This is for everyone that says "they do not have the time" to put into Social Media to have it work for them. Now granted this 10 minutes is only after you have done the initial set up work and yes that does take a little time, but you can spend 10-15 minutes once a day for a first week or two to be set up to follow all these short steps. I will give you the list then show you where to go to set each one up.
2 minutes: Check Twitter to listen about your company and products.
1.5 minutes: Scan Google Alerts for your company name, products or executives names.
1 minutes: Check Facebook stats at your Companies Page
3 minutes: Look for questions and answer at least one a day
2.5 minutes: Use Google Reeder to check other sites like Flicker, Digg and others.
Total 10 minutes a day.
Now the longer you spend at some, like with Q&A's, that will be to your advantage. You may have days where you find more than one or two questions that would be good for you to answer so realistically you may spend 20-30 minutes on these five items on some days. Or you may only do 4 for the 5 like I do most of the time.
1. Checking Twitter. Well first you have to have a Twitter account. And that is easy and free by going to www.twitter.com. Once you are set up you can then use one of two tools; TweetDeck or Twitter Search.
For TweetDeck you must go to their web site www.tweekdeck.com and sign up, it's free and then set up your scan board. I like this because once it is turned on at the beginning of the day every time a new item is posted to any of the categories you have it set to show, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. the posts will flash up in the top right corner of your screen and ping you. If you are at your computer you can glance up to see if it is a post you would like to comment on. Remember sites like Facebook are about relationships not selling so just making comments keeps you relevant to your FB friends.
Now Twitter Search is much easier and you can use it as much or as little as you want each day. Just go to the Home Page and up in the search bar put in your companies name. Be sure to place quotation marks around it or you will get posts that contain all the words themselves not just in the order of your business name. For example Joe's Pressure Washing will return "Joe's" "pressure" "washing" and "pressure washing" instead of the "Joe's Pressure Washing" that you want. Or you can go to the advanced search and enter it there before saving. You might also want to chose some that are close, that your customers might enter instead and incorrectly, like "Joe's Power Washing" "Joe's Power Wash" and remember capitalization does not matter. You can also list product names if your business has them, like ours does. After each search you can click at the top on the "Save this Search" button if you where happy with the results. Once it is saved when you come back each day. Look just above the posts and click on the "Searches" tab. A scrolled down menu will appear with all the searches you have saved. Click on which ever one you want to check at that time. You can also keep up to date with temporary items and delete them once they are over.
2. Scan Google Alerts. This is very similar to the Twitter searches we just discussed. You go to www.google.com/alerts to set them up. You list what you want to know about that is coming out on the web and then set it as to how often to send the results to your email account. I have it set for as it happens but I have over 10 alerts, and I might check it a few times during the day. You may only have a few you will need to set for, so once a day or even once a week may be fine. But remember the longer you wait the longer your response time will be to react to anything negative. You will need to have your business name as well as your own name. For those I would set it for all results. But for topics you might want to set it for Only the best results like I do for "restaurant fire", "power washing", "pressure washing", "graffiti removal" and again do not forget the quote marks. You can also set it for whole phrases as well like "fleet truck washing". You can also use a special email account just for these alerts so you do not clutter up your regular account or have your email filters set so that any email coming from Google Alerts goes into a separate folder so it is easy to open and scan them. This is what I do. I also have alerts set for topic phrases to gather information for my blogs.
3. Check Facebook Stats. Go to your company page on Facebook. On the top right hand under the bar, click on the Edit page button, when this comes up on the left side there is a list and near the bottom of the list is a bar graph called Insights. This will give you a lot of valuable information about who is coming and using your site. It can tell you how many daily, weekly and monthly users are using your site. It also shows what posts got interactions. Enabling you to go back to the post and continue the conversation.
4. Search for questions to answer. You need to put your self out there as an authority in your business or just to interact. For this you can use sites like Ask.com at http://www.ask.com/answers/ and click on the Ask People tab, at Facebook Questions http://www.facebook.com/questions/ see what your friends are asking and answer or ask your own question with poll options. With Yahoo answers you can get out into the www audience not just the people you know and this can bring even more people to you. This is the one I use the most. Go to http://answers.yahoo.com/ and set your account up. and then to browse categories. Most of you will find questions to answer in the Home and Garden section. Found one asking about paint colors, if bleach hurts vinyl siding, what size pressure washer to buy to start up in the business and how much should an average pressure washing job cost. All these and more would have been great for many of you to answer. You make your comments and then you are able to link to web pages to back up your answers. You can link to your own website but do not use it all the time or as the sole link. Anyone can click on your avatar with the answer and find your information that you set up when you joined and this is where you need to list your web site and company information. Also if you have good answers, the person that asked the questions chooses the best answer, then you get a better ranking and more people will listen to what you have to say. You can also create a network and gain fans.
5. Google Reader found at https://www.google.com/reader/ this is good if you already have a Google e-mail account or want to get one just to have your Google alerts sent to it and to use the reader. You can link your web site , your competitors sites, Youtube, Flicker any site you want to visit to check on what is new.