect. Most of the platforms have ways to easily sync with your contacts, so finding people you already know is very simple.
  2. Connect with everyone you meet from here on out. Conferences, events, meetings – as soon as you return, find and follow the people you met. These people are very likely to follow you back, and many times just sending the invitation can encourage some conversations.
  3. Follow the “Innocent Until Proven Creepy” rule. When receiving invitations to connect from people you haven’t met, consider connecting rather than deleting. Take a look at the profile. If it looks legitimate and the person is in a relevant industry to you, there is no harm in connecting. You can always disconnect later if the person bothers you in any way.

Sharing and engaging on social media

  1. Watch and listen. Social media has its own norms and etiquette, so if you’re new to the whole thing, start by reading and observing. Pay attention to which posts get the most attention and which don’t. Get a sense of the language that’s used.
  2. Give some love. As you’re watching and listening, give a like, comment, share, or retweet on posts you like. This takes no time and will help get you on the radar of the original poster. The law of reciprocity is alive and well on social, so you’re more likely to get love if you give it first.
  3. Address pain. Use 80-90% of your posts to address the pain points, questions, and preferences of your target audience. This is where most people new to social go deadly wrong. They use their platform to talk about themselves instead of their target’s pain. As mentioned above, this is a quick way to turn off your audience, so share company news sparingly.
  4. Respond quickly to those who engage with you. If you post a blog, or meme, or infographic and someone leaves a comment, respond to that comment! Not only will it help trigger the algorithms in the platform that more activity is happening on your post (and should therefore show up to more people), it will also encourage that person and others to further engage with you.

Budgeting your time

  1. Batch your activities. Certain things can be done in bulk, like selecting articles you’d like to share with your audience or creating and editing images. The more you can schedule out in advance, the less stressed you’ll feel about your social media.
  2. Add social to your daily calendar. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish in 15 minutes a day on social media. That small amount of time turns into 7.5 hours a month, or 90 hours a year. If 15 minutes is too much, start with five, but start somewhere. Make it a daily habit like brushing your teeth.
  3. Use the right management tools. Depending on your platform of choice, there are a variety of tools available that make scheduling, posting and engaging even easier and more efficient. Check out Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Buffer and others until you find the one that works best for you.
  4. If you’re overwhelmed, outsource. Most leaders have a person or persons who help them manage their social media accounts. If you think that would be inauthentic, have someone help you with certain repeatable tasks like selecting articles or liking others’ posts.

Final tip

  1. Think marathon, not sprint. Social media is about consistently sharing good content and engaging with people over time, so do not expect any overnight success (unless you create something really unique that goes viral). Dedicate a small amount of time to it each day and you’ll see amazing results over time.

With all these tips in mind, any CEO can not only survive social media, but establish an effective social media presence.