By Peter Davies - 12 October 2017

The most important aspect of social media is actually allocating time to use it. I frequently bump into business owners who are far too busy, forget to use it or say it's not for them.

Despite this, there probably isn't any business that wouldn’t benefit from social media. Besides, it's free and only takes a few minutes of your time to add a post each week, or why not once a day?.. As it is likely you will be sitting on a bus, train or standing in some queue for more than a minute each day.

Firstly, if you don’t have a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account, set aside half an hour of your time to set one up. Most good business owners will have this in hand long before starting their business, supplying a good amount of time to build a following, while informing their followers of services, progress and that golden launch date!

Once you have set up your chosen social media accounts and added some fancy photos it's time to start growing your potential customers. You don’t always have to post about your products or services – mix things up. Look to things happening in the local area or markets you are looking to target.  Post helpful hints and tips from your industry and finally, don't forget your own offers, discounts and competitions. There should be no lack of things to post about or share.

Every few posts, add a short article about one of your products or services, with a link to further information, so over time your audience will know a bit more about you and what you do. As their confidence in your brand builds, they will hopefully share your information with their friends and followers.

You can start to engage with your audience by liking or sharing other people's posts on Facebook, re-tweeting and liking on Twitter, and likewise on Instagram. Ask questions and reply to them where you feel you can add.

All of these actions will help increase presence and followers, and as they increase, so should your enquiries. With patience and persistence social media can become an excellent long-term source of business, better than using paid forms of advertising that only die the second you stop paying a small fortune for them.

So, if you still don't feel social media is your 'bag', you are far too busy with running your business, or want to focus your time on other things, you can take the headache of social media away by using a company to handle this for you. This will leave you to handle enquiries and other aspects of running the business that you enjoy.