By Debbie Bolduc, BizBuzz Marketing Partners

If you’re a small business owner, you undoubtedly feel overwhelmed by all you have on your plate. To make it worse, everywhere you turn you see information about the importance of using Social Media to keep up with today’s marketing trends. You understand the concept of building relationships because it’s a known fact that people tend to do business with those they know. You know what the experts recommend, but just can’t find the time to figure it all out.

Many of you have embraced Facebook to some extent, but admit you don’t have the time available to monitor it and dream up creative, engaging posts; never mind taking on the daunting task of blogging. Add to that Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and countless other social media options and it’s easy to understand why many of you throw in the towel before you even get started.

Perhaps you’ve established a social presence but seldom find the time to maintain it. In many cases this is worse than not having one at all. Failure to engage with your Fans, Connections and Followers is as damaging to your business as leaving emails and phone calls unanswered. So what can you do?

Here are six tips to help you overcome Social Media overwhelm.

1. Start small. Don’t feel it’s necessary to use every social media channel. Choose one and master it before moving on to another. Each one has its pros and cons. Most businesses start with Facebook because of its appeal to the general public and relative ease of use, but some businesses benefit more from other channels. Knowing your target market and where they hang out online is the key to making the choice that’s best for you.

2. Delegate. If you have the option, assign the task to someone else, but don’t underestimate the job. Managing Social Media isn’t as mindless and quick as many people assume. Do it yourself for a month to get a better understanding of the time it involves. Create guidelines regarding what you expect, allow and require from your company’s social media usage and train someone in proper protocol.

3. Ask for guidance. If you aren’t comfortable or familiar with social media, reach out to someone for help. This doesn’t mean getting your teen nephew to show you the ropes. He won’t know the business side of social media or have the necessary knowledge of marketing. Look for a marketing consultant or social media coach to work with for a short period.

4. Stop thinking it’s free. While there are no fees for using Social Media, your time has value. Decide if you can manage it without taking time from the work you get paid to do.

5. Let the pros do it. Just as you pay an expert to fix your plumbing, find a qualified Content Manager to handle your social media interaction. It need not be a huge expense and the outcome will be consistent, brand-savvy outcome-driven Social Presence that you wouldn’t most likely achieve on your own.

6. Cut your losses. Times have changed. If you’re still allocating all of your marketing budget to newspaper and yellow page ads you’re wasting money. By reducing these costs you can free up the funds needed for Tips 2-5.

If you, or the assigned person at your business, could use some training on how to better used social media in your marketing, or would like someone to co-manage it, please contact BizBuzz Marketing Partners to discuss options.