“There’s just not enough time in the day.” That’s the biggest challenge Cheri Marchio finds in her job as Online Marketing Strategist with Evolve Systems in St. Paul. She’s been involved in social media since 2006 and, for the past 18 months, she’s been expanding the company’s social media capabilities.

“Evolve Systems does web development and credit card processing. They realized that they had clients with a website who didn’t know how to market it,” she said. Marchio helps clients explore options including blogging, newsletters and social media like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

“I majored in sociology, the study of people. I love puzzles, I love figuring things out, I love asking questions,” Marchio said. “If you put that all together, I want to get the message out there. I know that we can get too close to our own business — it takes an outside person to sit and listen, make a big pile on the table and start pulling out what’s important.”

Why should companies add social media to their marketing mix?

A lot of things have changed pretty quickly over the past couple of years. There’s a lot of content online for people to find. Not everybody starts a search from a website. Sometimes it’s from Facebook or from a LinkedIn group. In order for your business to be found, you have to have a web presence, not just a website.

What steps should companies take to get into social media?

There tends to be this shotgun approach where you throw stuff out there and see what hits. You’ll get sporadic results if you haven’t formally sat down and decided who your best prospect audiences are, the main messages that you need to deliver to prove that you can help them, the places to deliver, and how often.

How do you know if your efforts are working?

If you’ve decided you’re going to participate in Facebook and post at least three times a week, and put links to your website twice a week, and you want additional followers, those things are measurable. You can use Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to see the trends in visitors and followers. We always recommend a small subset of goals. If you’re doing a shotgun approach, it’s almost impossible to measure.

New social media keep popping up. How do you decide which ones to focus on?

It’s hard to keep up, I’ll tell you that. It’s important to create personas around the target audience. If your prospect is a woman in her late thirties to early forties, working outside the home and trying to raise children and spend time with family and spend time with girlfriends, your best media are Facebook and Pinterest. Typically if you follow through on these platforms, if they’re the right platforms, you’ll get results. With the others, you want to check them out from time to time. Register your brand name to preserve its integrity, but don’t water down your strategy.

Who’s doing a good job of social marketing?

Companies with a lot of resources are doing a good job. They have deep pockets and can devote a lot of time. It’s commendable that small and midsize businesses are out there trying. The small business has a bigger stake in “free” platforms. The marketing budget isn’t as big, the time and talent budget isn’t as big. As long as you have a plan, you’re going to be fine.

ON THE JOB: jobslink@startribune.com