Social media is surprisingly a very “complex” notion to smaller businesses and, for some odd reason, to MSPs especially.  Why is this?  Not quite sure.  But give the CEO of an MSP control of an online business profile and, suddenly, the internet becomes this abstract, foreign place…

What do you mean by…‘tag’?”

“So, if I put a hashtag there, do I own it?”

“You mean to say, I can put absolutely anything I want in a post?”

All real questions and all equally as astonishing.  However, I will admit that social media can be frustrating because it’s difficult to ascertain its worth—which is why 54% of B2B marketers claim they generate leads from social media, yet these same people also claim that less than 1% of new customers come from social media.

This can make any sane business owner second guess the value of social media and to wonder if they’re getting anything out of it.  And to that, the answer is simple (as well as infuriating)—everyone else is doing it, so you have to do it, too.

But this doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of time or effort perfecting your social media game.  In fact, if you follow these ten tips, social media for your business can be easy, fun, and significantly less time-consuming.

Interact with people.

If we’ve seen anything these days, it would have to be that everything doesn’t have to be politically correct or dreadfully dull.  If your followers comment on your posts, pictures, or tweets, don’t be afraid to respond to them.  Starting a conversation is a big first step to creating social media buzz.

Be genuine.

Typically, big brands are really good at responding to their followers on social media.  However, what they’re not good at is being genuine.  Their responses usually appear to be pre-written and generic.  No one likes this.  And to be quite honest, it’s slightly depressing when you receive a notification from Target, only to find that a hundred other people received the same comment… word for word.  Sheer disappointment.  The more you can respond to each comment in a genuine fashion, the more people will like you.

Share something interesting.

Just because you think something is interesting, doesn’t mean your followers do.  And at the end of the day, what they think is all that matters.  If they don’t like what you’re putting out there for them to see, then they’ll just unfollow you, so they don’t have to see any more of your lame posts.

Share things regularly.

Be consistent with when and what you post.  Posting something at the same time every day can create anticipation and posting the same general content can create expectations.  Both of which are good.

Use a tool.

Don’t do more work than you have to.  Use a tool like Buffer to schedule posts for an entire month and distribute content to multiple social media accounts simultaneously.

Use a calendar.

Organize your efforts into a social media calendar like this one.  Keep everything on one page so you can see the bigger picture.

Use hashtags…sparingly.

Hashtags can help you increase the visibility of your posts.  But don’t get too carried away. #Dontabusehashtags because #itisannoying and #noonelikestoseeit. Instead, try something like, “What does everyone think about the new #iPhone?”  Or, “Looking for some Google search hacks?  Then check this page out. #TechTips.”

Tag people.

The more people you tag in your posts, the more your posts will be seen (and the more buzz they can create).  But like hashtags, don’t get too carried away with this—which is really easy to do. #beentheredonethat.  An educational event like a Lunch and Learn, a business conference, and a charity event are all great excuses to tag a handful of attendees.

Respond to complaints.

Don’t ever delete a negative comment (unless it’s just completely absurd and littered with foul language).  At this point, you have the opportunity to create something positive for your company, which sounds backwards, but it doesn’t make it any less true.  If you respond genuinely and appropriately, you can turn an angry customer into a happy one, as well as show off your customer service and company values to tons of other current and potential clients.

Create engagement.

Social media isn’t meant to boost product sales.  It’s there to create engagement and to help people be social (hence the term social media).  And the best way to be social is to distribute content that creates engagement—questions, contests, games, and quizzes.  Get to know your followers through your posts, tweets, and online content, and your social media will take on a life of its own.