Marketing is a vital component to your business — an opportunity to have increased engagement with your audience, drive additional traffic to your website, and even increase your sales volume — ideally with the investment of a few minutes and a couple of well-phrased tweets. And yet, marketing can waste considerable amounts of your time when it is attempted without a clear goal or a focused purpose.  Accordingly, here are four time-saving tips to make your social media accounts work better for you.

Create Your Content in Advance

Stopping throughout the day to write Facebook posts or to push other social media content not only takes time, but it also takes you away from the important business of the day.  Researchers have found that it can take your brain as long as half an hour to return attention to the original task, and these thirty-minute breaks will compound every time you stop to post an update.  Solve this problem by drafting all of your updates at the beginning of the week — or even the beginning of the month.  You can always add tweaks to address with real-time developments that need to be referenced, but most of your updates should be ready to go ahead of time.

Limit Yourself to Only Two or Three Platforms

As the Pareto principle dictates, 80% of all results come from 20% of your efforts.  This applies to managing your social media as well.  You may be using a variety of social media platforms to push your business content, but the majority of their value is more than likely coming from only a minority of them.  Use Google Analytics (or whatever data analytics might be built into your platforms) to determine which ones are giving you the most engagement, and then focus your efforts on those platforms.

Repurpose Existing Content

Blog posts, Facebook updates, and LinkedIn articles can provide value beyond the first time you share them.  You may need to think a little creatively to bring a new focus to old material, but it isn’t that difficult.  The first share can simply offer the title of the piece; the second, share a catchy quote of a paragraph from the body of the work; the third, ask a relevant business question that is answered by the content.  Using your posts strategically in this fashion saves time and allows you to share the same idea with your audience multiple times, generating more substantial impact.

Measure Only What Matters

Now that social media is such an active presence in our daily lives, the individual platforms themselves offer tons of insights and statistics concerning each and every one of your posts.  Not all of these will be useful, however, so you should be sure to track the ones that actually impact your business.  For example, repeat visits, conversion rates, and total interactions can be infinitely more valuable than your number of followers, total site visits, or even the number of times your posts have been shared.  You should also be aware of your customers’ loyalty and their total lifetime value to your business.

Do not underestimate the importance of staying connected to your audience and marketing your business using social media!

We live in an incredible age where scientific advancement is progressing with leaps and bounds heretofore unseen in the history of humanity. As new technologies are developed daily, old ones are falling by the wayside. All of this change amounts to a very real and influential force in the way that individual companies and even entire industries do business. The key is to know what the march of technological innovation means for your business. Here are some helpful ways to think through interacting with emerging technology as an entrepreneur.

Know What’s Out There

If you are a really busy business owner, it can be easy to be so focused on what you’re doing (which is, after all, working just fine) that you don’t pay attention to ways that new technology can improve your workflow or business model. Look up from your own business every once in a while, and pay attention to what’s going on in the industry around you. If your industry has a trade magazine (or a few), subscribe to them. Follow leading bloggers who are active in your field. Coming across an idea in one of these forums can plant a seed in your head that you can at least begin to consider as you think about how to improve your business.

Don’t Get Tunnel Vision

While focusing on your industry is a good start, it can be useful to pay attention to emerging technology in other business that only relate loosely (if at all) to yours. How many times have you heard something called “the Uber of” this or “the Netflix of” that?  Some of the biggest entrepreneurial breakthroughs have occurred when one bold soul looked at an idea in a different industry and said, “Hey, I bet that would work in my space too!”

Use New Tech Efficiently, not Obsessively

It can be easy to become consumed with every new technology that has anything resembling even a tangential connection to your industry. Energy spent trying to keep up with the latest trends, is energy that could be spent growing your business in other ways. That’s not to say that seeking out new technological advances that could help your business is always bad. You just need to be selective and intentional with the attention you pay to the subject, and precise and calculated with how you implement new ideas.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm, but the Second Mouse Gets the Cheese

Being the first of your competitors to embrace a new technological breakthrough can give you a competitive advantage, but that advantage doesn’t come without any risk. Think back to the days of the Blu-ray vs HD-DVD battle. HD-DVD actually hit the market first. If you had thrown all of your eggs into that basket, you’d be pretty disappointed in the way that battle turned out, with Blu-ray winning out in the long run. Every technological advancement has a chance of failing, and at the blinding pace of innovation and corresponding obsolescence, has a chance to be surpassed just as quickly as it appeared.

By keeping your finger on the pulse of technology that relates to your industry AND knowing how to use it effectively, you can separate yourself from the competition.