This Insights article was contributed by Nikki Kroushl, Social Media and Content Manager at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
The plight and power of the entrepreneur is that she wears many hats - she is manager, product developer, intern, front-of-house staff and the entire communications department.
Tasks, opportunities, and problems barrage her from all angles, and thinking about her business's social media presence might be the last thing on her mind.
But it shouldn't be.
Business Insider reports that 37 percent of the world's population and 70 percent of the U.S.'s population are on social media. While returns on investment may vary, social media is now a necessary aspect of your startup's strategic communications.
Social media doesn't have to be painful. There are dozens of tools out there to make your life easier when it comes to posting on your platforms.
Here are three we use over at the CIE.
There are many different social media scheduling platforms, but we find this one easiest. The free version allows you to connect up to three social media accounts, although the paid version is quite reasonably priced if you have more networks frequently in use.
allows you to create social media content in advance - all in one sitting if you'd like - and pick specific times for those posts to go out.
With Hootsuite, you can even create one post that will go out on all your social platforms at once. It’s more strategic to customize each message to the platform it occupies, but the all-in-one feature is great for the time-strapped entrepreneur.
Finally, Hootsuite has an auto-schedule feature. Once you set up parameters, like the daily timeframe and maximum number of posts per day, you can select "auto-schedule" on any of your pieces of content and Hootsuite will do the work for you.
This tool is for those with blog content, so skip to #3 if you don't have that (although you probably should have something like it).
is a paid service, but at $15 per month, it's very reasonable. This tool detects new blog posts on your website and automatically generates pull-quotes, links, suggested hashtags and graphics to go out on your social media accounts. You can, of course, customize all the content.
Missinglett_r runs a "drip campaign," meaning it will post these pieces of content automatically for up to 365 days. In other words, once you load up the posts, you can forget about it. Missinglett_r will direct traffic to your website and content periodically.
stands for "if this, then that" and works through what it terms "recipes."
For example: If
the CIE posts a photo to Twitter using the hashtag #FB, then
IFTTT will make sure that photo gets cross-posted to its Facebook page automatically.
IFTTT is a great tool to use in tandem with others, or if you're spontaneously posting on one platform and want to make sure it reaches all your accounts with minimal effort.
It's also a great tool for other purposes - it can forward emails, organize attachments and do lots of other cool time-saving things.
This is a very basic overview of a few tools that can make your entrepreneurial life easier to manage. The best way to figure out how to get these (and other) tools to work for you is to create an account and play around with them.
And, of course, the golden rule of social media is that you want to start conversations with people—not advertise to customers. Be authentic, personable, and transparent and your audiences will react.
Diane Durance, MPA, is director of UNC Wilmington's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). The CIE is a resource for the start-up and early-stage business community to help diversify the local economy with innovative solutions. For more information, visit www.uncw.edu/cie.