We all make time for what is important to us. And to be successful in modern business we know we must spend some part of our day online using social networks. But simply knowing this fact is not enough to tip the success scale in our favor. It is specifically what you do on social networks and how you leverage tools designed for social activities that will generate business results.

Here are 3 ways you can be socially savvy in 30 mins a day:

Be Transparent

Too frequently online transparency is equated to sharing too much on social networks. This is wrong. Sure, there are people who share too much personal information online. We all know “that” someone. But, in reality, being transparent online is the act of being human. And being human is being relatable and being relatable is the fastest way to build rapport.

Your success as a social business person is heavily weighted by your social profiles and how likable you are. If someone likes you, they can trust you (as opposed to those we do NOT like, and therefore will never trust). And trust is at the heart of all relationships.

  • 5 Minutes: With the assistance of content distribution tools like HootSuite, Twitterfeed, and Buffer, judiciously select content in these 7 areas to share on your social accounts that represents not only 1) your areas of expertise but also 2) your areas of interest and 3) your areas of client / prospect interest (You are genuinely curious about your future customers, right?).  4) Your knowledge of the products or services you are promoting as well as those of 5) your competitors, 6) industry trends and 7) best practices will surely secure your place as a trusted advisor. But do not undervalue your personal interests — sharing the highlights from Monday’s football game or a link to your favorite Sicilian caponata recipe can create terrific opportunities for (unexpected) engagement.

Listen First

Social listening is arguably the most meaningful social activity. There is a lot of noise on social networks and knowing how to filter out the masses and efficiently get to signal — identifying individuals and conversations that are important to you– is essential. Knowing who your target buyer is and how they buy is an important first step. Once you know what networks to focus on and what buying signals to watch for you can easily identify new prospects on social channels.

  • 20 mins: Listening on social networks is largely a manual task but with the aid of applications like Sprout Social, TweetDeck, and Topsy you can painlessly monitor large amounts of data for opportunities to engage. Dedicating the majority of your social activities to listening enables you to converse with a higher percentage of ideal prospects which will lead to increased sales.

Thoughtfully Engage

Before selecting Send, Tweet, Post, or Share take a moment to re-read your message and remind yourself that social media is a communication channel – not a broadcast channel. Unfortunately, many sales professionals and marketers engage on social with the goal of conversion. And yes, numerous sales do start on social. But conversion should NOT be your primary goal when starting a conversation. Your primary goal is engagement and through engagement you build awareness and trust.

Secondarily, your engagement can, and should, include qualification. You wouldn’t expect to convert an unqualified opportunity, so you should always be thinking of ways in which to qualify while engaging.

  • 5 mins: Engagement on social networks is a very tactical activity. And like all campaigns you should be prepared for a multi-touch process that may involve several communication channels. Your first engagement may be on Twitter but it will no doubt quickly move to email and this is where platforms like Marketo and MailChimp become invaluable. Leverage marketing automation tools that monitor communications on social, website, and email. Craft automated messages carefully to keep the conversation going and maximize your engagement efforts. This is an activity that has a high ROI, because you expend little time or effort, but reap generous rewards.

besocialWithout a doubt you must dedicate quality time to social activities and following these suggestions is a good start. But ultimately you must create your own process — adjust the time you spend to match the benefits you see in practice. Tailor your activities to those that are most productive for your business. This is a process you will hone over time, and one that means you may spend more or less time each day maximizing your outreach. Soon you will find that  you have developed a finely-tuned social routine that will contribute ongoing intelligence to support your business goals.

Guest blog by Rachel Miller Chief Listener at PipelinerCRM