Social Media
Social Media When You're Pressed for Time

Social media is not something that you can set up and then forget. The goal is to create an ongoing relationship with your customers and potential customers. So if you ignore your social media sites, you're ignoring them.

Posting consistently, at least once a week, is expected. Without dedicated staff, this can be overwhelming to a business.

Ignoring social media will cost you in customers and sales. It is a way people can check on your skills, customer reviews, your engagement with customers, and more. It is not like a website, which has 1-way communication and is static. Social media is 2-way communication and is always evolving.

So how do Small Businesses Participate in Social Media When They Have so Little Time?

Here is a strategy that may work for you:

  • Identify who your ideal customer is.
  • Focus on the best social media platform to reach your ideal customer.
  • Click here for details on who uses the major social media platforms.

  • Create a BUSINESS page on that platform. Both FaceBook and LinkedIn have business pages that can be attached to your personal page.
  • Put a link to your social media business page on your website and at the bottom of your emails.
  • Sign up for Google Alerts.

  • Google Alerts is a free service that will send you links to articles on any topic(s) that you choose.
  • Choose several topics that would interest your customers. One should be directly connected to what you do. Others can be on indirect topics (i.e. for a mechanics shop, this could be car safety).
  • Once a week, look at those articles to find one that your customers might like. Write one or two sentences about the article, and include a link to the article. End your post with "What do you think?", "Do you agree?" or some other question.
  • Ideally, find a picture to go with your post. There may be a picture connected with the article that you can use. If not, search online with your browser and select "images". Right click on the image, save it, and include it with your post.
  • This can take as little as 15 minutes.

Obviously, the more personalized you make your posts, the more effective they will be. So you can use pictures and comments about your real business or your real customers (after getting their permission). But it is hard to do this consistently. The strategy above can give you information to post every week.

Learn more about using LinkedIn to grow your business.

7 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Small Business

Grow your small business with LinkedIn by using these seven proven tactics.

There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, but only half of them will make it past five years. To ensure your small business is in the successful half, we encourage you to capitalize on the various ways LinkedIn can evolve your business. With LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network, you can generate leads, produce sales, and hire top professionals to fuel your growth. Here are seven ways to grow your business using LinkedIn:

  1. Create a LinkedIn Company Page We've found that LinkedIn members are 50% more likely to buy once they've engaged with your business on LinkedIn. But they can't connect with you if you don't have a LinkedIn Company Page. According to Forbes, only 57% of companies have pages. The remaining 43% are missing out on a free opportunity to generate leads, talent, and, ultimately, revenue.
  2. If you don't already have one, create a LinkedIn Company Page. Personal profiles don't have the same marketing, advertising, and recruiting features as Company Pages, making them less effective at promoting your business. As you create your page, think about the kind of impression you want to create among potential customers and employees. This will help you select the right photos and messages to use on your page. For a step-by-step guide on how to create an above and beyond Company Page, view our LinkedIn Company Page Best Practices.

  3. Promote Your Company Page Once you have a Company Page, announce it to your clients, employees, and personal network. This will help you gain your first followers, who in turn will help to promote your Company Page on the content you post to it. Promoting your page on other platforms or via email is also a great way to grow your audience. Here are some simple ways to get the word out:
    • Announce the launch of the Company Page on your personal LinkedIn profile
    • Encourage employees to follow the Company Page by making it a part of your onboarding process. Social Media Today reports that content shared by employees receives eight times the engagement as brand shared content
    • Link to your Company Page in the footer of your marketing emails or newsletters

    Embed a Company Follow button onto your website so visitors can easily follow your LinkedIn Company Page

  4. Share Content Regularly The more you post, the more people you can potentially reach and convert. Best-in-class LinkedIn Company Pages are consistently updated to ensure that visitors have plenty of new content to consume and share.
  5. To get started, try posting at least once per week. It's not uncommon for companies to post three or more times per day. Post whenever you have something worth saying. Posting consistently shows Company Page visitors that your company is active on LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn's Company Page analytics to see your top performing updates, your best times to post, and which members of your audience are the most engaged. With this information, it's easy to make data-driven decisions to optimize your Company Page content. In addition to posting often, here are a few more stats to help you boost engagement:

    Posts with links receive up to 45% more engagement

    Images see an incredible 98% increase in engagement

    Posts that have relevant "best-of" lists get almost 40% more amplification

    When a post gets good engagement, consider promoting it to a wider audience with LinkedIn Sponsored Content. Take the Sponsored Content Tour and discover how Sponsored Content amplifies your best content.

  6. Showcase Thought Leadership Seventy nine percent of buyers say thought leadership is critical for determining which companies they want to learn more about. To get started with thought leadership content, try to provide a unique perspective on your industry, product, or organization. Sharing your opinion on the future of your industry or creating a definitive guide on your product are just two ways to demonstrate your expertise and position your company as a credible partner. For more ideas and advice on expanding your brand's authority, download our Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to Thought Leadership to learn more.
  7. Target Sales Prospects LinkedIn has over 500 million users to date. That may seem like a lot to sort through, but LinkedIn also provides you with tools to identify and target your ideal audience. LinkedIn members are more likely than other social media users to keep their profiles up-to-date, making it easier for you to find the right people. Use LinkedIn profile data to search for LinkedIn members based on geographic location, education, experience, and even connections. Once you've found prospects using the search feature, visit their profiles. Their endorsements or recent profile views might surface additional qualified prospects, too. For more ways to reach your ideal audience, learn how to advertise on LinkedIn.
  8. Build an All-Star Team LinkedIn has helped 75% of job switchers make informed career decisions, making LinkedIn a top recruiting network. What are candidates looking for when making those decisions? Our research shows that 66% of candidates want to see company culture over everything else. To take advantage of this preference, consider enhancing your Company Page with a LinkedIn Career Page.
  9. Career Pages allow you to target audiences with a personalized look into your company, culture, and jobs. They give you dedicated Life and Jobs Tabs on your Company Page that attract and engage relevant professionals. In addition to creating Career Pages, encourage employees to share job postings and "day in the life" content as well. This gives visitors a genuine idea of what it's like to work for you and adds to your authenticity. If you have a few employees who lead the pack in sharing content, consider linking them to your Company Page's Life Tab. Their shared articles and recent updates will automatically populate, providing visitors with up-to-date information. Watch our video below on how to use the Life Tab to attract the right talent for your company. Video:

  10. Hire Freelancers You've probably had an employee who took on a task outside of their domain. You might have even done it yourself a few times. While the effort is commendable, learning on the fly can also be detrimental. Fortunately, finding the right talent for the task at hand isn't as tricky as it once was, even if you can't afford the salary of a full time employee.

LinkedIn ProFinder enables you to post your projects, receive free proposals, and hire trustworthy professionals all in one place. ProFinder will even pair you with local professionals to ensure you have the best freelance experience possible. With 172 professional services available on ProFinder, it's easy to find the perfect professional for any task. LinkedIn vets all of the professionals on the platform to ensure they are qualified and leverages your network to find freelancers your connections have used, so you're never in the dark about who you're hiring. By using freelancers, you'll get access to outside perspectives & broad experience of professionals of all kinds, from creating websites and designing logos to managing your books or crafting your marketing strategy. Plus, with none of the management overhead of a full-time employee, you can focus solely on the job at hand.

Web Social Networking

LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are all designed to help you connect to friends - and their friends. If you can make it easy for your customers to give good referrals to their friends, you benefit. These websites are also set up so you can join groups and respond to questions and gain new friends. As with much of the Internet, there is a lot of junk and wasted time on these social networking sites - so it is important that you have a focused reason for participating.

Some Goals of Social Networking for Business Purposes:

  • To have an easy place for fans of your business to give their opinions. Be sure to have links to your social networking sites on your website, on your emails, and printed on your marketing materials.
  • To regularly communicate with your fans with something that encourages them to share the information with their friends.

You can also use social networking sites to do focused advertising (for a fee) - based on people's interests and demographics. As an example, if you are looking for women dog owners over 30, then the social networking sites can target your ad to your exact market niche.

Do You Need to Participate in All These Sites?

You should participate in the sites your customers use. You may have to set up sites on all of them to begin with to see the traffic, and then eliminate the less popular ones. The good news is that all are free.

Include Your Website URL and Increase Your Ranking

Your website's search engine ranking improves when you have outsiders link to your website. An easy, free way to do this is to add your website URL on your social networking sites. The more social networking sites that point to your website, the better!


Twitter lets you follow the minute-to-minute events of people's lives - it is like phone texting with a lot of people simultaneously - but you are really only having one way conversations. You can set up an account for free and then find people or topics using their search.

You can choose to follow that person, which means that every time you go to, their recent posts will be shown. Posts are very short - 150 characters - so you can't get much information. Usually posts have links to a website. The downside to posting on your own Twitter account is that posts get old within minutes - so having current posts is a daily (or multiple times a day) task.

Click here to sign up for a Twitter account.

LinkedIn is a contact networking service that allows you to be introduced to people known by your network. It was originally designed for business and professional use. You can set up a profile for free, but cannot effectively search for other people unless you upgrade to a paying account ($25/month minimum). Paying accounts can contact a few people outside their network each month, but any additional "inmails" are $10 each. If you want to use LinkedIn without fees, the best way is to accumulate a large network. You can also ask and answer questions on the site - which will increase your visibility on LinkedIn.

Click here to get a LinkedIn account
Post Documents to Your LinkedIn Page Using SlideShare

SlideShare is a free application you can add to LinkedIn and Facebook that allows you to post documents (.doc,.ppt,.pdf, etc.) to your pages. People can click on the document and download it for share it with others. The documents you post to SlideShare are indexed by GoogleAlert, so people outside your friends may have access to them.

On your profile page, click on Applications and select SlideShare.


Facebook has become a critical part of business social networking because it is easy for people to share, add comments, and feel more personally connected than a standard website.

Facebook user profiles are for personal use. Businesses should be set up as a "page" off your user profile. To set up a business page, ON THE SIGN-UP page, look for the link to set up a business page. You can also set up a business page from your main user profile. Log into Facebook and add a page (bottom left corner Ads and Pages - then select the Pages tab). You need to become your first fan, or your page will not appear.

What is very inconvenient is that you cannot set up an easy-to-remember url that goes directly to your business page UNTIL you have 100 "fans". Once you have 100 fans, go to to select a name.

The key goal for Facebook is to get people to sign up as a fan of your business. Fans will receive any post that you put on your business page Wall. You can set up events and invite your fans to those events as well.

If you have questions about setting up Facebook, look for instructions in the Tools for Business Facebook page. Here is more help: Facebook for Business Superguide

Post Documents and Powerpoints on Your Facebook Page Using SlideShare

SlideShare is a free application you can add to Facebook and LinkedIn that allows you to post documents (.doc,.ppt,.pdf, etc.) to your pages. People can click on the document and download it for share it with others. The documents you post to SlideShare are indexed by GoogleAlert, so people outside your friends may have access to them.

The first step is to add SlideShare to your personal Wall. Go to the bottom left corner and click on Applications, and choose SlideShare. Next you have to add SlideShare to your business Wall page - which takes a few steps that are not intuitive. For help, go to our Tools Facebook page and look for instructions.

Post "Deals" on Your Facebook Page Using Lasso

Lasso is a free application you can add to Facebook that allows you to create short-term (up to one month) coupons and post them under "Deals" on your Facebook and Twitter pages. People use the coupons by forwarding them to their phones as a text message and then presenting them when they get to your business. They can also forward the coupons to friends.

To add Lasso to Facebook, go to our Tools Facebook page and look for instructions.

Be visible: Get on YouTube!

More than 25% of all online searches are on YouTube. Can people find you there? If not, you are missing a great source of free advertising. Google owns YouTube, so if you post videos on YouTube, your Google rankings will probably improve.

But before you go rushing to create a video and post it on YouTube:

  1. Take time to identify who you are trying to reach and what they are interested in.
  2. Look for existing videos on YouTube that are in your industry. Look at the ones with many responses and try to determine what makes that video more successful.
    • This research will pay off later. Once you have a video, you can go back to these videos and post your video as a response to them.
    • This will automatically connect your video to theirs, so that you can benefit from their traffic.
  3. Look at videos OUTSIDE your industry. Your target market has other interests that you may be able to use in your video.
  4. If your video relates to other industries, you can post your video as a response and your video will automatically connect to theirs.
  5. In general, a YouTube video will not generate a direct sale, but it will encourage people to take the next step to find out more about you. Therefore, it is critical that you include a next step for the viewer (call-to-action). Ask them to:
    • Rate your video.
    • Follow you on Twitter and Facebook
    • Embed the video on their Facebook or webpage
    • Post comments
    • Share the video with friends.
    • Visit your webpage
  6. Use keywords and your website in the video description. Search engines can't find you, if you don't give them information about what the video is about.
  7. Once you have posted your video, create a playlist. Find similar videos from others and put them together. This makes your business part of something bigger.
  8. Connect your YouTube video with all your other promotion: on your website, emails, Facebook, Linked-In, blogs, etc.

Most popular videos on Facebook are not professionally done. But they are interesting, entertaining, unique, or informative. You can use a SmartPhone or video camera to create the video, and then edit it using your favorite video editor.

Use Pinterest to Promote Your Products

Pinterest allows people to organize their interests on the web by pinning pictures with links for more information. Businesses can add a "Pin It" button to their website so that your fans can share your business with others.

To be successful at Pinterest, you need to provide something that inspires, helps, or feeds people's passions. So recipes, quotes, stories all work. Selling your product directly usually doesn't. With that said, large companies such as Home Depot have Pinterest sites, so look at how other companies are using Pinterest.

Here are some examples of things that businesses might post on a Pinterest page:

  • Pictures of new fashions available at your store
  • Pictures of the Little League eating at your restaurant
  • Pictures of the landscaping or home remodel that you just completed
  • A quote with 3 ways to reduce the cost of home repairs

Here's what to do:

Click here to register your business on Pinterest and learn about how businesses can use Pinterest

Click here to add a Pinterest Pin to your website.

Once people pin your business on their site, you can track how they categorize and share it. This will give you insight into your customers so that you can better meet their needs.

Minnesota Cooperative Extension has a webinar explaining how businesses can use Pinterest for market research.

Setting Up a Blog

Writing and publishing blogs on the Internet is free and has these benefits:

  • Blogs can attract people outside your network. Your blogs can be searched and reported through Google. If your topic matches someone's interest on GoogleAlerts, a link to your blog will be emailed to them.

  • Blogs which include your URL web address can improve your website's search engine ranking.

  • Officially, you can monetize your blogs by allowing ads on them. However unless you spend a lot of time increasing your blog's followers, it is unlikely to generate significant revenue for you.

    The downside for most people is the time needed to write continual blogs.

    To set up a blog, go to

    For help promoting your blog, click here

Add "Share" Button provides free code that creates a button to allow visitors to share your website, blog or Facebook pages. You can track the use of buttons through its free analytics tools.

Click here to go to

Monitor Your Business and Industry on the Web! Google Alert

Google Alert is a free service that sends you an email whenever your topic is updated on the web, news, blogs, or groups. You can monitor multiple topics. You might consider monitoring:

Your Name

Your Products

Your Business

Your Competition

Your Clients

Your Community

Go to