As business owners, particularly start-ups, we’re always facing that constant battle of what is going to be the most valuable use of our time.

We’ve all been there; three projects in, up to our eyeballs and struggling to think about the next week – let alone how to pay the bills next month.

However, one thing that is usually the first to go is our online marketing.

We’re all guilty of this – myself included (and, hell, this is my job!).

But the thing is, it is super important to maintain our online presence. It’s not just about reeling in the sales, either (we’d say definitely don’t try to sell a product in every post) but rather about building brand awareness.

Sure, the post about how your staff are enjoying ice cream during the heatwave might not boost sales immediately… but what it will do is let your customers know you’re a caring company. They’re way more likely to engage with that than the hundredth millionth time you’ve urged them to buy your product or service.

So, how can you battle the ticking clock and take control of your online channels?

Scheduling

It might be something you’ve never come across before, but it is incredibly useful. Spend an hour each week scheduling posts across your social media channels to make sure you’re looking active across the week. Then, when something spontaneous happens, you can post it on the spot!

Most sites will have scheduling tools that you can use for free (for example, Facebook has Facebook Business and for Twitter you can use Tweetdeck). Unfortunately, this is not yet possible on Instagram for free but there are, of course, paid options too – such as Hootsuite and Buffer. Just make sure you shop around to find the right tools for you.

Choosing the right channel

Most businesses will find their audience on a particular network. If you are a company offering services to businesses, using Facebook probably isn’t going to be your first port of call. Think about where you’ll reach your target audience – in this instance, LinkedIn. However, if you’re a clothing brand for millennials, you are more likely to find your target audience on apps like Instagram.

Just remember to be wary not to spend too much time on the channels that aren’t going to reach your audience. The danger? You might spend hours thinking you’re investing time in valuable work which isn’t going to give you a return.

Keep an eye on the news

There is a knack to using social media and keeping up with the latest news in the industry isn’t a bad idea. Ever heard of an algorithm? Well, social networks will use specific rules that determine how high up your content appears in your followers’ feeds.

This changes continually – for example, Facebook is currently focusing on live videos and ‘trusted’ content. This is why you usually see these posts higher up in your feed – because Facebook put them there. By posting engaging content that your audience will respond to, you’re building a higher trust score and therefore boosting your position in the feed. Add a video? You’re pretty much sorted (just don’t forget to make it relevant!).

If you’re looking for more advice on social media, email hazel@peppymedia.co.uk.